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July 31, 2019 11:15 AM, EDT

Fiat Chrysler Surges From North American Sales of Ram, Jeep Models

Fiat Fiat CEO Mike Manley (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV jumped the most in two months after soaring sales of its Ram pickup truck delivered higher profits in North America and offset weakness in Europe.

The Italian-American company, reporting flat operating profit July 31, kept intact its full-year guidance. Peers such as Daimler AG and Nissan Motor Co. have cut their outlooks battling a demand downturn and record spending. Fiat’s shares rose as much as 5%.

North America delivered almost all of Fiat’s earnings, rising 12% to $1.75 billion, with the new Jeep Gladiator alongside Ram models countering lower shipments. Profit margins for the region also rose, even after Fiat offered hefty discounts to gain share in the lucrative U.S. truck market.

Returns for the region also were aided by the Trump administration’s rollback of penalties on vehicles that failed to meet fuel-efficiency standards, the company said.

Fiat

Ram truck sales provided a much needed boost for Fiat in the last two months. (Sean Proctor/Bloomberg News)

The U.S. result will help with CEO Mike Manley’s task to deliver on a turnaround in Europe and Asia as the carmaker faces issues left over from the reign of the late Sergio Marchionne and mounting new challenges. While Manley reduced operating losses in Asia despite cratering demand in the world’s biggest car market, profits in Europe slumped 88% to just 22 million euros. Losses also deepened at the troubled Maserati luxury car brand.

Fiat Chrysler rose 3.3% to 12.08 euros at 1:34 p.m. Milan time. The stock has gained 5.6% since the start of the year, versus a 9.6% gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts Index.

Fiat also has billions of dollars of catching up to do on electrified and self-driving vehicles that prompted a failed attempt to merge with Renault SA.

Second-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and amortization for the group was flat at 1.53 billion euros for a margin of 5.7%. That met the average analyst estimate of 1.52 billion euros.