With second quarter results made all the more remarkable by the overall weakness in the European auto market, the Fiat Group blew by analysts' forecasts to post a $831.9 million quarterly profit, up 83 percent from last year's results in the same period.

More important than the group result is the fact that the automotive business, Fiat Auto, posted its third consecutive quarterly profit, a healthy $111.1 million. In the same quarter a year ago, the then-struggling auto group posted a loss of $111 million. Massive restructuring of the automotive operation and the introduction of successful new models led by Fiat's Grande Punto (at right), are credited with the turnaround.

Fiat Group also raised its yearly profit forecast for 2006 Monday, to $2.3 billion.

[Sources: Reuters, Fiat Group]

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