Fiat Chrysler Earnings Fall Ahead of Diesel Fines

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) posted earnings for the third quarter that were down 38% due to anticipating a large hit financially that is related to a diesel investigation in the U.S.

The automaker announced that it would payout its first dividend since being created during 2014.

On Tuesday, FCA said that its earnings for the third quarter were $640 million in comparison to $1.1 billion during the same three-month period in 2017.

It added that the decline reflected an anticipated $794 million charge related to a United State Justice Department investigation alleging that the automaker did not disclose software on over 104,000 pickups and SUVs with diesel engines that regulators have said could be similar to software found on Volkswagen vehicles that cheated the emissions testing for millions of vehicles.

The company denies that its diesel engines contain any type of software that is illegal or that they have defeat devices. Nonetheless, it included a charge it estimated in preparation of any possible penalties that it might be required to pay due to the ongoing federal inquiry.

FCA Chief Executive Officers Mike Manley, who took the reins in the latter part of July after Sergio Marchionne became ill and then died, said FCA’s estimated charge for a penalty does not represent the outcome of a settlement, or any admission on their part.

FCA said its adjusted pre-tax margin was 10.2% for North America, which once again delivered the majority of the rising profits at the automaker. The automaker reported its market share in the U.S. increased to 12.9%, which was attributed by FCA to a shipments increase of its new Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500, along with the new Jeep Cherokee.

The automaker announced that the sales of its components division for $7 billion to CK Holdings Co. Ltd. would enable it to make a payment of a $2.2 billion extraordinary dividend at the closing, which is to be offered along with the company’s annual dividend that is equal to 20% of the earnings of the company. It marks the first dividend paid out to shareholders since FCA was founded close to five years ago.

In September FCA had more vehicles sales that its rival Ford Motor for just the first time in 9 years. FCA, thanks to Ram and Jeep sales, has been in the middle of a SUV and truck sales battle for the majority of 2018 with Ford and General Motors.