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Discussion Starter #42
Chrysler Reveals 5 Year Plan for Brands

Chrysler Reveals 5 Year Plan for Brands

05/07/2014

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The combined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is counting on expanding sales at Jeep, Alfa-Romeo and Maserati, a revival of the Chrysler brand, and some new vehicles to place it firmly in the top ranks of global automakers.

Italian automaker Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group, which formed a partnership five years ago and officially combined when Fiat finished buying Chrysler in January, jointly presented their future sales targets and product plans Tuesday in a day-long meeting at Chrysler's Michigan headquarters.


There are many new products, including a full lineup of cars from Alfa-Romeo, as well as some victims. Jeep is ditching the Compass and Patriot small SUVs in favor of a new compact SUV that will come out in 2016.

And to entice consumers to buy more Chryslers, the company must end its internal rivalry with the Dodge brand. So, after nearly 30 years on the market, the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan will be killed off in an effort to focus Dodge on performance cars and boost sales of the Chrysler Town and Country.

While the company won't officially be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles until a Fiat shareholders meeting this summer, the 400 analysts, media and other attendees at Tuesday's event were welcomed by a sign with the new company name at the entrance to Chrysler's sprawling campus north of Detroit.

Shares of the combined company are expected to begin trading jointly on the New York Stock Exchange and in Milan, Italy, by Oct. 1. It will be officially based in the United Kingdom, for tax purposes, but is retaining headquarters in Italy and Michigan.

Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the combined company wants to grow sales 60 percent to more than 7 million cars and trucks by 2018. Fiat and Chrysler sold 4.4 million cars and trucks last year, compared with 6.3 million for Detroit rival Ford. Toyota was the global leader with sales of 9.98 million vehicles.

"Today we stand before you as a global carmaker," Marchionne said. "Today is much more than a new chapter. We are beginning to write a completely new book."

Among Fiat Chrysler's plans:

— Chrysler will become the mainstream brand for North America, designed to compete with Toyota and Chevrolet. The Town and Country minivan will get an update and add a plug-in hybrid version in 2016. A new compact car, the 100, will compete with the Toyota Corolla, in 2016. A year later, a full-size crossover will be launched to compete with the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. The crossover will also come in a plug-in hybrid version.

Dodge will lose the Grand Caravan and the Avenger sedan and concentrate on being a sporty, performance-oriented brand designed to appeal to younger buyers. The SRT brand, which includes the Viper sports car, will be consolidated with Dodge and considered the "halo" of the Dodge brand.

Alfa-Romeo, which returns to the U.S. this year with the 4C sports car, plans to introduce eight vehicles globally by 2018, including small, midsize and full-size cars and two SUVs. Alfa CEO Harald Wester says the company will invest nearly $7 billion to develop and make the new vehicles. Alfa hopes to increase sales from 74,000 in 2013 to 400,000 in 2018.

Jeep sales are expected to top 1 million this year, and can grow to 1.9 million by 2018 with an aggressive global expansion, particularly in Latin America and Asia, the company said. A new compact SUV in 2016 will replace the Compass and Patriot, and the seven-passenger Grand Wagoneer will launch in 2017. Jeep currently makes vehicles at three plants in the U.S. By 2018, it expects nearly half of all production to come from plants in Latin America, Europe and China.

Fiat brand sales are expected to grow from 1.5 million in 2013 to 1.9 million in 2018. New vehicles will include a subcompact car and compact pickup truck for South America in 2015, the Fiat 500X crossover for North America in 2015 and a new Panda small car for Europe in 2018.

Maserati, which sells four cars now, will have six by 2018. As a result, Wester expects sales to grow from 15,400 in 2013 to around 75,000 in 2018. Sister luxury brand Ferrari expects sales to stay around 7,000, but could rise to as many as 10,000 if demand increases. "There are increasing numbers of people who can afford a car of this caliber," Marchionne said.


