CHICAGO — Chrysler nearly doubled its profit in the third quarter as an improving economy and fresh models drew more consumers into its showrooms, the third largest US automaker said Monday.


Net income jumped 80 percent to $381 million as revenues rose 18 percent to $15.5 billion in the July through September period.

The strong growth comes just three years after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection under the stewardship of Italy's Fiat.

"We've changed the conversation at Chrysler Group," said Sergio Marchionne, who heads both Chrysler and Fiat.

"We continue to work feverishly and are pleased to see that our all-consuming aspiration for excellence is translating into results."

Marchionne confirmed the group's financial guidance for the year in which it forecast that free cash flow will be in excess of $1 billion, net income will come in around $1.5 billion, net revenues will be around $65 billion and global shipments will be 2.3 to 2.4 million vehicles.

The bulk of the growth in the third quarter came from increased vehicle sales, which was offset somewhat by a shift from high-margin trucks and sport utility vehicles to passenger cars.

Global vehicle sales rose 12 percent to 556,000 in the third quarter, as sales rose 13 percent in the United States where Chrysler has achieved 30 consecutive months of sales growth.

Sales outside of North America rose 27 percent in the quarter to 68,000, including 15,000 vehicles manufactured by Chrysler Group and sold by Fiat.