Fiat Chrysler CEO rules out breakup from his legacy

In Detroit, Marchionne says the automaker has no intention to sell brands to China. He says his successor will be announced after the release of the new plan in June
AP

Sergio Marchionne in Detroit


Pubblicato il 17/01/2018
Ultima modifica il 17/01/2018 alle ore 16:22

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is not considering selling brands to China or other parties. FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, who is leaving the Italian-American carmaker next year, dispelled any doubt about the intention of the Italian-American group to remain independent. «We are not going to break up anything», Marchionne told reporters at a news conference at the Detroit auto show. The future of FCA as a standalone company has been under scrutiny especially after a failed attempt to talk to General Motors in 2015 and denied reports last August of an interest from Chinese group Great Wall Motor and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor. Speculation about an investment by Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) also surfaced.
 

«We have no intention of breaking it up and giving anything to the Chinese», the top executive said, adding that GAC is «a very good partner» of FCA in developing the Jeep brand in the Chinese market. He said the two groups are talking about «if and how» FCA can help GAC enter the US market. «None of these things are designed to impact on the independence of FCA», Marchionne said. The Italian-Canadian manager, who turned around Fiat Group and was instrumental in its merger with bankrupt US peer Chrysler in 2009, said his successor will be announced after the new strategic plan to 2022 is unveiled by the end of the first semester of this year (likely on June 1).  


In outlining a future of continuity for FCA, Marchionne said his successor will come out of the “ranks” of managers who have worked on the new plan, and added it will not be a woman. The priority for FCA will continue to be its financial health, the executive said, adding that the group expects to erase debt and have cash on hand this year. «Every indication that we have as of today is that we are going to be debt free by the end of 2018 if not earlier, probably by June, I hope», Marchionne said. «It’s important that this philosophy continues (…). We owe it to our people. That is not negotiable», he said.
 

Marchionne said the development of the Alfa Romeo brand is still «in nursery» and confirmed plans to spin off automotive supplier Magneti Marelli later this year. He said repatriating manufacturing of Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks from Mexico was a «proper» decision given the risks of an eventual withdrawal of the US from the North American Free Trade Agreement. «We have done the right thing by the American market, by the US consumer, and we have addressed the Mexican concerns by providing a platform for global distribution. The package works,», he said. Asked about the future of electric vehicles, Marchionne said electrification will likely become more of a regular feature in Europe than in the United States because of their different emission regulation. 

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