Chrysler announced Monday its profit totaled $682 million, or $1.02 a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compared with $441 million, or 65 cents a share, during the third quarter of 1997.
The earnings report was expected to be the last from the No. 3 domestic automaker as an independent company. Chrysler plans to complete its merger with Daimler-Benz AG of Germany by mid-November.
Revenues totaled $15 billion, compared with $13.2 billion during the year-ago period, when two of Chrysler's assembly plants were shut down for changeover to new models.
Strong sales of those models - the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle and the LH series of intermediate sedans - helped boost this year's third-quarter earnings.
The No. 3 domestic automaker's performance far exceeded expectations of Wall Street analysts. The average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by First Call Corp. last week was 87 cents a share.
Chrysler's $2 billion stock-repurchase program reduced outstanding shares by 7 percent in the past year, which contributed to the per-share gain. The program was suspended last spring because of the pending merger.