In yesterday's Business and Finance section, Chrysler Corp. sales were reported as $2.3 million in the first quarter of 1980 and $3.3 million for the comparable period in 1979.The sales figures should have been billions, not millions.
Chrysler Corp. yesterday reported a $448.8 million loss for the first quarter of 1980, one of the largest quarterly losses in U.S. corporate history. Company officials said the loss was on "on target" with its recovery plan.
As recently as last December, Chrysler was predicting a $500 million loss for the entire year.
The first quarter loss on sales of $2.3 million compares with a $53.8 million loss for the first quarter of 1979 on sales of $3.3 million.
Chrysler Chairman Lee A. Lacocca blamed the heavy first quarter losses on the nation's weakening economy, tight credit, continued public concern over gasoline availability and the increasing popularity of imported cars. He said these "negative factors" were expected to continue beyond the second quarter.
Despite Iacocca's gloomy outlook, company officials insisted yesterday that the firm's recovery was still very much on target. "We're within a whisker of what we told Treasury," one official said.
Chrysler is seeking a $1.5 billion federal aid package from the Carter administration. In seeking the aid, in the form of federal loan guarantees, the company has projected overall losses of $750 million through the first three quarters of this year. Chrysler officials said they still expect to return to profitability by the fourth quarter of 1980.
Last year, Chrysler reported a record $1.097 billion loss.
Chrysler is counting on its new K-car to return the company to profitability. The front-wheel-drive subcompacts are scheduled to be introduced this fall.
A special Chrysler Loan Guarnatee Board is scheduled to meet tomorrow to consider the company's aid request. Approval of the aid plan had been held up because of a problem involving Chrysler Canada.
The Canadian government has insisted that Chrysler guarantee that it will maintain a certain number of jobs in Canada in exchange for a reported $200 million in federal aid. Chrysler reportedly reached agreement late Tuesday on a plan that would guarantee that a certain percentage of Chrysler jobs remained in Canada.
With the Canadian problem resolved, the loan guarantee board is expected to approve the loan guarantees at its Friday meeting.
President Carter, in the meantime, has called representatives of the nation's four major auto companies -- General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and American Motors -- to a meeting at the White House next Wednesday to discuss the industry's overall problems. United Auto Workers President Douglas Fraser also was invited to the meeting.
Industry officials said the meeting would focus on ways to help the industry which has been hard hit by the current economic slump. Also on the White House agenda, according to one industry official, will be the problem of Japanese import competition.
The company said that worldwide sales in the first quarter fell 34 percent to 328,917 from 501,085 a year earlier. Retail passenger car sales for the first quarter were 239,202 units, down from 286,715 a year earlier.
In a statement issued in Detroit yesterday, Chrysler raised the possibility of bankruptcy if it failed to get the federal loan guarantees. It was the first time Chrysler has publicly mentioned bankruptcy.
The company's financial statement showed Chrysler's deficit had grown from $11 million to $575 million during the first quarter. The deficit is referred to a "negative net working capital."