General Motors saw half of its wishes granted this week, after an appeals court overturned an order by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman for the CEOs of GM and Fiat Chrysler to meet and settle their differences in person.
GM is suing FCA, accusing its crosstown rival of racketeering and claiming it lost billions of dollars via FCA’s bribing of UAW officials in return for a series of favorable, low-cost labor agreements. The General wants to go all the way with its case, but Borman stepped in, calling the suit a “nuclear” option. The in-person meeting is now off the table, but Borman’s still on the case.
The Board of Directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has elected Michael “Mike” Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as its new leader. Tapped to replace PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares as chairman on January 1st, Manley is currently engaging in some mobility related foreplay to get us hot and bothered.
“As an industry we want to take the lead in transforming mobility in a way that puts the consumer first, but also enables us to remain globally competitive and resilient,” Manley said in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, the ACEA’s stated priorities for the coming year revolve around “developing a pathway for the transition to carbon-neutral road transport, while ensuring the economic sustainability of the European auto sector.” Presumably, those are goals shared by the English businessman who’ll be taking the reins in 2020 — but he’ll have to manage environmental progress with market realities while doing so.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley said the automaker will not have to pay fines for failing to meet the demands of tightening European air quality regulations. But that’s not because the automaker is actually going to adhere to them. FCA has been pretty open in explaining its willingness to simply endure fines or, conversely, buy enough carbon credits to circumvent the issue entirely. And, over the next two years, the latter strategy will be how it copes with the EU’s pollution mandates.
It’s not ignoring efficiency, however. FCA still plans on releasing an improved Fiat 500 BEV while expanding its hybrid offerings via the Jeep brand this year. It’s just easier (and cheaper) to buy credits in advance, knowing the manufacturer will need them.
Maserati posted an ugly financial report for the second quarter of 2019. Revenue was down 40 percent, resulting in a loss of $132 million before interest and taxes. The good news, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is that the brand will become profitable once new product hits the ground.
The bad news? None of those vehicles are scheduled to arrive until after 2020, meaning Maserati probably won’t see any improvements until sometime afterward. FCA CEO Mike Manley has already said the rest of 2019 will be ugly for the brand, though he remains hopeful that the 10 new or refreshed vehicles the premium nameplate had in the works would help it turn a corner.
Maybe that’s a dated reference in this age of smartphones and [s]hookup[/s] romance apps. Regardless, the list of potential partners for a prowling Fiat Chrysler doesn’t begin and end with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
Oh sure, it wouldn’t mind getting down to business with the French-Japanese auto giant, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea. FCA knows it’s a catch, and wants to put Renault on notice that it has plenty of choice in who it goes home with.
Maserati promises it will steer clear of widespread electrification. And yet, it’s unclear whether this is part of a bold corporate strategy that sees electrification as the less-promising path forward, or simply the result of the brand’s current financial situation.
Regardless, the firm’s North American leader, Al Gardner, says it’s not in the cards. While Maserati fully intends to insert more plug-in vehicles and hybrids into its lineup by 2022, it vows to stop short of killing the internal combustion engine. Of course, we know that’s a promise no automaker can expect to keep indefinitely. All it takes is one important change in management to readjust a brand’s corporate trajectory, but Maserati appears safe from total electrification for the time being.
With Sergio Marchionne gone, most assumed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would swiftly enact the late CEO’s plan to convince another automaker to partner with the company. Until recently, FCA was viewed as a dinosaur within the industry — limping along since its Fiat acquisition with a lineup of unpopular European imports and oversized American vehicles that couldn’t possibly endure tightening fuel regulations.
However, the reality turned out to be quite different. While Fiat’s volume in the U.S. fell from its 2014 peak of 46,121 units to just 15,521 deliveries in 2018, Dodge and Chrysler managed to endure their losses more gracefully, cutting less-profitable models from the lineup and focusing instead on larger vehicles requiring less pricey R&D. Meanwhile, Jeep rose like a phoenix from the ashes — with its annual volume going from 231,701 deliveries in 2009 to last year’s 973,227 units.
