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Auto blogTue, 30 Jul 2013 10:01:00 EST
Chrysler has some good news and some bad news. First, profits were up 16 percent over the second quarter of 2012, bringing the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based manufacturer $507 million on the back of strong demand for trucks and SUVs (a recurring theme this quarter, particularly in the US). Q2 revenue was up as well, from $16.8 billion in 2012 to $18 billion in 2013. The bad news is that the Pentastar's overall earnings forecast for net income in 2013 has been trimmed from $2.2 billion to between $1.7 and $2.2 billion, according to Automotive News.
In addition to the adjusted net income forecast, Chrysler tweaked its operating profit from $3.8 billion to between $3.3 and $3.8 billion. This has gone largely unexplained by Chrysler, perhaps hoping the news of a three-percent increase in its transaction prices for Q2 will allow it to sweep this adjustment under the rug.
The star of the show for Chrysler has been its US sales, which saw a 10-percent jump, both bettering the industry average of eight percent and improving over the same stretch of 2012. As with the increase in transaction prices, Chrysler has the new Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee to thank. Perhaps most worrying from this report, though, is that every brand in the automaker's stable saw an increase in sales... except for the Chrysler brand itself.
On September 23, Automotive News reported that Chrysler had idled the second shift workers it hired just five weeks prior at its Toledo Assembly Complex to build the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At the time, Chrysler said it had "built the critical number of vehicles we need to stock dealerships once containment is released" and did not want "to put additional strain on our logistics partners ... upon release." That reasoning was not only unusual, it didn't seem to make sense.
It appears the center of the nine-speed issue is software, not hardware.
That same day, the Detroit News ran a piece claiming workers at the Toledo factory said the halt was due to issues with the Cherokee's transmission. It put the number of already-built Cherokees needing fixes at 1,000 and said that some of the workers not laid off had been instructed "to take the Jeep on long test-drives." That made more sense. Three days later, on September 26, Automotive News reported that the 500 workers laid off had been reinstated, with engineers "speeding repairs on the SUV's powertrain software." The AN piece didn't put a number on how many units are being fixed, but it did say that 12,000 have been built and are awaiting delivery to dealers. The best it could say about when dealers will get them, however, is that "progress on a fix is being made. It's unclear when shipments to dealers will start."
We've recently heard much about how Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to pump up the volume on Jeep sales, inaugurating new models and global dealerships. But that's the stuff outlined in five-year plans; right now, advertising and special editions are at the fore, and the late Michael Jackson, too. Jeep has begun airing two commercials to push its Altitude Editions, Call of Summer and Lovers of the Game, that feature the song "Love Never Felt So Good" from Jackson's upcoming album of new music.
A little more star power - and timely, too - comes from Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. While Call of Summer features a few short shots of the former Rookie of the Year and two-time NBA All-Star, Lovers of the Game is all about his white Wrangler Altitude Edition and wrangling shots. You can watch both spots below, and if you want to hear the rest of the music track before the album hits, you can download it from iTunes.