c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

DETROIT — Two of the three U.S. automakers reported mixed third-quarter earnings Wednesday, with General Motors’ profit off 53 percent in the quarter, and Chrysler’s up 22 percent.

GM, the biggest domestic auto company, said it earned $698 million in the third quarter, compared with $1.47 billion in the same period last year, a drop primarily because of special charges related to the repurchase of 120 million shares of preferred stock.

Revenue during the quarter rose about 4 percent to $38.98 billion, up from $37.57 billion.

The company’s best performance came in North America, where it reported a pretax profit of $2.18 billion, compared with $1.71 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

But its overseas operations struggled during the quarter.

Pretax earnings in its international division, which includes China, fell to $299 million, down from $761 million in the same period last year.

GM said that its European operations were improving but still posting heavy losses. The company reported a pretax loss in Europe of $214 million during the quarter, compared with a loss of $487 million a year ago.

The company’s worldwide unit sales were flat. GM said it sold about 1.58 million vehicles during the quarter, compared with 1.57 million last year.

GM’s chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, said the company hoped to build on its progress in the North American region.

“We made gains in the third quarter as we improved our North American margins and increased our global share on the strength of the Chevrolet brand,” Akerson said.

GM said its market share in the United States slipped to 17.3 percent in the quarter, down from 17.6 percent a year ago.

Chrysler, the nation’s third-biggest carmaker after GM and Ford, said it earned $464 million in the quarter, up from $381 million in the same period a year ago.

The company said revenue increased 13 percent to $17.56 billion, up from $15.48 billion a year ago. Chrysler said it sold 603,000 vehicles worldwide during the quarter, an increase of 8 percent from the same period last year.

The strength of Chrysler’s sales was concentrated in its core market in the United States, where retail sales increased 16 percent. The company had an 11.2 percent market share in the United States, down slightly from 11.3 percent last year during the third quarter.

Chrysler’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, said the company’s gains were driven by sales of SUVs and pickup trucks.

“Chrysler Group’s ninth consecutive quarter of positive net income highlights our commitment to producing award-winning vehicles for consumers, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500,” Marchionne said.

Still, some analysts said Chrysler needed more new passenger cars in its lineup to spur additional growth.

“The company’s market share remains flat, and additional growth is hindered by a lack of new product for the Chrysler and Dodge brands,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst with the auto-research firm Kelley Blue Book.

The Italian automaker Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, is negotiating to buy the remaining shares from a health care trust for retired union workers in the United States.

At the request of the health care trust, Chrysler has filed for an initial public stock offering to allow the trust to sell some of its shares on the open market.