On Friday, at its test track in Balocco, Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed its bold new plan for the future.
Back in 2011, when Fiat launched the electric Fiat 500 in the U.S. to keep regulators happy, Sergio Marchionne expressed a desire that no one buys a 500e because, even with a £30k price tag, the electric Fiat 500 would cost Fiat £10k every time one was sold.
The 65-year-old Italian-Canadian has said his successor as CEO will come from within the company, but won't be named before next year.
As for a new Viper, despite our boisterous boosterism, Marchionne said, "It's not in the plan", noting that the model never sold well or made much money. Indeed, FCA's financial presentation indicated plans to devote only about a quarter of product-related capital expenditures from 2018-22 on all three entities combined, versus almost half of all capital expenditures earmarked for Jeep.
The Fiat brand appears far from done yet, at least from a global standpoint.
"Compliance will drive higher levels (of electrification)", Manley said.
There's no sugarcoating the fact that Fiat has not performed well in the USA, and Marchionne admitted this. The company said that it had achieved most of the financial goals it had set for itself since the merger in 2009.
Santander Consumer scheduled a conference call for noon Eastern time on Friday to discuss its talks with Fiat Chrysler.
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Fiat Chrysler also expects to have net cash on the balance sheet by the end of June and said it intends to start paying a dividend equal to around 20 percent of earnings. Also sales for the Italian brand are now in the doldrums with only 1860 units sold previous year.
FCA announced a plan to bring US financial services in-house, as well as aggressive targets for expanding Jeep, whose roots date back to World War Two and which has become FCA's ticket to creating a high-margin brand with global appeal. FCA sold 97,287 Jeep vehicles last month, accounting for a year-over-year sales growth of 29%. Marchionne's "wild guess" was that Jeep sales could double by then. Jeep will also stop selling diesel vehicles in Europe.
Last year, US auto sales fell 2 percent after hitting a record high of 17.55 million in 2016. The initial aim was to hit that target this year, but the revamp was affected by design and technological hiccups and the brand has yet to turn a profit. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol "FCA".
FCA retooled some US plants to boost output of lucrative SUVs and trucks, while ending production of unprofitable sedans.
The move prompted the company to eliminate the margin gap with its biggest USA rivals GM and Ford and now Europe is the focus of investors. Marchionne said the new objective is to become the most profitable USA auto company. "The last point being pertinent in the world of future "mobility", Evercore ISI analysts wrote in a note. The company's quarterly revenue was down 2.5% compared to the same quarter previous year.
Marchionne had been keen to secure a tie-up for the manufacturer to produce electric cars, but with such a deal failing to materialise, Fiat Chrysler is now having to produce its own products.
FCA has an ambitious-perhaps too ambitious-plan for Alfa Romeo.