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Chrysler Group’s fourth-quarter net income more than quadrupled to $1.62 billion, aided by $962 million in one-time tax benefits. Without the benefits, the company made $659 million, still 74 percent more than a year ago. Chrysler’s performance helped to prop up Fiat, its Italian owner, which made $345 million excluding one-time items. Without earnings from Chrysler, Fiat would have lost $321 million. The industry hopes the latest figures suggest the decline in Europe – Fiat’s traditional stronghold – has bottomed out. Steve Fowler, Editor of Auto Express, says Fiat needs Chrysler now, not the other way around: For the full year, Chrysler made $1.8 billion excluding tax benefits, its best performance since leaving bankruptcy in 2009.

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