Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne repeated its pleas that European governments should do something about the overcapacity in the region. Being in Shanghai when he said that, he recommended that the Chinese government does the same. The governments likely won’t be enthusiastic about Sergio’s advice.
“There is a demand-supply imbalance in Europe, and that needs to be addressed, which has been the reason why I have advocated European Union intervention. Somebody needs to control the process whereby this gets done before we end up creating nationalistic responses that are ultimately going to run right in the face of rational economic choices.”
Marchionne has been demanding that European carmakers take an equal haircut in capacity, something that had been roundly opposed by other EU carmakers, especially those in Germany. Brussels also has shown the cold shoulder to Marchionne’s suggestions. In the meantime, manufacturers like Ford started reducing capacity without government aid.
Overall car sales in Europe in 2012 are expected to be around 12.5 million vehicles, the lowest level since 1993.
Marchionne also suggested that Beijing should streamline its fragmented car industry that suffers from overcapacity and declining growth.
Marchionne repeated his old prediction that after a round of consolidation, only five or six global auto makers would remain. “I think you want at least one of those players to be Chinese,” he told the Chinese audience.
China currently has more than 100 carmakers. In 2011, some 50 carmakers made most of the 80 million automobiles built worldwide. Fiat recently opened a new plant in Chongqing, China, and is planning a few more for the coming years.