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Quietly, Chrysler Positions Itself for Growth

Chrysler grille
AP
Chrysler grille

It is important news that will be drowned out by far more important news.

Chrysler is once again back in the black with itsfirst profitable quartersince coming out of bankruptcy nearly two years ago.

And while that news will be overshadowed by stories on the death of Osama bin Laden, don't dismiss Chrysler's earnings as just another story.

It's not.

Chrysler earned $116 million last quarter thanks in large part to a line-up that is slowly getting better. New and redesigned models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee are bringing buyers back into showrooms. That, combined with an improving auto market, drove Chrysler to pick up a smidgen of market share and have a profitable quarter.

Meanwhile, Chrysler has a new financing deal lined up so it can pay off government loans from the US and Canada. This gives Chrysler the financial flexibility (and lower interest rates) it needs to position itself for an IPO. It also moves Chrysler away from the perception of being "a ward of the state." It's increasingly working toward its goal of an IPO later this year. This profitable quarter sets a good base to show Wall Street this Chrysler is far different than the old one.

That may be the most important thing about this quarter. It shows CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to invest in Chrysler is paying off. It has taken a while to see the results investors want, but only because this company was on death's door step. Rebuilding the product pipeline has taken time. And yes, Chrysler still has a long ways to go. Still, today is a big step in the re-birth of Chrysler.

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