US and Europe are driving profits at Fiat Chrysler sending the share price higher

Billy Bambrough
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Chrysler CEO Marchionne Addresses Company's 2014 Investor Day
Fiat Chrysler's strategy is to churn out Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks in the US (Source: Getty)

Fiat Chrysler has reported first-quarter profit almost doubled to €1.3bn (£1bn) on the first three months of last year, up 88 per cent.

The company, owner of the Jeep and Ram brands, has been focusing on higher-priced sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks in the US. Sales of Jeeps globally rose 15 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Car sales in the US rose three per cent to 649,000 though overall shipments fell 1 per cent to 1.1m. The rise continues the boom in car sales that has been going on around Europe and the US over the last year.

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In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, sales climbed by 12 per cent to 304,000.

North America is still the key profit driver for the company, with profits climbing to €1.2bn, from €601m. In Europe profits reached €96m, from €25m last year.

Fiat Chrysler spun off luxury unit Ferrari at the start of this year but its premium luxury brand Maserati saw sales drop 14 per cent to 6,295 cars, knocking profits by 56 per cent down to €16m from €36m.

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Maserati jumped on the SUV bandwagon earlier this year as consumer demand for the outsized cars continues to rise.

Net debt at the company rose to €6.6bn at the end of March from €5.05bn three months earlier.

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