DETROIT: Chrysler today reported third-quarter profits nearly double those of a year ago, riding continued strong sales of minivans, pickups, and sport utility vehicles. Net earnings for July through September were $680 million, well surpassing Wall Street expectations and boosting stock prices 621/2 cents to $32.371/2 a share by midmorning on the New York Stock Exchange. General Motors is set to report earnings Tuesday, followed by No. 2 Ford on Wednesday. Currently the third largest U.S. automaker, Chrysler hopes to make a strong sales run in the coming weeks with industry leader G.M's. production threatened by a lengthening strike of auto workers at its Canadian plants. While layoffs have been avoided at GM for another few weeks, cuts in production appear imminent, and Chrysler executives are primed to make a run up the ladder. Layoffs resulting from the strike continued to spread Monday, with 5,911 workers affected at assembly and parts plants in the United States and Mexico. As the G.M. strike wears on, look for the two runners-up to step on the accelerator to try to fill the void.