Read more: Fiat Chrysler to drop Dodge minivan in wider revamp - News - The Leader - Corning, NY
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Discussion Starter #43
Grand Cherokee SRT Will Live & 300 SRT8 Won’t Be So Lucky

Grand Cherokee SRT Will Live & 300 SRT8 Won’t Be So Lucky

05/07/2014

Our sources within the company tell us that the Grand Cherokee SRT will live on for the near future for a very good reason: It’s the bestselling model to wear the SRT badge. The 300 SRT8 won’t be so lucky. Sources today confirmed to Car and Driver that the 300 SRT will leave the building shortly. It appears that although the automaker is on a ruthless push to, as CEO Sergio Marchionne put it, “establish a clarity of brand positioning,” sales numbers are still the ultimate factor in deciding the fate of any given model.
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Discussion Starter #44
Fiat-chrysler’s five year plan

FIAT-CHRYSLER’S FIVE YEAR PLAN

05/08/2014

Yesterday CEO Sergio Marchionne laid out the next steps for the company and they’re pretty ambitious. There are basically five points to the plan.


First, they plan to put a lot more resources behind Maserati and Alfa-Romeo. Those brands will be built in Italy in underused plants to boost the company’s capacity utilization. The goal is to sell 75,000 Maseratis and 400,000 Alfas worldwide by 2018. In North America, Alfa is slated to get 8 models and a sales target of 150,000 cars and crossovers. In the U.S. both Alfa and Maserati will be sold in, and I quote, “the best Fiat dealers.”

Second, in Europe they will move the Fiat brand into more upscale products, namely CUVs and SUVs. But the company will not invest any money to try and grow Fiat’s market share in Europe. Instead, Fiat will concentrate on growing outside of the EU.

Third, and perhaps the most important part of the plan is to grow Jeep sales to 1.9 million vehicles by 2018. They’re going to build three Jeep models in China which is where most of that growth will come from. The Compass and the Patriot will be dropped in 2016 and replaced with a C-class SUV. And in 2018 Jeep will revive the Grand Wagoneer to push the brand further upscale.

Fourth, the goal is to hit 7 million vehicles in sales, including its existing joint venture partners, mainly in China. Sergio Marchionne says they can hit this number without taking on any other partners. Marchionne says, “If I can get to 6 million cars, it’s D-Day,” meaning the company can survive on its own. That would seem to squelch rumors that Fiat was looking to join forces with a Japanese automaker.

And the fifth step in the plan involves how to pay for it. Marchionne says Fiat-Chrysler will be able to generate all the cash it needs and will emerge as a debt free company in the next five years. By 2018 he wants revenue of $175 billion and a net profit of $7 billion.

Those are the five main steps, but there are a tremendous amount of other details. For example, the Chrysler brand will now become the company’s main mass market brand in North America, and will get a full lineup of products to compete effectively with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. That will include a plug-in hybrid version of the Town & Country minivan and a plug-in full size crossover. Dodge will focus primarily on muscle and performance. So the Avenger and Grand Caravan get axed. And SRT will no longer be a stand-alone brand. It gets moved back into Dodge. So yes, you can call it a Dodge Viper once again. And no more SRT Jeeps or Chryslers. Ralph Gilles, who had been running the SRT brand, will continue to head up Chrysler design and motor racing activities. The Ram brand, which has been wildly successful, does not change at all.

Once they hit their plan, Marchionne says he would like to spin Ferrari out and issue an IPO. He says Ferrari generates a billion in cash every year and half a billion in profits. And he scolded analysts who value Ferrari at $5 to $7 billion, saying its actually worth twice that. And he says if the company desperately needed money it could always do this sooner.

And finally, Sergio plans to hang around as CEO until the plan is successful. But he hinted that if the company hits the $7 billion profit goal ahead of time, that’s when he’ll step down.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Detroit, May 6 -

Newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is moving ahead as a global force, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said Tuesday as he unveiled the company's new five-year strategic business plan.
"Today we begin to write a new book, not just a new chapter," said the Canadian-Italian Marchionne, whose plan includes developments in the Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands as well in Chrysler's divisions.
"It's a big day," with a unified plan that represents a "courageous" break with the past for the former Turin-based Fiat and Michigan's Chrysler. The plan for 2014 through 2018 is designed to help the combined group, the world's seventh-largest, become a major global force in the auto industry.
That includes seeing Chrysler's popular Jeep division hit its target of selling one million vehicles in 2014, said the division's chief executive Mike Manley.
By 2018, the SUV-maker aims to be selling 1.9 million vehicles annually, more than double its 732,000 sold in 2013, according to the FCA industrial plan.
Meanwhile, Chrysler aims to more than double its current sales in 2018, brand CEO Al Gardner said. Driving the projected growth are two new models, the Chrysler 200, on the US market this year, and the Chrysler 100, available in 2016.
And Fiat aims to sell 1.9 million cars in 2018, up from 1.5 million sold last year, the Italian division announced.
Marchionne told shareholders in late March that he plans to see a combined output of more than six million autos per year by 2018.
He also said he expected to see FCA listed on New York's premier stock market before year-end and possibly as early as October.
By listing on the New York Stock Exchange, FCA would be more widely traded and better able to raise capital.
Marchionne hatched the audacious idea to take over the Detroit automaker after Fiat rescued bankrupt Chrysler amid the US economic crisis in 2009.
Five years later, Fiat finally gained full control of Chrysler in a $4.35-billion US deal with a United Auto Workers union healthcare trust approved early this year.
FCA has also become more global, with FCA's new headquarters in the Netherlands, its tax base in the UK, and it will be listed on the New York and Milan stock markets.
Despite that international reach, Marchionne has said that Fiat has not abandoned its roots in Italy.
Still, he remains concerned that Europe's auto market has not yet recovered from years of economic struggles that have contributed to six years of weakness in auto sales.
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Discussion Starter #46
Fiat’s fix-it man

Sergio Marchionne: Fiat’s fix-it man is out to prove he’s a car guy too
In his 10 years at the helm of Fiat SpA, Marchionne has turned the car-maker’s fortunes – but if he wants to boost sales further, he has to show he can build cars that people want


06/03/2014


Ten years ago, a sombre Sergio Marchionne stood in front of a crowded Turin press conference in a formal suit and dark tie to say that he would work hard to pull Fiat SpA back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Brought in by the controlling family hours after Chairman Umberto Agnelli had passed away, the chief executive officer faced losses at the automaker that had ballooned to more than €6 billion from 2001 to 2003. After returning the car giant to profit and completing the acquisition of Chrysler Group, Marchionne (61) marked his first decade as chief executive at the weekend and is again at a turning point, with some investors skeptical over his plan to boost sales 61 percent to 7 million cars in 2018.

To do so, Marchionne will have to prove that not only is he a talented dealmaker, he also knows how to build cars that will resonate with consumers. “The turnaround maestro, who saved Fiat and Chrysler helped by his financial skills, must now show, by making the right products, that he’s a ‘car guy’ too,” said Giuseppe Berta, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan who knows Marchionne personally.

Since taking over on June 1st, 2004, Marchionne has tripled revenue, operating profit and the share price. His goal now is to boost net income to about €5 billion euros in 2018 from the €904 million earned last year by selling more upscale vehicles, including new Alfa Romeo models built in Italy.

“I only have one objective: to bring that home,” Marchionne, who has long since ditched the formal suits for casual sweaters, said of the new strategic plan he announced in early last month. “It’s that simple,” he said, adding that he’d celebrate his 10th anniversary as CEO by “working”.

The Italian-born executive, who moved to Canada with his family when he was 14, is more recognised for the deals he sealed at Fiat, including a $2 billion pay-out from General Motors to exit a partnership in 2005, than for creating models. Helped by the GM deal, he managed to return Fiat to profit in 2005, his first full year as CEO.

The 500 is by far the most successful model introduction under Marchionne, with over 1.2 million sold since he brought back the iconic car in 2007. He’s also managed to boost the Maserati brand with the Quattroporte and Ghibli, which are helping the luxury brand more than double 2014 sales. Thus far, he hasn’t succeeded in rejuvenating Alfa Romeo, with models such as the Brera hatchback and the 159 failing to win over buyers.

Marchionne is now pushing the reset button on the marque, a key part of his 2018 plan, by dumping all its autos except one and starting fresh. He’s also reducing the Lancia brand to a single vehicle to be sold only in Italy, ditching the Delta hatchback and Thema and Flavia saloons.

“The industry, I don’t think, thinks of Sergio as a car guy and clearly he has had success as a turnaround leader,” said Jeff Schuster, an auto analyst with LMC Automotive. “That’s his forte: he’s a fixer. But I think he’s also maybe a closet car guy.”

By investing €55 billion through 2018, Marchionne’s goal is to boost sales and profit with more upscales models from Alfa Romeo and Jeep that will be sold globally. Fiat will invest €5 billion alone to build eight new Alfa Romeos in Italy as part of a strategy to boost the brand’s sales to 400,000 in 2018 from about 73,000 last year.

