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New models, less debt lift Chrysler

DETROIT — Chrysler said Monday that its third-quarter profit rose 80 percent on the strength of new models, less debt, and steadily growing sales in both US and international markets.

The third-largest Detroit carmaker said that it earned $381 million in net income, up from $212 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $15.5 billion, an 18 percent increase from $13.1 billion in the same period last year.

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The results could be seen as the latest evidence that Chrysler’s improbable comeback from its government bailout and bankruptcy was not only sustainable but accelerating.

‘‘We’ve changed the conversation at Chrysler Group,’’ said Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of both Chrysler and its Italian parent, Fiat.

Chrysler’s solid results are propping up the faltering European operations of Fiat, which was scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings Tuesday.

Marchionne may disclose new moves to cut losses at Fiat, which is struggling to cope with the steepest decline in sales in Europe in nearly 20 years.

Chrysler said worldwide sales rose 12 percent in the third quarter to 556,000 vehicles. For the first nine months of the year, it sold 1.7 million vehicles, up from 1.4 million in the same period in 2011.

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