On Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that its profit for the first quarter of 2017 was $698.1 million, an increase of more than 34% in comparison to the same three-month period one year ago.
The increase was driven primarily through profits obtained in Europe as well as gains in the Maserati brand.
The earnings, a new record for the business since it was created through a Fiat and Chrysler merger, increased from over $521 million earned by the automaker for the same period in 2016.
The profits, which were slightly better than had been expected, are a strong sign for the carmaker as it is facing a sales environment that is increasingly more difficult in the U.S. and is attempting to reach its goals that it set out in 2014 in a five year plan.
Global revenue at Fiat Chrysler was up 4% to end the quarter at $30.2 billion compared to $28.9 billion for the same three-month period in 2016.
Profit at the automaker was 47 cents a share, slightly higher than the estimates of analysts that averaged 46 cents.
Across Europe, the market is still recovering following the recession and declining sales in the industry that lasted for years.
Fiat Chrysler’s net income before taxes was up 85% to just over $193 million compared to $105 million during the same quarter last year.
Pre-tax profit for the company in North America were up slightly ending at $1.35 billion in comparison to $1.3 billion during 2016 for the same period.
At the same time, profit before taxes surged by 569% for its Maserati Brand ending the quarter at $116.5 million compared to $17.4 million. That increase in profit was driven by its global launch of its first SUV the Levante.
Like all other automakers, Fiat Chrysler, is continuing to battle with sales in South America where it ended up with a loss of $21.8 million that compared with a $12 million profit last year during the same three month period.
During the opening three months of 2017, Fiat Chrysler faced high costs of its launch of the all-new Jeep Compass, which only started to reach dealers near the end of the quarter.
It also discontinued Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 vehicles in 2016 losing benefits of those sales.
Sales at the automaker in the U.S. were down 7.3% during the 2017 first quarter. Following seven straight years of growth car sales have peaked in the U.S. and are beginning to drop just as the carmaker is going through a slow time with its new vehicles it had introduced.