Chrysler’s 2nd Quarter Reflects Boom in Sales : Autos: Earnings outstrip estimates, but shortages limit potential for rest of the model year.

From Reuters

Chrysler Corp., enjoying booming sales in its Jeep, minivan and passenger car lines, Thursday reported a record second-quarter profit of $956 million.

The figure topped Wall Street’s most optimistic estimates. It compares to $685 million earned in the equivalent period of 1993 and an all-time record quarterly profit of $983 million for the first three months of this year.

“Strong consumer demand for Chrysler cars and trucks--both in North America and around the world--once again generated solid quarterly financial results,” Chrysler Chairman Robert J. Eaton said in a statement. “Dealer inventories for many of our products--including minivans, Dodge and Plymouth Neon, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram--were in short supply for much of the quarter.”


The nation’s No. 3 car maker said the April-to-June performance, equal to profit of $2.35 a share on a fully diluted basis, was the best in the company’s 69-year history. It exceeded Wall Street’s estimate of $2.26 a share and the $1.69-a-share profit of a year ago.

Second-quarter revenue rose 19% to $13.1 billion, from $11 billion.

In the second quarter of ‘93, the auto maker registered a $110-million onetime gain from stock and asset sales, so the latest results were even more impressive.

However, Wall Street analysts said the improvement was not big enough to boost Chrysler’s stock price. It slipped 75 cents to $49.375 a share in New York Stock Exchange trading.

Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Gary Valade, interviewed after the release of the earnings report, said the auto maker is reducing its forecast of 1994 U.S. auto industry sales to 15.6 million vehicles from 16 million because of the inventory shortage.

“People still seem to have the ability to buy and the willingness to buy, but the availability is not there,” Valade said. He said Chrysler had only a 45-day supply of cars and trucks at the end of June, down from 50 days in the first quarter.

Auto makers typically like to have 60 to 65 days’ supply on hand throughout the year and higher inventories in the summer to make up for extended model changeovers.


Analysts said Chrysler will probably see worse shortages in the next few months but that inventories should catch up by the end of the year.

“They’re a victim of a hot product and a hot market,” J.P. Morgan auto analyst David Bradley said. “They’re increasing production, but not as fast as demand is growing.”

During the second quarter, Chrysler’s worldwide sales rose almost 7% to 702,802 vehicles.