Also, Chrysler's prime U.S. competitors, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., are rolling out many new products this year, as are Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors.
"We're taking nobody for granted," Marchionne said.
Still, U.S. auto sales are expected to rise by about a million this year, to near 14 million, and Chrysler is expected to get a share of the increase.
President Barack Obama has been touting Chrysler's turnaround in recent appearances ahead of the November presidential election. Obama cast the deciding vote to save Chrysler and authorized much of the $12.5 billion in government funding that bailed out the company. Of the original bailout to Chrysler and its financial arm, the government said it was repaid all but $1.3 billion.
Chrysler now employs 57,200 people, 9,400 more than it did when the company left bankruptcy protection in 2009. Marchionne confirmed Wednesday that Chrysler will add a third shift at its plant in Belvidere, Ill., which is making the Dart, Chrysler's first competitive compact car in more than 15 years. The company is expected to add around 1,600 jobs.
The Dart is important to Chrysler because it gives the company a product to attract first-time buyers who generally stay with a brand if they like their first cars.
Chrysler's turnaround last year was largely on the back of the Jeep brand, which saw sales rise 44 percent for the year. The revamped Grand Cherokee was a hit. Its sales rose 51 percent to nearly 128,000, almost one-third of Jeep's total.Chrysler's top-selling vehicle last year was as the Ram pickup at nearly 245,000. Both vehicles carry high sticker prices and bring big profits to the company. The starting price of a Grand Cherokee, for instance, is $27,490, but the SUV can run into the $40,000s when options are added.
The full-year profit sets the stage for Chrysler to return to the public stock markets. The company's other owner, a trust that pays retiree health care bills for Chrysler's union retirees, wants to sell its stake to raise money for the payments. Marchionne says a stock offering won't happen until at least next year.
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