UPDATE 4-Chrysler revenue slumps on new model launches

Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:13pm EDT
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* Fiat net debt 7.1 billion euros, up from 6.5 billion euros at end-2012

* Fiat and Chrysler both affirm 2013 forecast

* Chrysler quarterly net profit down 65 percent

* Chrysler says second half of 2013 to be strong

By Bernie Woodall and Jennifer Clark

DETROIT/MILAN, April 29 (Reuters) - Carmaker Fiat's first-quarter profit slumped more than expected as its U.S. unit Chrysler's sales suffered from the phase-out of the Jeep Liberty pending a new model launch.

"We knew we would be limping in the quarter. I just didn't think I was going to limp that much," said Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Chrysler and its parent Fiat, on a conference call with analysts and reporters.

Marchionne in January warned that Chrysler's first-quarter earnings would be down from a year earlier because of the expense of product launches and the fact that the Jeep Liberty SUV was no longer being produced.   Continued...