Chrysler expects $3 billion in operating profit in 2012 image

Chrysler Group is set to make $3 billion in operating profit in 2012 due to growing vehicle sales in the U.S., CEO Sergio Marchionne announced.

The Detroit-based automaker expects global sales of 2 million cars and trucks this year, with a projected 20 percent rise for 2012 to 2.4 million units, Marchionne said in an interview. He added that Chrysler must sell more than 1.5 million vehicles a year in order to remain profitable. In 2012, the break-even point will drop to 900,000 cars and trucks.

“That’s what gives us the basis for making $3 billion next year,” Mr. Marchionne was quoted by the Wall Street Journal. In the first three quarters of 2011, Chrysler made $1.47 billion in operating profit. The carmaker has reported a net loss of $42 million year-to-date, in part because it had to pay interest on U.S. government loans. In 2010, Chrysler spent $1.2 billion in interest payments, much of that for the Treasury loans.

In the first 11 months of the year, Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 1.2 million, up 25 percent over the same period in 2010. In November alone, Chrysler sales rose 45 percent from a year earlier.