It's a claim that needs a big, fat asterisk after it, but
Jim Press is cheerily touting a $1.1 billion dollar
profit. The number, which wasn't pulled out of a posterior orifice but has yet to be adjusted, is known as the EBIDA, or earnings before interest,
, and amortization. Well, shoot, if you take all of the albatrosses off the necks of the automakers, they're all cranking along with nice gross profit numbers. Too bad that Chrysler's gross profit will turn into a disgusting loss once the accounting is done. It's good news that Chrysler's still making some money, even if a gross profit will turn into a net loss, and Press seems to indicate that Chrysler is aimed at right-sizing itself for future success. Moving vehicles is increasingly becoming a challenge as we suffer a hangover from the boom years of easy credit, and total volume is bound to be off by millions compared to just a few short years ago. Chrysler's product line doesn't strike us as well situated to eventually earn a net profit, saddled as it is with subpar interior materials, powertrains that want for refinement and output (in everything that's not V8- or Hemi-powered, that is), and uninspired design, but if Cerberus hangs in there instead of making everyone's strip and flip fears come true, the automaker may be able to get its act together for its product line after 2010.