Marchionne has dismissed arguments that he’s not deeply involved in the models the automaker builds and said last week it will take time “for opinions to change” that his targets are achievable. “We are working our asses off for it,” he said. “Let me go work and I’ll try to make the guidance.”
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Discussion Starter #47
Fiat Chrysler will sell holdings worth $820 million to fund upscale shift

Fiat Chrysler will sell holdings worth $820 million to fund upscale shift

06/20/2014

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Fiat Chrysler plans to sell holdings valued at about $820 million, freeing up cash to invest in an expansion of its upscale brands.

The automaker will sell 3.5 percent of Fiat's shares as well as 2.5 percent of truck and tractor maker CNH Industrial NV to American investors, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters on Thursday in Basildon, England.

The effort would help build relations on Wall Street as the carmaker prepares to establish its primary listing in New York in the first two weeks of October following the formal creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The merged company is aiming to more than double profit and lifting annual deliveries 61 percent over the next five years.

Those targets are underpinned by a 55 billion euro investment plan that calls for expanding the upscale Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands as well as making Jeep a global nameplate.

In a sign of progress on the CEO's strategy, the Maserati brand will double its dealership network to about 500 by 2015 to sustain growth for models like the new Ghibli compact model, Harald Wester, the brand's chief, said in an interview on Thursday. The carmaker expects its expansion to help it match 2013's full-year deliveries of 15,400 vehicles already by the end of June.

Marchionne is also betting that a 5 billion euros ($7 billion) investment in Alfa Romeo will reverse a decade of losses and seven years of collapsing sales at the brand. The CEO plans to add eight new Alfas with the goal of boosting the brand's global sales to 400,000 vehicles in 2018 from 74,000 last year.

Fiat bought full control of Chrysler in January, with the merger part of Marchionne's decade-long effort to turn the Italian company into a carmaker big enough to challenge General Motors Co., Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor Corp.

Marchionne on Thursday also described how he planned to sell Chrysler's "Cinderella" story to U.S. investors.
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Discussion Starter #48
2018 Wrangler

Jeep says lighter and thriftier 2018 Wrangler will have its own platform

Could boast an aluminum body


07/02/2014

Jeep boss Mike Manley has shed some light about the next generation Wrangler set to arrive as a 2018 model year.

Unlike the Jeep Cherokee which was developed on a Fiat platform, the all-new 2018 Wrangler will get a proprietary platform as Mike Manley promises "there will be no compromises" and "it has to be its own architecture." The engineers will also focus on weight reductions and the model could end up boasting an aluminum body.

Thanks to what is believed to be a considerable diet, the next-gen Wrangler will be significantly more fuel efficient in order to meet more stringent federal regulations without having a negative effect on the car's versatile capabilities. Manley also said a "major focus" is on bringing engine improvements in order to create a product that will "push the benchmark even further."

Source: edmunds.com
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Chrysler shifts to Fiat platforms, adds mpg

Chrysler shifts to Fiat platforms, adds mpg

09/01/2014


In the next four years, the Chrysler brand and Jeep lineups will expand, Dodge's will contract and all Chrysler Group vehicles will go farther on a gallon of fuel.

The automaker's five U.S. brands -- Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat -- will benefit from new, more efficient engines that are under development.

A revamped 2.0-liter inline-four engine, code-named Hurricane, promises improved power and fuel economy for the automaker's smaller vehicles. Meanwhile, improvements coming to the Pentastar V-6 engine family will provide smaller displacements and better fuel efficiency in larger vehicles.

By 2018, almost all front-wheel-drive-based Chrysler Group vehicles will come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission, while rear-wheel-drive-based large cars, crossovers, SUVs and pickups will stay with an eight-speed automatic.

Today, Chrysler has regained much of its pre-bankruptcy market share with just a few new vehicles and well-received upgrades of existing ones.

The company will continue to move vehicles to Fiat platforms and eliminate segment duplication across its brands.

To keep pace with ever-tightening fuel economy requirements, Chrysler will adopt electrification, offering a plug-in hybrid minivan for the first time and a plug-in hybrid crossover.

Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler is likely to get an aluminum body to shed weight and improve fuel economy.

Pickups and SUVs will remain key to the company's sales goals, and the Ram and Jeep brands will continue frequent product upgrades.

