Tag Archive | "Fiat"

Fiat and Chrysler Weave Operations Together

In November, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told an audience of reporters and analysts in Auburn Hills, Mich., that “Chrysler and Fiat have become inextricably intertwined.”

On Wednesday, he will reveal just how interconnected the two carmakers will be in the coming years, reported Automotive News.

Wearing his hat as Fiat CEO in Turin, Marchionne will unveil a five-year plan for the Italian carmaker. The Fiat plan calls for broad cooperation between Fiat and Chrysler in many operations, such as manufacturing, marketing, sales and finances.

Marchionne has the companies working together in ways that luxury carmaker Daimler AG never dreamed of in its troubled decade-long marriage to Chrysler.

“With Daimler, there was never a real chance to have an integrated pair of companies,” said David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Daimler was scared to death of having Chrysler taint Mercedes. 
There are great possibilities between Fiat and Chrysler. They’re in same price classes.”

On Wednesday, Marchionne and his team are expected to announce these developments:

  • Near-luxury brand Alfa Romeo will build a mid-sized sedan and station wagon in the United States at Chrysler factories. The debut of the Alfa Romeo Giulia in 2012 would mark the return of Alfa to the United States after a 17-year absence.
  • Using the same Compact Wide architecture underpinning the Giulia, Alfa also will build a large crossover.
  • The Chrysler and Lancia brands will share platforms. For example, Lancia will get a version of the Chrysler Sebring replacement due later this year and a version of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
  • A small Fiat car with four doors and styling similar to the 500 will be sold in the United States in 2013.
  • A possible Fiat compact sedan that will be imported from a Fiat joint venture factory in Serbia for sale in the United States. If approved, it will arrive in 2013.
  • A Fiat-badged version of the Dodge Nitro SUV will be sold in Europe by the end of this year.

During the presentation Wednesday, Marchionne and his lieutenants are expected to give updates on the financial performance of Fiat and Chrysler. Sales targets for 2014 for the combined companies are expected.

The companies have combined in other areas too. Olivier Francois is running both Chrysler and Lancia brands and acts as global marketing chief for both Chrysler and Fiat.

On the manufacturing front, Chrysler’s North American factories will build as many as 400,000 Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands by 2014.

Marchionne’s plan calls for reducing the number of platforms used by the two automakers and producing sufficient vehicles on each platform to gain economies of scale.

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Fiat May Make Chrysler Revival a Priority

Fiat, the Italian carmaker that helped Chrysler emerge from bankruptcy, may wait to turn around the U.S. business before deciding on a share sale or spin-off for its automotive division, Bloomberg News reported.

The Italian company’s stock has risen 21 percent this month on speculation that CEO Sergio Marchionne may carve out Fiat’s biggest unit as a new company. Fiat executives have so far sent mixed signals about whether an initial public offering of the division will take place.

A separation of the auto manufacturing operations, which generated 56 percent of Fiat’s revenue last year, would give Marchionne an entity to facilitate future alliances, and a share sale would generate cash for international expansion.

The maker of Puntos and Ferraris must show progress at Chrysler, of which it owns 20 percent, before convincing investors to buy shares in the unit, said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Jose Asumendi.

“Fiat has too much on its hands right now to think about a possible spin-off,” said London-based Asumendi, who advises holding Fiat’s stock. “The priority is to resurrect Chrysler, make it profitable and repay its government loans.”

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Fiat CEO: Chrysler-Fiat Integration Moving Forward

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday that a new Chrysler plant that will build Fiat engines in southeastern Michigan represents “a huge step forward” for the integration of Chrysler into Fiat, reported The Associated Press.

Marchionne told an investors conference call that the investment would bring Fiat’s 1.4 liter, four-cylinder engine technology into the United States, and that would mean that Fiat can bring those engines into Brazil without duties. Fiat has a large auto business in Brazil.

Marchionne is steering the turnaround of Chrysler, becoming CEO of the U.S. automaker after Fiat took a controlling share in Chrysler in June.

Chrysler is investing $179 million in the Dundee plant near Detroit, which is expected to begin production of the engines in the fourth quarter of next year. The engine will power the Fiat 500 minicar, which will be made in Mexico and go on sale in the United States by the end of the year, and will eventually replace engines in other Chrysler vehicles.

Marchionne told a Fiat analyst conference call that the Chrysler investment is not big but “it is a huge step forward in terms of the integration of Chrysler into Fiat.”

Michigan was competing with Saltillo, Mexico, for the plant.

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Marchionne Says Fixing Fiat Was Bigger Challenge than Chrysler

Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said he is more optimistic about the company’s recovery than he was about rebuilding Fiat SpA when he joined the Italian automaker in 2004, reported Bloomberg.com.

Chrysler beat its target for $5 billion in year-end cash, Marchionne said, giving a range between that figure and $6 billion while declining to be more specific. U.S. sales fell 36 percent in 2009, the most of any major automaker.

Marchionne, 57, cited the risk of the collapse of Turin, Italy-based Fiat almost six years ago as making that automaker’s turnaround more difficult. He became CEO of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler in June when Fiat took a 20 percent stake as the U.S. company left a government-backed bankruptcy.

“Fiat is much larger than Chrysler,” Marchionne said. “I didn’t have the U.S. Treasury there to cut me a check and keep me in business.”

Marchionne has promised to repay government borrowing by 2014, three years ahead of schedule, while more than doubling global sales and integrating Fiat and Chrysler products, Bloomberg.com reported.

Fiat, Italy’s largest automaker, faced the prospect of failure when Marchionne took over in 2004 as the company headed for a fourth straight annual loss. He negotiated a $2 billion settlement with the former General Motors Corp. to end its obligation to buy Fiat and completed a debt-for-equity swap.

Shares of Fiat have gained 78 percent since June 1, 2004, when Marchionne was named CEO.

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Chrysler and Fiat Could Have Separate CEOs Within Two Years

Sergio Marchionne, who runs Italian automaker Fiat and U.S. carmaker Chrysler, said he expects to divide his leadership role at the companies within two years, reported the Associated Press.

Marchionne, installed by the U.S. government as CEO of Chrysler Group LLC following the automaker’s emergence from bankruptcy in June, said he was working “24-7” to manage the transfer of technologies from Fiat Group SpA to Chrysler, a key piece of the U.S. company’s revival. He declined to elaborate, but indicated he would not keep running both companies simultaneously for an extended period of time.

Marchionne attempted to keep expectations in check, telling the think tank audience that Chrysler’s recovery will be gradual and his leadership team was “not planning miracles” but committed to bringing “rapid change” to the automaker. He said Chrysler broke even in September and October and was dedicated to a five-year plan to overhaul the automaker’s vehicle lineup and double sales.

He credited the Obama administration with pushing the U.S. auto industry to restructure itself and said European nations need to do more to reduce overcapacity in the industry. In Germany, for example, he said not a single plant had been closed since World War II despite significant technological advances in recent decades.

Chrysler has received roughly $15 billion in aid from the U.S. government and through early November, the Auburn Hills, Mich., car company still had about $9 billion of the funds available. Chrysler has said it intends to repay the loans by 2014.

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Marchionne: Fiat Cannot Match Chrysler Margins

MILAN – Fiat SpA will not be able to reach an operating margin of 7 percent to 7.7 percent targeted by sister carmaker Chrysler because Europe has not cut capacity, CEO Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News.

Marchionne, who leads Fiat and Chrysler, expects the two carmakers to reach 5.5 million car sales a year “certainly before 2014,” with half from Chrysler, in which Fiat currently has a 20 percent stake.

He said the Chrysler brand and Fiat’s Lancia marque will function as one brand in the future.

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