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Chrysler earnings drop 65 percent

An assembly line worker at a Chrysler plant in Kokomo, Ind. The carmaker’s CEO said it remains “on track.”

AJ Mast/Associated Press

An assembly line worker at a Chrysler plant in Kokomo, Ind. The carmaker’s CEO said it remains “on track.”

DETROIT — Chrysler Group said Monday that its net income fell 65 percent in the first quarter, to $166 million, as the automaker spent heavily to prepare for new product introductions.

Chrysler, the smallest of Detroit’s three auto companies, said revenue dropped 6 percent in the quarter, to $15.4 billion, despite an 8 percent increase in new vehicle sales. The weaker results ­indicated that Chrysler is still solidifying its comeback from a government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009.

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But the company’s chief ­executive, Sergio Marchionne, reaffirmed earlier forecasts that Chrysler would earn $2.2 billion for the full year on revenue of $72 billion or higher.

“We remain on track to achieve our business targets,’’ said Marchionne, who is also chief executive of Chrysler’s parent company, the Italian automaker Fiat.

Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, also reported a decline in profit as weak sales in Europe persisted. Fiat said its net profit in the first quarter fell to $40.56 million, an 88 percent decline from the same period in 2012.

Chrysler reported that it sold 563,000 vehicles worldwide during the three-month period, an 8 percent increase from a year ago. Most of the additional sales came in the United States, where Chrysler said its market share ­improved slightly to 11.4 percent, up from 11.2 percent in the same period in 2012.

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