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Adapt or Die Is Marchionne’s Stark Farewell Message to Carmakers

January 15, 2018

Sergio Marchionne, one of the longest-serving CEOs in the automotive industry, has a blunt warning: Carmakers have less than a decade to reinvent themselves or risk being commoditized amid a seismic shift in how vehicles are powered, driven and purchased.

Developing technologies like electrification, self-driving software and ride-sharing will alter consumers’ car-buying decisions within six or seven years, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV chief executive officer said in an interview in Detroit, ahead of this week’s North American International Auto Show. The industry will divide into segments, with premium brands managing to hold onto their cachet while mere people-transporters struggle to cope with the onslaught from disruptors like Tesla Inc. and Google’s Waymo.

Marchionne reckons, for example, that by 2025, fewer than half the cars sold will be be fully combustion-powered, as gas and diesel give way to hybrid, electric and fuel cell drivetrains.
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