Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will focus on Jeep, Ram, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo over the next five years, according to CEO Serio Marchionne. Marchionne was speaking to shareholders today in Italy where he laid out his vision for the company's future. During his address he did not mention either Chrysler or Dodge and the brands at all.
The fact that Chrysler and Dodge were omitted underscored concerns about those brands and whether they will have a place in the company's future. Yesterday there were reports Chrysler might be axes altogether, but Marchionne stopped short of doing that, at least for today. There has been speculation of either severe trimming of the brands or of possibly getting rid of the Chrysler brand, which would not be difficult to do considering Chrysler really only has the "300" and the "Pacifica" minivan under its name plate.
There has also been speculation that Fiat sales in North America might end, and the speech from Marchionne today did nothing to put those ideas to rest.
An order for 64,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Autonomous Mini Vans from FCA Partner WAYMO is a big boost for Chrysler though, and will help keep the mini-van assembly line running for a while.
The company revealed details about its plans in presentations at the Balocco Proving Grounds in Italy. Marchionne is serving his last year as CEO and many are watching closely for clues about who his successor might be and where the company will head once he is no longer at the helm. Marchionne is getting ready to retire and the groundwork he is laying now will in large part dictate the future for the next half decade.
"At FCA, we've learned to live with uncertainty and we are prepared to face any challenge," Marchionne said at the outset of the meeting.
Marchionne is betting big on the electrification of FCA vehicles, He says the company will spend $10.5 billion between now and 2022 to develop more electric and hyrbrid vehicles across teh FCA vehicle lineup.
The focus will be on Jeep which is currently the company's most profitable line. Much of the new Jeep production is centred in Mexico. The Jeep plan includes 10-hybrids and four fully electric Jeeps by 2022. Electric options will be available across the entire FCA vehicle spectrum by 2021.
Mike Manley of Jeep and Ram says the company is aiming for two new-vehicle launches per-year worldwide as FCA looks toward making Jeep the domnat utility vehicle brand in the world. The goal is to sell 1-in-every-12 utility vehicles by 2022, with an ultimate goal of selling 1/5 of all utility vehicles. Manley says FCA also has a goal of increasing production capacity by 500-thousand during the same period in North America.
Marchionne surprised many when he showed up wearing a tie, which he said he would put on when the company had paid off all of its debt He says the company is now positioned to eliminate its industrial debt this year.
President Trump recently said Marchionne was his favorite auto industry CEO because he announced FCA will move Ram Heavy Duty production from Mexico to Detroit. Marchionne also led FCA out of Chrysler's financial crisis during the Great Recession back to profits in 2017.
Big plans and future focused on trucks, SUV's and the growth of Maserati and Alfa Romeo, but no mention of Chrysler or Dodge. So in the midst of a grand new plan for FCA the Chrysler brand with its 90-year legacy in the auto industry still faces an uncertain future. - SST Car Show News
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