Fiat Chrysler see progressive earnings after first quarter

Fiat Chrysler see progressive earnings after first quarter

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Sales are strong for Fiat Chrysler; that's the word from CEO Sergio Marchionne today.

Fiat Chrysler can feel really good about their net earnings of $539 million in the first quarter.

Jeep shipments increased 15 percent, and FCA's debt rating was upgraded to stable. The increase came from a strong sales performance here in North America.

The company says sales of Jeep, Ram trucks and minivans helped create an eight percent jump in regional sales.

Marchionne did not however, say anything about the future of the Cherokee. A company spokesperson told WTOL that Cherokee production will leave Toledo, but no timetable was given. It's believed the Cherokee will move to the Belvidere Illinois plant.

The spokesperson also said that she can't confirm Wrangler production will increase here when Cherokee leaves, but says "logically" thinking, that's why the Cherokee move is being made.

At a conference call, Marchionne made a general statement about his goals for when vehicles are moved.

"I think it would have been inconceivable when we ran the numbers to accept a solution that would have accepted a down time in any of the lines that are involved in the production of other Jeep or Ram products. And so what is going around now in all of the facilities if effectively a 'tooling up'," said Marchionne.

This means he doesn't want production to be shut down for any time, while a transition is being made.

Marchionne did confirm today that production of the Ram pickup will move from Warren to Sterling Heights. The company will purchase new equipment and modify its engine plant in Trenton, Michigan, for the next generation four-cylinder engine for future vehicles.

245 jobs will be preserved at the plant.

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