October 30, 2012 in Business

Chrysler sees strong sales in third quarter


DETROIT – Strong U.S. sales powered Chrysler to a healthy third-quarter profit.

The company on Monday reported net income of $381 million, up 80 percent from $212 million a year earlier. The profit was due mainly to a 13-percent sales increase in the U.S., where Chrysler does three-quarters of its business. The company sold nearly 417,000 cars and trucks in the U.S. under the Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and Chrysler brands.

Under the ownership of Italy’s Fiat SpA, the Detroit company has been transformed since its 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection. It has posted profits since early last year and is now propping up Fiat, which is struggling with dropping sales in Europe.

Chrysler’s sales have been helped by a series of revamped cars and trucks that began rolling out in 2010, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, the Ram pickup and the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan.

Verizon agrees to carry Nokia Windows phone

NEW YORK – Verizon Wireless, the largest cellphone carrier in the U.S., on Monday said it will sell a Nokia phone for the first time in years, lending support to the embattled Finnish company’s turnaround effort.

Verizon said it will sell the Lumia 822, an exclusive model that’s part of Nokia’s lineup of smartphones based on Microsoft’s Windows software, for $100 with a two-year contract. It will be in stores by Thanksgiving.

Verizon rivals AT&T and T-Mobile USA started selling Lumia phones earlier this year. They will join Verizon in launching new phones with Windows Phone 8, an updated operating system. Microsoft held a launch event for Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco on Monday, but the first phones are some weeks away from U.S. store shelves.

UPS predicts jump in holiday shipping

Shipping giant United Parcel Service Inc. said holiday shipping will jump 10 percent as consumers increasingly turn online to buy gifts for the season.

The company estimates that it will handle 527 million packages in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. On its busiest day, Dec. 20, the shipping firm forecasts delivering 28 million packages, or nearly twice the amount handled on a normal day.

UPS will hire 55,000 seasonal workers to handle the spike in business.

Chief rival FedEx said this week that it will hire 20,000 seasonal employees to work on holiday shipping that is expected to jump 13 percent from last year.

Retail sales this holiday are expected to rise 4.1 percent compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Pandora upgrades smartphone app

LOS ANGELES – Internet radio company Pandora is adding more functionality to its mobile apps – showing lyrics and artist information and making it easier to share self-crafted stations with friends

Pandora is essentially bringing the features of its website to users of its apps for Apple and Android mobile devices. The app for iPhones was released Monday, while an Android version is expected to follow soon. Pandora also said it is releasing a version for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 early next year. It will allow ad-free listening for a year with the Windows app.

Pandora is the leader in free online radio, where listeners can pick genres or styles of music but not specific songs or albums. It has 175 million registered users, including 58 million who use it in a given month. It claims a 73 percent share of the market for free online radio.

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