Chrysler Corp. reported a $214 million third-quarter loss yesterday, a performance that would have been worse without record earnings at the company's financial subsidiary.
The earnings report, which showed Chrysler did better by lending money than by building and selling cars, underscored its difficulties as the No. 3 automaker continued negotiations past a midnight deadline last night when its contract with the United Auto Workers expired.
The UAW, hoping to avoid wildcat strikes at Chrysler plants, told its members to report to work as usual today even though they were not covered by a contract.
UAW spokesman Frank Joyce characterized the pace of the talks at Chrysler's Highland Park, Mich., headquarters as "slow," and sources said the two sides were still far apart on major issues. "Our efforts are devoted to continuing these negotiations," Joyce said, adding that he "did not have reason to think" that the old pact might not be reinstated.
Officials at some UAW locals said workers are impatient, and might walk off their jobs if talks last too long. A new national labor contract would affect 67,000 hourly and salaried workers in eight states.
Chrysler is the last and weakest of the Big Three to negotiate with the UAW and has said it can't be as generous as rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. Chrysler is the first of the nation's Big Three carmakers to report third-quarter earnings.
Chrysler reported a third-quarter loss of 95 cents a share, compared with $331 million ($1.42 a share) in the 1989 quarter. That period included a one-time, $309 million credit from the sale of some stock in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Chrysler now holds an 11 percent share of the Japanese automaker.
The company said the loss stemmed partly from the cost of cash rebates and other incentives aimed at selling cars, as well as the costs of a one-month shutdown for retooling of Chrysler's two minivan plants.
By contrast, Chrysler Financial Corp., which handles consumer car loans, earned $83 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, its best performance ever.
The third-quarter loss came on revenue of $6.5 billion, down 14.5 percent from $7.6 billion recorded in July through September last year. For the first nine months of 1990, Chrysler earned $37 million (17 cents), compared with $983 million ($4.21) last year. Revenue fell 15.4 percent to $23 billion from $27.2 billion.
Chrysler stock rose on the earnings report yesterday, but fell back to close at $11, down 12 1/2 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.