The old NASCAR adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” still temps modern automakers, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t immune to its spell.
After pulling out of stock car racing in 2012 to get its financial house in order, FCA now wants to see the Dodge brand back on the track.
According to Autoweek, Marchionne spoke with NASCAR executive vice-president Jim France about the possibility this past weekend.
Yes I’d love to,” Marchionne said on Sunday when asked whether he’d like to see Dodge return to the circuit. “I talked to Jim France about this just last night.”
Consider that exchange as FCA dipping its toe in the NASCAR pool. After declaring bankruptcy, and with the economic turmoil of the recession swirling, the automaker made the painful decision to pull out of NASCAR back in 2009. Marchionne claims that he’d like to take the plunge again, but hasn’t figured out the best way to return.
“I’m the one that made the decision to pull Dodge out,” Marchionne told Autoweek. “I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009 we came out of bankruptcy; we couldn’t (justify) racing in NASCAR when I was trying to pay bills and make payroll.”
The FCA boss said he pans to revisit to the issue “in short order.” France has confirmed that the sanctioning body is in talks to bring in another manufacturer, but isn’t willing to make an announcement just yet.
Returning Dodge to NASCAR is a loose end Marchionne would like to see tied up before his scheduled retirement in 2018. It could also return a bit of the exposure the brand has lost in recent years. As for whether we’ll ever see a compact or midsize Dodge again, well, that’s up to Marchionne (or his successor).