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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on track to be debt free by end of 2018:

First-Quarter Operating Profit Up 5%...

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced their global first-quarter results this morning, and did it beat expectations. During the first-quarter of 2018, the company sold over 1.15 million vehicles. That was an increase of 7% over the first-quarter numbers in 2017. While the company’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was €1.6 billion (a 5% gain), revenue was €27 billion (a 2% decrease). But the real shock was the company’s net profit for the quarter. FCA had a net profit of €1.02 billion (almost a 60% increase).

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated for the past two years that when he retires as CEO at the end of 2018, FCA will be will be debt free. Well it looks like, FCA has taken a huge step towards that by using the cash on hand to pay off €1.3 billion in maturing debt. This leaves the company with €1.3 billion of debt. This remaining debt was expected to be paid off by the end of the year, however it now sounds like FCA might accomplish this before June 1st.


FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne (FCA Photo)

This would be just in time for Marchionne’s planned meeting on June 1st, to announce the blueprints for the company’s next four years.

Sales for the quarter were down over the first-quarter of 2017, by about 3,000 units in the NAFTA region. Canada sales were down 5%. Mexico also was down by 17% over the first-quarter of last year. However, U.S. sales were up 1% over the same time.


2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara JL 4×4 (FCA Photo)

Jeep sales were up 22% over the previous year, thanks to the all-new Wrangler and Compass. The new Cherokee is also showing strong sales. The Ram brand was down 13% in sales, due to lower fleet sales. However, the Ram brand’s U.S. retail sales were up 1%. Chrysler and Dodge sales were down 5% and 16%, respectively.

In the LATAM market, Brazil sales were up 5% in the first-quarter. Jeep remained the leader in Brazil SUV sales, with a combined share of 20.2%. Leading the sales charge was the Jeep Compass. Argentina sales were also up 35% for FCA, while their market share there grew to 12.6%.

The story is different in the APAC market. FCA’s market share in China dropped to 0.8%, due to lower joint venture sales for Jeep Cherokee and Renegade. FCA is hoping the all-new Chinese market Jeep Commander and Grand Commander will help the sales numbers in that country for the second-quarter. In India, the Jeep Compass is continuing to sell well since it’s launch in July of last year. It grew FCA’s market share of the country to 0.7% during the first-quarter of 2018.


2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport (FCA Photo)

It seems that the EMEA region Passenger Cars (PC) sales were down 4% thanks to A and B segment vehicles. FCA was up in most major markets, except for the UK (-12%) and Italy (-1%). On the other hand, Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) sales were up in major markets except again for the UK (-12%). LCV sales were up 7%, with the Fiat Ducato leading the way. Jeep Compass and Alfa Romeo Stelvio were the strong sellers for FCA. Jeep sales for the region were up 42%, while Alfa Romeo sales were also up 15%.

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