Chrysler Group said Wednesday that it earned $378 million in the fourth quarter on revenue of $17.2 billion.
For the full-year, Chrysler's net income was $1.7 billion on revenue of $65.8 billion, a 20% gain year over year..
With profits that were nine times those of 2011, the results were all the more impressive given that Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy just three years ago.
On Tuesday, rival Ford reported profits for the fourth-quarter and 2012 that beat estimates although Ford's revenue and income are being hurt by losses in Europe.
CEO Sergio Marchionne said that while the company was happy with its strong financial results for 2012, " the enterprise we are crafting is not complete."
Car sales in the U.S. market were up 21%, thanks to hot products like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, which won the North American Truck/Utility of the Year award at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.
"The goals we've set for the year ahead reflect a common desire by everyone from leadership to the shop floor to succeed and sustain the power of the house we are building," Marchione said. "Our aim is meaningful, but it is not complicated, and only a preoccupation with quality can achieve it."
The company has already made great strides in quality and has been testing vehicles more and longer, says Rebecca Lindland, director of research for IHS Automotive.
"That's really helped their warranty costs and helped quality overall," she says. "They're doing a really good job of making their vehicles comparable from a quality standpoint."
Others agree Chrysler is on a roll.
"The company was the only domestic automaker to gain market share last year," says Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar.com.
And the company was also able to increase its' average transaction price by nearly $1,000 per car compared to 2011 despite "marginal incentives spending" which helped to improve profitability, Toprak says.
Another thing working in Chrysler's favor: It has almost no exposure in the troubled European market. It doesn't build cars there or sell them through its own dealership system. That's a blessing at a time when the European market is a drain on its competitors' bottom lines.
Chrysler "is exceeding everyone's expectations," says Lindland.
The new Dodge Dart, on the other hand, got off to a strong start, but "the engine needed a little bit of work and is going to get that."
Marchione defended the Dart Wednesday, calling it an "incredibly rich vehicle for its class" that has a "non comprehensive powertrain solution" that will be remedied for the 2014 model year.