Chrysler's yearly profit $1.3 billion, second annual profit since 1997

(WXYZ) - Chrysler posted a $1.7 billion profit in 2012, and $378 million in the fourth quarter.

The manufacturer's sales went up 18 percent worldwide. Sales were up 21 percent in the U.S., which is Chrysler's largest market.

Three years out of bankruptcy, an improvement in products and auto sales at Chrysler led to the increase from 2011's profit of $183 million. The Fiat 500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram pickup, and Chrysler 200 and 300 sedans sold well last year.

Chrysler took a $12.5 billion loan from taxpayers to survive after filing for bankruptcy in 2009. The profit in 2011 was Chrysler's first annual profit since 1997. Chrysler has paid back $11.2 billion but the U.S. Treasury Department said it won't recover the remaining $1.3 billion.

The company said it expects worldwide vehicle shipments to reach between 2.6 million and 2.7 million. This would be up 0.3 million from last year. It also said it expects net income to increase to around $2.2 billion.

Italian automaker Fiat SpA owns most of Chrysler. CEO of both companies, Sergio Marchionne, sent an email to Chrysler's 63,643 workers giving them credit for Chrysler's turnaround, saying they would get performance bonus payments.

"Your phenomenal efforts have put us on a road with an endless horizon in front of us," he said.

Chrysler's websites says it plans to released several new and updated vehicles this year and after. These include a small crossover SUV, a new Ram commercial van, an updated heavy-duty Ram pickup and the long version of the Fiat 500 mini-car.

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