FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne also is looking to 2018 to drive the automaker's operations and prove that a massive U.S. production shuffle to move all domestic plants to crossovers, pickups and SUVs was the right choice.
"The flawless execution of that plan will pretty much deliver 2018," he said on a call with analysts, emphasizing that the changeovers are occurring without any downtime to current production of its Ram pickups and Jeep SUVs.
Marchionne said FCA's ability to hit its lofty 2018 financial targets largely will depend on the next three months, as it launches production of the redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler, the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 pickup and a freshened 2019 Jeep Cherokee, representing more than 1 million units of its most profit-rich vehicles.
FCA's third-quarter net income totaled $1.05 billion, while North American revenue slipped 4 percent to $18.98 billion and shipments in the region slipped 6 percent to 592,000 vehicles.
FCA reached 8 percent North American margins mainly thanks to a heavier sales mix of more profitable pickups and SUVs, as well as pricing gains, a common trend across the Detroit automakers.
Ford's third-quarter net income rose 63 percent to $1.56 billion, helped by foreign tax credits and strong light-truck sales in North America. That trend is expected to continue as the automaker looks to increase its offerings of crossovers and pickups, beginning in 2018.
"This quarter demonstrates that our team's focus on fitness is showing early promise," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. "But we also know that we must accelerate that progress in the near term."
Ford's revenue, pretax profit and operating margin all increased in what CFO Bob Shanks called a more balanced performance than in recent quarters.
Ford's adjusted pretax profit climbed 40 percent from a year ago to $1.97 billion, while revenue inched up 1 percent to $36.45 billion.
Wall Street reacted positively to all three automakers' results, sending each of the stocks up after the earnings releases.