By on February 1, 2016

car-brands

FCA’s sweater-in-chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn around the debt-laden and ailing automaker: stop building cars that lose money. That sounds like common sense, so long as oil prices stay low and the demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remains high.

But that plan introduces a new set of problems, chief among them the fact that ditching the car market leaves FCA exceptionally exposed to future volatility in oil prices. Crude prices affect prices at the pump, which affects the demand for certain types of vehicles. Sergio is betting oil prices will stay low by focusing on vehicles with ever-increasing price tags and ever-growing gas tanks.

Still, there will always be some demand for small cars. It was true in 1950 and it is true today. So what will Mr. Sweater do to meet that demand? Simple: he’ll buy those vehicles from another automaker and badge engineer them the old-fashioned way.

(Read More…)

By on January 27, 2016

FCA_Location_1_Torino_Lingotto_high

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday said the automaker would rely more heavily on profitable Jeeps and Rams in North America and Europe to help its business remain profitable in other sagging areas and regions.

“We are not of the view that this industry is facing an impending demise,” Marchionne said before announcing FCA’s adjusted earnings of $1.78 billion in the fourth quarter.

Marchionne and CFO Richard Palmer said Jeep’s success in North America and Europe led the company last year and would be the “bedrock” for the automaker’s future. The automaker laid out specific plans to bring forward a Jeep pickup and Wagoneer, and let wither less-profitable models such as the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

Jeep-Renegade-19

On Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will update investors on his long-term plans and fourth-quarter profits — namely, how many Jeeps it sold — during his scheduled earnings conference call.

It’s widely expected that Sergio will address the near-certainty that Jeep will build a pickup based on the Wrangler, as well as the future for the Jeep Compass that’ll likely survive from the Patriot/Compass twin billing, and Jeep’s potential to keep afloat fledgling FCA brands such as Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

Analysts say FCA’s ambitious target of $5 billion profit by 2018 would be almost unattainable at this point.

“‘Ambitious’ is not really an adequate word to describe it, ‘fantasyland’ might be more appropriate,” Bernstein’s Max Warburton told Automotive News.

(Read More…)

By on January 14, 2016

2014 SRT Viper GTS

The reports of the Dodge Viper’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. If I can borrow a concept from William Goldman, it appears that the Viper is only mostly dead.*

Back in October, when the labor agreement between the United Auto Workers and FCA was hammered out, there was a flurry of reports stating the Dodge Viper was bound for death. That was based on a contract that indicated Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly, where the Dodge Viper is hand-built, had no products planned beyond the life cycle of the current Viper model.

At the time, I said that while the news didn’t bode well for Dodge’s V-10 supercar, the death of the Viper wasn’t certain. Now, at a press conference at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that “there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface.” (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2016

jeepgladiatorconcept

If there was any confusion about Chrysler’s plans to build a pickup variant of the Wrangler, something for which Jeep fans and car enthusiasts in general have clamored, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne cleared it up at a press conference at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Marchionne unequivocally stated the automaker will be making a Jeep with a bed, probably by early 2018.

Jeep last sold a pickup truck, the Comanche variant of the XJ Cherokee, in 1992. The last time they sold a CJ based pickup was in 1986, with the CJ-8 Scrambler.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2016

Sergio Marchionne. Photo courtesy Toledo Blade.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne told Bloomberg on Monday that his company likely wouldn’t merge with another automaker before his tenure is up in 2018.

The chief executive publicly courted General Motors in 2015 to merge two of the Big Three. GM CEO Mary Barra publicly refuted that partnership, and Marchionne seems to have gotten the hint.

“I met Mary Barra less than a month ago in Washington,” Marchionne told Bloomberg. “I don’t think I will have another coffee with her. It won’t happen again in the future.”

(Read More…)

By on December 3, 2015

Sergio Marchionne at the Italian Embassy in DC Circa February 2012

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t attempt to takeover General Motors anytime soon, FCA chief Sergio Marchionne told investors Thursday according to Reuters.

Speaking following a shareholder meeting, Marchionne said that finding a partner for FCA wasn’t “life or death” for the automaker group. Reportedly, FCA will delay launching several of their cars — including the Alfa Romeo Giulia for six months — as the automaker shores up its $52 billion investment plan.

“We are not choking. We are in relatively decent shape,” Marchionne said.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2015

Anthony Foxx + Barack Obama et al

Auto executives from nearly every major U.S. automaker met in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss safety, recalls and technology with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Automotive News reported.

Senior executives from 15 automakers, including General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn and Nissan North America boss Jose Munoz, met to address Foxx’s concerns that “the public has lost faith in the auto industry’s commitment to safety,” according to a letter obtained by Automotive News.

The recent snowballing recall crises at GM, FCA and other automakers concerning Takata’s airbag inflators prompted the meeting, according to reports. A spokesman for the Transportation Department said the meeting was “very productive.”

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

150624_Alfa-romeo_Giulia-Reveal_01

Alfa Romeo will delay two models critical to that brand’s comeback and will likely miss its ambitious sales target of 400,000 cars by 2018, according to Automotive News.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said a weakened market in China forced the brand to reassess its sales target, which he initially set in 2014.

“I still think that Alfa belongs in China,” Marchionne said last week during the company’s announced third quarter earnings call, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.” (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2015

Sergio Marchionne - FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne rang the opening bell Wednesday for Ferrari’s first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange and shares of the supercar maker soared.

The stock, which was up as high as $60 per share, leveled off around $57 in mid-day trading.

“This is not really a car, it’s a unique expression of art and technology,” Marchionne told Bloomberg.

(Read More…)

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