Wall Street asked for better financial results and DaimlerChrysler AG delivered, outpacing analysts' expectations in the third quarter.

DC posted net earnings in the July-September period equivalent to $1.6 billion, up 14% from year-ago on a 15% rise in revenues. Including the sale of a 32.4% stake in debitel, the European telecommunications operations, net income rose 52% to $2.1 billion during the quarter.

The automaker says it expects continued strong results in the fourth quarter, with revenues for entire-1999 forecast to increase by about 11% to $155 billion.

A big portion of third quarter growth came from the Mercedes-Benz/Smart division, where operating profit rose 40% on a 15% rise in revenues. Unit sales of Mercedes cars totaled 242,700 units, up 7%. DC didn't detail Smart sales for the quarter, but says for the first nine months 51,300 units were sold, with “a significant increase” coming in the third quarter over the first two. However, DC Co-Chairman Robert J. Eaton says Smart will lose $425 million to $532 million this year. “It is absolutely our intent to stay with Smart and get it profitable, and it will take additional models to do that as well as additional volume,” Mr. Eaton says. Smart is planning to launch a cabrio version of its current car next year and a roadster in 2002.

DaimlerChrysler 3Q Financial Results
1999 1998 % Chg.
Sales $38,562 $33,419 15.4
Net Income 1,608 1,410 14.0
Earnings per Share 1.61 1.45 11.0
Worldwide Unit Sales 1,128 1,026 9.9
Note: Dollars in millions, except per share, and based on an exchange rate of 1 euro to $1.0643. Worldwide unit sales are wholesale in thousands and include commercial vehicles.

Chrysler-brand vehicle operations notched record revenues of $16.1 billion, up 19% on sales of 722,400 vehicles. That was despite a loss of 25,000 units of production and shipment due to hurricane Floyd. DC says it expects to make up those losses in the fourth quarter.

Commercial vehicle sales set a record for the quarter, with 139,800 units delivered, an 11% gain from year-ago. Operating profit was up only slightly, however, a result DC blames on weak economic conditions in Latin America and Turkey.

For the January-September period, DC posted net earnings of $4.932 billion, up 11.8% from $4.412 billion year-ago. Revenues total $115.528 billion, also up 11.8% from $103.374 billion in like-1998.