A common complaint among the Best & Brightest is that certain consumer oriented publications don’t get the Jeep Wrangler. America’s sports car, as Enzo Ferrari once labeled it, is unfairly docked for performing poorly on-road, without taking into account that its mission is to excel off-road. Even though I’ve driven off-road precisely twice in my life, I decided to get to the heart of the matter.
At this week’s FCA investors conference, the floor was opened up to a Q&A session for journalists and equity research analysts. One scribe asked FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne about the prospect of a mid-size pickup, and Marchionne’s answer confirmed what many of us already knew.
Wednesday marks the 16th anniversary of the Daimler-Chrysler merger. One day prior to this milestone, Fiat Chrysler has unveiled their business plan for the next 5 years. While the industry norm is to keep future product plans, brand strategies and sales targets as a closely guarded secret, FCA took the unusual step of making it all public, with FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne headlining the event (billed as a conference for investors) at an event in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Each of FCA’s brands and subsidiaries was given the chance to present their strategy through 2018, with healthy helpings of new vehicles, future technology and corporate strategy being revealed.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday used as an excuse by Americans to drink margaritas and eat bad Tex-Mex. But tomorrow, Fiat Chrysler will unveil their next five-year plan, which should clarify the many contradictory product plans being touted by both FCA execs and the media.
While the Canadian International Auto Show is little more than a blip on the radar of the global auto community, this year’s keynote speaker was none other than FCA head Sergio Marchionne gave the keynote address. Marchionne, who immigrated from Italy to Toronto at the age of 14, joked about returning to his “hometown”. Autos.ca managed to film the speech in its entirety, and you can see both parts here.
Sergio Marchionne and crew surprised everybody by using the Super Bowl to premiere a long form ad (below) for the new Maserati Ghibli. One might question the wisdom of using the “big game” to promote a niche brand, but Sergio says he wants to sell 50,000 Maseratis a year and the Ghibli, which starts at ~$65,000, is a big part of that plan, so putting the entry level Maser in front of the biggest tv audience of the year makes some sense. The thing is that the ad is one of those that’s heavy on the stirring dramatic and philosophical voiceover and not quite so product intensive. You don’t get to see the actual car until more than a minute into the 90 second spot and then it flashes on screen for less than 10 seconds. The Ghibli site and configurator apparently crashed earlier under Super Bowl levels of traffic, but as of the middle of the third quarter of the game, it’s up and running. In case it crashes again, and you’d like to see what the Ghibli looks like, you’re in luck. (Read More…)
Though Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had previously said that an initial public offering of Chrysler stock could take place by the end of 2013, the Italian automaker announced that stock sale will not take place before the new year. “The Board of Directors of Chrysler Group … has determined that it will not be practicable for Chrysler Group to launch and complete an initial public offering prior to the end of 2013,” Fiat said in a statement.
The Christmas season would be a reason to be merry, would it not be for Hugo Chavez. More details about his expropriation threats emerge. Turns out, Chavez did not just threaten to kick out Toyota for being lackadaisical in the production of “rustic” vehicles.
“President Hugo Chavez told foreign automakers Wednesday to share their technology with local businesses or they will be told to leave the country,” writes the Boston Globe. Chavez gave the ultimatum in wholesale fashion to Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Fiat. Implied, the ultimatum is also meant for Fiat-controlled Chrysler, for Mitsubishi, Mack and Fiat-owned Iveco. All of the above have production facilities in Venezuela. All are at risk of instant deportation. (Read More…)