DETROIT -- Chrysler Group says it will break even on operations next year on its way to generating a net profit of $3 billion in 2014.
The advances will be driven by the launch of 21 new models, rising sales and benefits from more efficient supply-chain and manufacturing operations, CFO Richard Palmer said. He spoke today as the U.S. automaker wrapped up an eight-hour program outlining its strategy under new owner Fiat S.p.A.
It was the first time Chrysler had disclosed financial information since a restructuring funded by the U.S. government put the automaker under Fiat's control.
Palmer said that by 2014, Chrysler will repay the $12.5 billion in U.S. loans that have kept it afloat this year, through bankruptcy and the worst U.S. sales climate in nearly three decades. He said the automaker will break even on a net basis in 2011.
Chrysler will start providing financial updates every three months, beginning with a report on this year's fourth quarter to be delivered in April.
By 2014, 56 percent of Chrysler's worldwide sales will be in vehicles with platforms that originated with its Italian partner, said Joseph Veltri, Chrysler's vice president of product planning.
The company said that shared purchasing between the partners will save Chrysler about $2.9 billion from 2010 through 2014.
Chrysler expects to “recapture our lost market share that was lost in the last two years,” Veltri said. “There should be no doubt that we are investing in the future of Chrysler.”
By 2014, the number of Chrysler vehicles sold annually will more than double, from a projected 1.3 million this year to 2.8 million, Palmer said. U.S. sales will see a similar jump, from about 950,000 to 2 million, he said.
The company had routinely topped that mark until last year, when sales plunged 30 percent. This year's volume has fallen 39 percent.
The forecast assumes a 13 percent share of U.S. sales and 500,000 vehicles sold outside the United States.
Through October of this year, Chrysler accounted for 9 percent of U.S. sales, after 22 consecutive months of decline.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called Chrysler's forecast for industrywide sales conservative and outlook for U.S. market share “extremely aggressive.”
“Some people will find that unrealistic," he said.
Jonas pegs Chrysler's share below 9 percent in five years.
In contrast, Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com, called Chrysler's projections aggressive but attainable,
“Chrysler's fundamental assumptions are in the ballpark,” he said. “That adds to the credibility of the plan.”
He said Chrysler under Marchionne so far had done more to reduce costs to lower its breakeven than it had done to boost revenue.
“Marchionne may be uniquely the right guy for this job,” Anwyl said. “He's not a huge proponent of marketing to solve problems; he's more comfortable with ruthlessly cutting costs.”
Chrysler forecasts total industry sales in the United States of 11 million next year, 12.7 million in 2011, 13.8 million in 2012, 14 million in 2013 and 14.5 million in 2014.
Each year's projection is about 10 percent below the industry consensus, Palmer said.
Jesse Snyder and Reuters contributed to this report.