FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler's third-quarter operating profit rose 38 percent to $2.20 billion, or 1.84 billion euros at current exchange rates, easily beating analysts' expectations, due to gains at the Mercedes Car Group.
The Chrysler group posted a 43-percent rise in operating profit to $375 million, or 310 million euros, despite a fiercely competitive U.S. automotive market.
Posting results a day earlier than expected, the world's fifth-biggest carmaker reiterated on Tuesday its forecast for slightly higher 2005 operating profit excluding restructuring costs for its loss-making Smart small car brand.
The 23 analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected operating profit of $1.88 billion, or 1.56 billion euros, for the group, and $447.7 million, or 370 million euros, at Mercedes. Mercedes posted a 43-percent rise to $527.6 million, or 436 million euros, operating profit versus 304 million euros a year ago.
"The better profitability was due in particular to the new products and the efficiency-improving measures," DaimlerChrysler said in a statement.
The group's market-leading commercial vehicles division tripled its operating profit to $602.6 million, or 498 million euros, amid a global trucks boom that is showing signs of weakening in Europe. Recall costs at Japanese unit Fuso had hit the year-ago quarter.
"The positive effects (of increased car shipments) were partially offset by a slight negative net pricing," DaimlerChrysler added.
Restructuring charges had weighed a year earlier when Chrysler reported just 217 million euros in operating earnings.
Group net profit fell 21 percent to $913.3 million, or 755 million euros, due to one-off financial income booked in the third quarter of 2004. Revenue rose 9 percent to $46.2 billion, or 38.2 billion euros.