Chrysler makes first profit since bankruptcy protection

Worker at a Chrysler factory in Detroit
Image caption Chrysler's recovery is now revving along

Chrysler has reported its first quarterly profit since it emerged from bankruptcy protection two years ago.

The US carmaker made a net profit of $116m (£69m) in the first three months of 2011, thanks to the success of its newer models and the overall recovery in global demand for vehicles.

The profit compares with a net loss of $197m a year earlier. Chrysler's revenues were up 35% to $13.1bn.

Last month, Italy's Fiat increased its shareholding in Chrysler to 46%.

Fiat first bought a 20% stake in Chrysler in 2009, after the US firm emerged from bankruptcy protection. It then increased this first to 25% and then to 30% earlier this year.

The Italian carmaker has shared its technology and management with Chrysler, helping the American company to turn around its fortunes.

Paul Eisenstein, publisher of the automotive analysis group Detroit, believes the partnership is starting to work well.

"It's looking like an increasingly good marriage between Chrysler and Fiat. There's a lot yet to be proven and we haven't seen the results of their tie up on the products developments side. But all things point to a much better marriage here than Chrysler had with Germany's Daimler just a few years ago," he told the BBC.

Chrysler's global sales rose 18% in the first three months of this year, a similar picture to that at Ford and General Motors, the other two of the big three US carmakers.

They have also recently reported big rises in profits.

Chrysler and Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne said the US firm's improved financial performance showed that "our rejuvenated product line-up is gaining momentum in the marketplace and resonating with customers".

Chrysler last made a quarterly profit in 2007.

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