Fiat SpA showed a strong recovery in reporting its third quarter results Wednesday, largely due to improvements in Fiat Auto. Fiat Group posted net profits of $990 million, compared to a 2004 Q3 loss of about $483 million.

Fiat Auto sharply cut its losses from $337 million a year ago, to $102 million in 2005, largely as a result of cost cutting, an improved product mix, and restructuring of its sales and distribution network.

The news at Fiat is not all good, however. Fiat Auto unit sales were down nearly 6 percent, and market share declined slightly. Fiat blames this on the preannouncement of major new models, the Grande Punto and the Alfa 159, depressing sales of existing models, and the company expects to see a rebound in the fourth quarter.

Demand is strong for the group's luxury brands, Maserati and Ferrari, with sales revenues up 37 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

[Source: Fiat Group]

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