Ram and Jeep Wrangler drive Fiat Chrysler profits up 61 percent

FCA's fortunes are better in North America than elsewhere

MILAN — Italian American automaker Fiat Chrysler says fourth-quarter net profits rose by 61 percent, powered by North American sales of the all-new Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday reported quarterly net profits of 1.29 billion euros ($1.46 billion), compared with 804 million euros in 2017. Revenues rose 6 percent to 30.6 billion euros.

North America profits grew by 19 percent to 6.2 billion euros, accounting for the lion's share of the automaker's global profits. The carmaker continued to have trouble in Asia, which swung to a loss due to market weakness in China and more competition in Fiat Chrysler's core SUV market.

Europe also lost ground, with profits dipping 44 percent on lower shipments and weaker pricing, while Latin America more than doubled.

Based on the company's earnings last year, 44,000 unionized U.S. auto workers will get $6,000 profit-sharing checks. That's $500 more than in 2017, but smaller than U.S. rivals Ford and General Motors. On Wednesday, GM announced that workers would get $10,750, while Ford workers will get $7,600.

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