By on March 10, 2009

“I think the first duty of a leader is to keep his company in the black. To accept—and announce—at the beginning of the year that you will lose money is the worst sign of leadership you could give to your troops,” Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne tells Automotive News Europe [sub]. “Car markets have gone from bad to horrible so far this year, but I will fight like hell to keep Fiat Group Automobiles profitable in 2009. Running an automaker these days is like driving in dense fog. You have just 100 meters of visibility so you must continuously adapt to what you suddenly face. Nevertheless, I refuse to accept even the idea that our auto operations will lose money.” Man, is he going to love working with Jim Press.

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13 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: The Truth Is Marchionne On Edition...”


  • avatar
    Mr. Sparky

    “Wacky” Marchionne… “Krazy” Jim Press… Nice to meet you.

    Have you ever met “Maximum” Bob? That guy was nuts!

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I want to know what these auto execs are smoking, because apparently it’s some goooood shit! At least GM knows they’re losing their ass, and only a few years too late to do anything about it! Anyway Sergio, puff-puff, give.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Yes! How irresponsible is it for the CEO of a publicly traded company to announce projections for financial performance based on market conditions. No wonder GM is in trouble! They just keep telling people they are, and THAT’S the problem.

  • avatar
    peoplewatching04

    It’s nice to hear an auto executive talk about “being in the black” instead of sidestepping the issue with talk of “PERCEIVED QUALITY” and “FLEET SALES” and other pointless chatter.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I have mixed opions about this statement. On the one hand, Mr. Marchionne is endorsing the performance standard by which he will be judged with a clear and unequivocal statement. I can respect that.

    On the other hand, that particular performance standard (short term profit maintenance) can be rightly critcized as an incentive for short-sighted management solutions (cough…GM). I can easily imagine several circumstances where a large company, with huge overhead and capital requirements, could benefit long-term from an intenional foray into the red. Making a habit of that practice would obviously not be a good thing though.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I respect Marchionne for saying this. After watching Red Ink Rick for so long, I forgot that there are some true leaders in the auto industry, instead of just a bunch of greedy check cashers.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The Fiatsler deal is far from done.

  • avatar

    During times of uncertainty, fortune favors the bold. R

    Rock on Sergio!

    I want a Dodge branded Fiat 500.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    If only Chryco can survive long enough to benefit from an alliance with Fiat………….

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Hey I like this guy. And here I thought all Euroweenies were a bunch of Commies.

  • avatar
    carmad

    jkross22:
    How irresponsible is it for the CEO of a publicly traded company to announce projections for financial performance based on market conditions.

    Well, is there any other way? CEOs and everybody else take the market and the conditions THEY think will happen with it in the future, and calculate their resulting interactions and their financial consequences.
    After all, financial projections are only the assumptions on the future calculated as consequent financial performance. Market goes down, sales go down, variable costs go down, fixed costs remain and profitability suffers. Little you can do except lower fixed costs, always difficult, or increase sales. No science here.

    There is no honest way to calculate the future’s financial situation of a company without starting with the state of the market. Even governments do it, the budget starts with an assumption on tax revenue and a deficit goal, then which expenses will happen and which will not. Tax revenue are market conditions.

  • avatar
    happy-cynic

    He is showing something we have not seen from too many executive on the west side of the Atlantic. In particular about driving in fog. Our executives will blame everything but themselves.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    This guy will be moving to VeeDub before this said prophecy will materialize. but looking at it from an Un-sarcastic view if everyone thought that way, the auto industry wont be in the fix it’s in today… American auto folks have resigned to the idea because it’s inevitable, whereas in Europe i think the situation is not as dire because collective cock-ups were kept at a minimum through the years.

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