FRANKFURT -- The head of the Chrysler group expects profits to remain strong thanks to successful new products, the Financial Times quoted him on Wednesday as saying.
"We have strong confidence that the momentum we are showing now is sustainable," Dieter Zetsche told the newspaper.
The Chrysler group swung to an operating profit of $632 million in the second quarter from a year-earlier loss thanks to a rejuvenated product lineup featuring new models such as its 300 and Dodge Magnum.
Unit sales rose 8 percent year-on-year and the Chrysler group forecast "considerable positive earnings" in 2004 despite margin-eroding incentives that U.S. carmakers dangle before customers.
The FT quoted Joe Eberhardt, the Chrysler group's executive vice president of global sales and marketing, as saying the carmaker aimed to rein in heavy incentives that have cut prices to below market levels.
"Our overall direction is to have prices that are much closer to the actual transaction price of the vehicle -- in other words to what the customer ends up paying," he said.
This helps support used car prices and customer perceptions of a car's value, he said, adding: "For us, the most important thing was to stall the increase in incentives."