In North America, Chrysler and corporate parent Fiat believe they can grow their sales volume by roughly 1 million vehicles to 3.1 million annually by 2018.
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Discussion Starter #50
Next-Gen Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

Next-Gen Chrysler Town & Country Minivan to Spawn a Plug-In Hybrid Variant

10/06/2014


Although the Dodge Grand Caravan won't live on for a new generation, the Chrysler Town & Country is going to receive a plug-in hybrid model in late 2015. That's a year early compared to what the carmaker indicated during the May 6th Investor Day event.

This bit of information follows Sergio Marchionne's declaration at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, during which the Fiat Chrysler helmsman told the next-gen Chrysler Town & Country's development is roughly "95 percent" finished and the new model will be on sale in the following "24 to 30 months." According to the two reports, the new Town & Country is going to hit dealerships by the end of 2015 as a 2016 MY.

As for the plug-in hybrid variant of the people carrier, Chrysler officials present at the Paris Motor Show hinted it will use a traditional layout consisting of an electric motor and a gasoline internal combustion engine. Moreover, Chrysler's brand head Al Gardner dropped a curious bit of info earlier this year, declaring that a Chrysler-badged PHEV minivan could achieve the same fuel economy as the Prius PHEV.

That may translate to 95 MPGe rating (or 75 MPGe according to a previous report) and a combined fuel economy figure after the battery runs out of juice of 50 mpg, but this plug-in hybrid layout begs the question just how much space will be taken by the the large battery pack, electric motor and others.

A raised boot floor or a deleted third row of seats come to mind, but fingers crossed the men and women engineering the upcoming 2016 Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid won't sacrifice too much space to the detriment of PHEV modifications.
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Discussion Starter #51
Maserati sees sales topping 35,000 this year

Maserati sees sales topping 35,000 this year

10/06/2014


PARIS: Maserati expects to sell more than 35,000 cars this year and reach its 50,000 sales target in 2015, subject to the availability of a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) to be launched late next year, the head of the brand said.

“For the end of the year we will be significantly beyond 35,000, but not beyond 40,000,” Harald Wester said. Maserati sold 15,400 vehicles in 2013.
Wester said the brand was still on track to launch the much awaited Maserati Levante SUV by the end of next year.

It plans to build at least 25,000 of the Levante per year from 2016.
The revival of the luxury Maserati brand is a key part of owner Fiat’s drive to return to profit in Europe, along with the relaunch of the Alfa Romeo marque.

Maserati’s product offensive is the most ambitious yet for the Italian brand founded a century ago in Bologna by five brothers and which Fiat bought in 1993.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Paris auto show, Wester said the idea of keeping annual Maserati sales capped at 75,000 — a level it hopes to reach by 2018 — still stood, but he “would not be dogmatic about it.”


“The core of the message was: Maserati will remain an exclusive brand,” he said.

“We will not offer a product below the Ghibli (sedan), we will not compete on price as other people are doing. Volume is not the most important parameter for the business.”

He said the number of dealers selling Maserati products would grow by another 100 from the current 354 by the end of 2015 and that should be sufficient to sell the product, even at future levels of around 75,000.

The brand’s current line-up includes the four-door GranTurismo sedan, the Quattroporte and the compact, lower-priced Ghibli.

After the Levante SUV, the company has promised the Alfieri, a sporty two-seater, which will also come in a cabriolet version.

The US remains Maserati’s main market, closely followed by China, which is also the biggest market for its Quattroporte model.

Wester, who also looks after Alfa Romeo for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, said the company would “work very hard” to get close to last year’s sales figures for the sporty Alfas of 74,000.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Wrangler could have an aluminum body?

10/06/2014

The man in charge of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said the company might consider moving production of the Jeep Wrangler out of Toledo.

But he indicated that a different vehicle would likely be built at Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex.

Sergio Marchionne, speaking at the Paris Auto Show, said the next Wrangler could have an aluminum body and be built off a unibody platform, according to Automotive News.

“If the solution is aluminum, then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive,” the magazine quoted Mr. Marchionne as saying. “It would be so outrageously expensive that it would be impossible to try and work out of that facility.”

The next update for the Wrangler, which is built only in Toledo, is due in 2017.

Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, a former Jeep worker and union leader, and a veteran of previous efforts to retain Jeep manufacturing in Toledo, said he was surprised by the announcement but was confident the city would be able to accommodate any technological innovations needed to build the Wrangler.

“It’s not the first time we’ve heard these announcements. They told us in ‘97 the old plant couldn’t be converted to build a new car. We built a new plant,” Mr. Gerken said. He said that was followed by a campus.

“If there’s new technology we’re the place to launch it,“ he said.

Mr. Gerken was hired on the Jeep assembly line in 1976, was elected to union leadership in 1983 and retired in 2006.

Bruce Baumhower, the president of United Auto Workers Local 12, which represents the Toledo Jeep workers, said he felt "extremely betrayed" by Mr. Marchionne's comments.

"There's no solution under which you can take the Jeep Wrangler out of Toledo," Mr. Baumhower said.

Mr. Baumhower said Chrysler could build an aluminium Wrangler in Toledo, and that the union would do what needs to be done to ensure that the next generation of Wranglers is built in Toledo.

The Wrangler is "our bread and butter, the one that made the Jeep name famous," Mr. Baumhower said. "It's the one that won World War II."

Chrysler, like other auto companies is trying to meet stricter U.S. fuel economy rules. One way to do that is to make vehicles lighter. Ford Motor Co. this year announced that its redesigned F-150 pickup truck will have an aluminum body.

Mr. Marchionne seemed to indicate that if Wrangler production were to be moved elsewhere, the Toledo plant would get another product.

“One of the things that we are dealing with now is what else do we do with Toledo that fulfills our commitment to the city and to Ohio. I don’t have a doubt that there will be zero impact on head count and employment levels and anything else,” Mr. Marchionne said.

The Toledo plant also builds the Jeep Cherokee.

The Cherokee and Wrangler were the best-selling Jeeps in the United States in September.

Chrysler officials have been working for the past couple years to find ways to produce enough Wranglers to meet demand.

Read more at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles considering moving Jeep Wrangler production out of Toledo - Toledo Blade
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Marchionne ‘done’ after 2018!

Fiat, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne ‘done’ after 2018

10/08/2014

CEO of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC Sergio Marchionne plans to step down at the end of 2018 after completing a five-year turnaround plan for the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

Marchionne, 62, told Bloomberg Businessweek that he will "undoubtedly do something else” once the plan, outlined earlier this year, has run its course.

“I am not going to do any more turnarounds,” he told the weekly business magazine. “I’m done; let some of the young punks do it.”

When presenting the new five-year business plan on May 6, Marchionne said he would remain the CEO through at least 2018.

Since taking control of Fiat in 2004, Marchionne is credited with resurrecting the Italian automaker and orchestrating the complete acquisition of Chrysler that led to the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is expected to come to fruition Sunday.

FCA was announced by Marchionne in January following Chrysler becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiat after a $4.35 billion deal with the United Auto Workers union trust fund that pays health care bills for retirees, which owned a minority stake in Chrysler following the auto bailout.

FCA common shares, as previously announced by Marchionne, are also expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the Italian stock market on Monday.

SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Marchionne Promises Not To “Screw Up” Ferrari

Marchionne Promises Not To “Screw Up” Ferrari DNA Despite Increasing Production

10/15/2014

Almost immediately after it was announced that current Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne would be replacing longstanding Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, there were fears production would be ramped up and the exclusivity of the brand tarnished. It was a policy of di Montezemolo to limit Ferrari sales to around 7,000 annually to preserve the brand’s exclusivity and raise prices of both new and used models, but Marchionne is of the belief that strong demand from the growing number of millionaires and billionaires around the world should be met.

Naturally, dealers and existing owners have had some concerns. Increased production is likely to have an effect on prices of used models and with supplies increased Ferrari dealers, notorious for some of the most exorbitant markups in the industry, will likely have to be a bit more accommodating to customers.

Speaking with CNBC at an event in Beverly Hills over the weekend celebrating 60 years of Ferrari sales in the U.S., Marchionne reiterated that Ferrari is likely to produce more cars to keep up with demand but promised to ensure the brand’s status and DNA are preserved.

"You've got to be careful about limiting the ambition of Ferrari because its customer base is an expanding customer base," Marchionne said. "The business itself is in good hands with FCA, as long as we don't screw up the DNA of Ferrari."

