updated 7/29/2004 8:03:51 AM ET 2004-07-29T12:03:51

Automaker DaimlerChrysler posted a fivefold increase in net profit in the second quarter to 554 million euros ($670 million) thanks to a sharp turnaround at U.S. division Chrysler, the company said Thursday.

The latest profit improved on the profit of 109 million euros in the April-June quarter a year ago, but fell short of the average forecast among stock analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires of 809 million euros ($979 million.)

Group revenue rose 9 percent to 37.1 billion euros ($44.9 billion) from 33.9 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago.

The rebound came as the Chrysler division bounced back to an operating profit of 516 million euros ($624 million) in the quarter in contrast to last year’s operating loss of 948 million euros.
New versions of its Dodge Magnum and Durango, 300C car and new minivans boosted Chrysler unit sales by 3 percent to 759,800 vehicles.

Meanwhile, the mainstay Mercedes group saw operating profit dip 18 percent to 703 million euros ($851 million).

Earlier in the day, DaimlerChrysler’s board named Eckhard Cordes as new head of its Mercedes division. Cordes has been chief of the commercial vehicles division and will take over for 65-year-old Juergen Hubbert, who will become head of the company’s executive automotive committee ahead of his expected retirement in April 2005.

The 53-year-old Cordes will be replaced at commercial vehicles by Andreas Renschler, 46, head of the company’s Smart compact car division.

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