By on March 30, 2010

Poor Sergio Marchionne… the man can’t go anywhere without being interrupted. The Fiat/Chrysler CEO’s speech today in the buildup to the New York Auto Show was interrupted twice, once by the the ubiquitous Teamster protesters, and once by a test of the hotel’s fire alarm system. But then, maybe people would let him speak if he had more to offer than the same lukewarm assurances that everything is going marvelously in Chrysler-land. The Detroit News summarizes his speech by saying Marchionne believes Chrysler will sell the 1.1m vehicles in needs to break even this year, and that it will do so without getting pulled into an incentive war.Which would be hard to do anyway, considering Chrysler spends more on incentives at “normal” levels than any of its competitors.

Marchionne apparently did not say anything about fleet sales though, which is understandable considering at least 50 percent of Chrysler sales to date in 2010 are said to be profit-sapping fleet sales. But then, there’s only so much Sergio can do anyway; he revealed today that he has 78 people reporting directly to him between Fiat and Chrysler. Besides, we don’t have to believe anything. If sales for March fall below 95k units (which will be released later this week), Chrysler will officially be falling even further behind its sales targets. Without a serious short-term turnaround, there will be no break-even this year, and Chrysler’s entire five-year turnaround plan could be called into question. Whether Sergio wants to get in front of that information early, or let it continue to hurt his credibility is entirely his decision.

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7 Comments on “Marchionne: Chrysler Will Break Even This Year. Really....”

  • avatar

    Given the magnitude of incentives that Chrysler throws down for retail sales, one wonders if their fleet sales aren’t actually more profitable.

    One also wonders if it’s possible to run a successful car company using nothing more than Photoshop, Powerpoint and press conferences.

    Maybe Marchionne plays his cards close to the vest, but there has been precious little at the major car shows this season to suggest that anything much is going on at Chrysler beyond some new trim packages. Developing new cars takes time, of course, but time is not on Chrysler’s side.

  • avatar

    I think the only way Chrysler will break even is if they stop making and selling vehicles.

  • avatar

    The last time TTAC printed the incentives of the major automakers Chrysler was NOT spending the most. Look it up. It wasn’t that long ago. Has it changed recently? I don’t know, but the tone of the post suggests it has always been this way.

  • avatar

    Signore Marchionne should have bragged about the Caliber and Patriot being among the finalists in Ward’S 2010 INTERIOR OF THE YEAR awards.

    The former is competing in the “popular-priced cars” segment, the latter in “popular-priced trucks.”

    This, despite the fact both are, in fact, cars.

  • avatar

    You might want to check the Edmunds site again. While Chrysler is listed first, it’s incentives are actually $46 less than GM ($3,434 to $3,388). Granted, $46 is about 1.4% of the total, but it’s something…

  • avatar

    Excerpt from; “A Year in Transformation,” delivered by Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne at the NADA/IHS Global Insight Automotive Forum 2010, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square in New York City.

    Some maintain that a transatlantic alliance is destined to fail, that Chrysler won’t succeed in Americanizing Fiat and that Fiat in turn won’t be able to take over Detroit.
    And they might be right, if that were our intention.
    But the relationship is about partnering, not patronizing.
    It’s about listening, not dictating.
    Any alliance forged across cultures must be — because attempting to impose answers across cultures doesn’t just fail. It antagonizes. It builds higher walls.
    By contrast, tearing down walls — an imperative on which not just the future of Fiat and Chrysler but the survival of our entire industry depends — demands humility and patience, learning and listening.
    It requires that each partner put national pride aside and seek to gain a deeper understanding of the other’s culture, tastes and expectations.
    That approach doesn’t always yield immediate results.
    But the results that are achieved will be longer lasting.
    And that is what we aspire to with the Fiat-Chrysler partnership.

    We have no intention of wasting this opportunity.
    In my office in Auburn Hills, I have a poster with an excerpt from the President’s speech on April 30th last year, announcing the partnership between Fiat and Chrysler.
    It contains the words President Obama used to underscore Chrysler’s place in the American identity and to commit, in front of the entire nation, to giving it a new lease on life.
    That poster and the words on it provide me with a daily reminder of the immense effort that the U.S. government has made.
    And I am constantly mindful of the responsibility that we have.
    Personally, I am convinced that the commitment and energy that a challenge of this kind inspires, the passion that comes from knowing we are part of an historic undertaking, do more than compel us to maintain every one of our promises.
    They also cause us to grow as leaders and individuals and they give deeper meaning to our lives.
    Thank you all.

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