Chrysler to Assign 70 People to Detroit Office, CEO Says

Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA (F), is leasing offices in downtown Detroit and will assign about 70 people there, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said.

Most of the employees involved have been stationed at the company’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters, and will relocate around mid-year. As part of the leasing agreement, the city’s Dime Building will be renamed Chrysler House, the CEO said. Chrysler is leasing about 33,000 square feet (3,066 square meters) of space.

Chrysler’s first-quarter net income more than quadrupled as car models such as the 200 and 300 sedans helped capture the industry’s biggest U.S. market-share gain. Profit climbed to $473 million from $116 million a year earlier, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said in an April 26 statement.

Sales increased 25 percent to $16.4 billion as the company tapped into Detroit’s comeback with a Super Bowl television ad featuring actor and director Clint Eastwood. Chrysler has forecast that net income will rise to about $1.5 billion this year, buoying results for its Turin, Italy-based majority owner as Europe’s debt crisis depresses sales in its home region.

Chrysler’s U.S. deliveries of passenger cars surged 89 percent this year through March from a year earlier, with the 200 and 300 sedans providing the biggest gains, according to researcher Autodata Corp. in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Chrysler said the most recent quarter was the most profitable since 1998’s third quarter. The company didn’t report results from late 1998 to 2007, when Daimler AG (DAI) owned Chrysler, or when Cerberus Capital Management LP controlled it through mid-2009.

Marchionne, 59, is chief executive officer of both Chrysler and Fiat and plans to merge the two companies and boost sales to more than 100 billion euros ($132 billion) by 2014. Fiat boosted its ownership stake of Chrysler to 58.5 percent in January. He reiterated last week that the company is unlikely to do an initial public offering this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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