It’s been a good day for drama, what with GM losing its CFO, Saab’s principals turning on each other, Carlos Ghosn showing the first signs of losing his grip on his global empire, and Rs and Ds battling over GHGs. But what today was missing in the drama department was a spat between two legitimate stars, a throwdown featuring the hot young celebs of the automotive world. Well, thanks to ASCA.it [via Carscoop], we have it. Speaking to the Italian press, Ford CEO and industry darling Alan Mulally took on Fiat-Chrysler’s up-and-coming global starlet, the Fiat 500, bashing its chances of success in the US.
Mulally also talks of competing with Chrysler and about the market prospects of the Fiat 500 in the United States, provides: ”I do not see big market space for one car in the U.S. more ‘smaller Fiesta.” He added: ”Who has tried has failed.”
Presumably Mulally was comparing the 500 to Daimler’s Smart brand effort, in which an established automaker attempted to bring a new brand and a premium A-segment city car to the US and failed badly. And Mulally isn’t just idly speculating either: if he thought a sub-sub-compact car would sell profitably in America he’d bring Ford’s Ka, which is built on the same platform as the Cinquecento, here and make a fight of it (hell, it’s already appeared in a Bond movie). And with Chrysler’s plan to sell 55k Fiat 500s in the US this year already “a little bit behind,” it seems Mulally’s skepticism may be well-placed.