By on May 7, 2019

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.  (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2019

Image: FCA

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.  (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2019

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

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. (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2018

Image: Maserati

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.

(Read More…)

By on October 1, 2018

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. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2018

2019 Ram 1500

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?

(Read More…)

By on July 25, 2018

Image: FCA

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. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2018

Image: FCA

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.

(Read More…)

By on May 24, 2016

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV at LAAS2015 with Reid Bigland

Look up, waaaay up.

Human redwood and former Canadian junior hockey star Reid Bigland adds yet another set of responsibilities to his resume thanks to an executive shuffle at FCA.

Bigland replaces Harald Wester as CEO of both Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands effective immediately, though Wester retains his Chief Technology Officer position with the group. Both men will continue to sit on the Group Executive Council, which has increasingly insulated Sergio Marchionne from regional brand operations.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2015

Marchionne - Picture courtesy theglobeandmail.com

Like Al Pacino in “The Godfather 2,” Sergio Marchionne’s move to insulate himself further and tap future successors has claimed another victim. On Monday, former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich resigned from the automaker, days after he was replaced as head of Fiat by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.

Stoicevich was a longtime FCA employee, heading up the automaker’s California sales office and former head of Jeep operations before that.

His departure is the latest in a company-wide shakeup to consolidate most North American brands between fewer brand chiefs.

(Read More…)

By on August 2, 2015

1438207098198

The court case against former FCA Australia executive Clyde Campbell is turning into a veritable who’s-who of decision makers at the company, reports The Age.

Campbell, who is charged with misappropriation of $30 million AUD of company funds, claims he had verbal permission from recently departed FCA executive John Kett, current company hotshot Mike Manley, and head of FCA Sergio Marchionne.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2015

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Front-Three-Quarter2

Are you ready for a hybrid Jeep Wrangler? The 2017 model may likely be just that to help the icon navigate through tighter fuel economy standards.

(Read More…)

By on January 15, 2015

Jeep Wrangler Eliminator

The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch.

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2014

1978-jeep-wagoneer

Town & Country PHEVs not your bag? Jeep’s Mike Manley might have a Grand Wagoneer waiting for you in late 2015 for the 2016 model year.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2014

5-2013-wrangler-rubicon-10th-anniversary-anvil

With more SUVs preferring the high street over muddy, rocky trails, Jeep boss Mike Manley plans for the next-generation Wrangler to better compete against these soft-roaders while still maintaining its Rubicon cred.

(Read More…)

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