Between last month’s Detroit show and the ongoing Chicago vehicle extravaganza, pickups trucks currently occupy about 93.7 percent of the average American’s mind. While your author can easily visualize himself in a 2020 Subaru Legacy, that AWD sedan is certainly not the buzz generator in anyone’s social circle.
Mike Manley knows trucks, as his company owes its profitability to the vehicle type. Speaking this week during a fourth-quarter earnings call, the Fiat Chrysler CEO said his team learned its lesson on how to launch the things, with the botched roll-out of the 2019 Ram 1500 providing a valuable lesson on what not to do with the 2019 Ram HD.
Manley had plenty to say about those lessons, as well as the upcoming Jeep Gladiator and a yet-unrealized vehicle he’s pushing to build.
Earlier this year your humble scribe was in the Detroit suburbs to drive a whole bunch of Maserati and Alfa Romeo product at an event that was separate from and yet still part of Fiat Chrysler’s annual What’s New media-drive event.
That sounds contradictory, so let me explain. The two Italian luxury brands were showcased separately from the others, with a separate dinner and a separate drive. The drive took place not at Chrysler’s venerable proving grounds in Chelsea, but across the metro area in Pontiac, at a small private racetrack. The focus of that day was almost exclusively on Alfa and Maserati products.
It was clear that FCA was trying to bring the brands further into the corporate fold, while also associating them more closely with each other, since both are supposed to offer luxury and performance.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley just can’t keep his hands off the Jeep brand. In his first management reorganization since assuming the top position in July, Manley placed the responsibility for key FCA brands in trustworthy hands, though the CEO seems reluctant to part ways with his beloved Jeep.
Prior to becoming CEO, Manley headed up both the Jeep and Ram divisions. Now, Tim Kuniskis will add the Jeep North America file to his responsibilities, maintaining his grip on the Alfa Romeo brand. Given that there was no mention in Manley’s letter to employees of who’ll oversee Jeep’s global operations, it is assumed the chief executive will continue nurturing FCA’s most valuable asset on the world stage.
After the sudden illness of industry titan Sergio Marchionne in late July, Fiat Chrysler enacted some quick changes in order to name a new CEO. Mike Manley, who had helmed powerhouse FCA brands, was installed into the role on July 21st, just four days before Mr. Marchionne’s passing.
Reuters reported this morning that Manley will announce his new team during an event towards the end of this month. Until now, little else has been said about the remainder of FCA’s management roster. In a post-Sergio world, who will head up each of the company’s brands?
Former Jeep and Ram boss Mike Manley was a top choice among the candidates competing to succeed Sergio Marchionne, but no one could have expected his ascension to the CEO’s chair would occur in such a sudden, tragic manner.
During his first earning call, Manley was forced to address not just his predecessor’s death — which occurred mere hours before investors, analysts, and journalists picked up the phone — but also the automaker’s slipping grasp on the Chinese market. FCA’s revenue and net income took a haircut in the second quarter of 2018. The company’s share price plunged in the wake of news of Marchionne’s death. And, last but not least, there’s tariffs flying left and right, cutting into the automaker’s earnings — indeed, the company has already readjusted its earnings forecast downward.
Some first week on the job.
While the automaker hasn’t made anything official, sources tell Automotive News Europe that Jeep and Ram brand boss Mike Manley is Fiat Chrysler’s chosen successor to the ailing Sergio Marchionne.
The report follows this morning’s news that Marchionne has experienced complications from shoulder surgery, and that the boards of FCA, Ferrari, and CNH Industrial have reportedly assembled to replace him as CEO by end of day Saturday.
Update: Fiat Chrysler has confirmed the change via a press release. Mike Manley has been named CEO by the board of directors, and the board will propose that he be elected to the board and executive director of the company at a forthcoming shareholder meeting. The board has granted Manley the full powers of CEO in the interim. — Managing Ed.