Other concerns about Marchionne’s leadership is the possibility that Ferrari may launch its own IPO or even be sold, though this is unlikely despite Marchionne’s own comments that there are very little synergies between Ferrari and the rest of FCA.

"I think that we are good holders of the assets," he said. "The fact that I have come over as chairman goes to the level of commitment that we have made to this business."

Ferrari is expected to produce 7,200 cars this year and Marchionne has said in the past that ramping production up to 10,000 units annually was possible.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Jeep Wrangler will remain body-on-frame vehicle

News report says Jeep Wrangler will remain body-on-frame vehicle
That would make it possible to keep building it in Toledo


10/23/2014

Chrysler officials have decided that the Jeep Wrangler will remain a body-on-frame vehicle, which would make it possible to keep building it in Toledo, Automotive News reported today.

The Automotive News article cited unidentified sources.

The future of the Wrangler, which is built only in Toledo, has been in doubt since Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said earlier this month that the company was considering a switch to unibody construction for the Wrangler. That would make it difficult to keep Wrangler production at the Toledo Assembly Complex, Mr. Marchionne said.

Chrysler has considered using aluminum on the next Wrangler, which is due in 2017. The Automotive News story said that decision still hasn't been made.

Read more at News report says Jeep Wrangler will remain body-on-frame vehicle - Toledo Blade
 

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Alfa Romeo expansion on track

Alfa Romeo expansion on track, Fiat Chrysler executive says

11/20/2014

LOS ANGELES (NEWS.GNOM.ES) – The sporty Alfa Romeo brand’s growth into one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ main global brands, along with an imminent U.S. relaunch, is on target, its North American chief said at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.

Reid Bigland, who also heads U.S. sales for the Chrysler Group, said FCA’s commitment of $6.5 billion to revamp Alfa Romeo makes the company’s lofty sales goal announced earlier this year “achievable.”


The first shipment to the United States from Italy of 54 of the Alfa Romeo 4C, a niche sports car, was sent last week, Bigland said. They will be the first Alfa Romeos sold in the U.S. market since 1996.

The 4C will be followed by a line of Alfa models to be sold in larger numbers, but Bigland would not talk about the timing of future models.

In May, FCA announced that Alfa sales would increase more than fivefold to 400,000 vehicles by 2018, and that North American sales would go from nearly zero to 150,000. A relatively small number of Alfas have been sold in recent years in Mexico, but none in the United States or Canada.

Alfa plans to introduce eight new models by 2018. It is to become, along with Jeep, one of FCA’s global brands.

FCA has previously said that the next new Alfa model will be introduced in mid-2015, but Bigland declined to say when it would reach the United States or give details about the model.

The 4C will launch with versions priced around $70,000. A base model that costs about $55,000 will be available later.

Bigland said that about 82 Fiat or Maserati dealers will initially sell the Alfa 4C in the United States, along with two in Canada. The sales outlets will increase to a total of 120 by the first quarter, and 200 by the end of 2015.
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Discussion Starter #57
2018 Jeep Wrangler to Gain Eight-Speed Auto

2018 Jeep Wrangler to Gain Eight-Speed Auto


11/24/2014


Jeep’s off-road enthusiast focused Wrangler SUV will be significantly more fuel efficient for the 2018 model year.

The iconic utility vehicle is slated to be fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission that will ease its fuel consumption. Chrysler currently uses the same transmission in the Ram 1500 pickup truck, the Dodge Durango SUV and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. Jeep hasn’t officially announced the change, but a filing with the SEC originally reported by Automotive News is tipping the brand’s plans.


According to the filing, Jeep expects the Wrangler to return nine percent better fuel economy when equipped with the eight-speed than it currently does with a five-speed automatic. Currently the five-speed automatic Wrangler is rated to return 17 MPG in city driving and 21 MPG on the highway.

The Wrangler is slated to be re-designed for 2018 with an aluminum body that will also enhance fuel economy. Chrysler needs to improve average fuel economy across the Jeep line and a smaller displacement engine than the current 3.6-liter V6 will be necessary to do so in the Wrangler, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has said.

Other efficiency-minded changes are afoot at Chrysler. The company plans to produce its next-generation plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivan at its Windsor, Canada assembly plant.
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Pentastar V-6s to get turbos and direct injection

Chrysler Pentastar V-6s to get turbos and direct injection, sources say

December 8, 2014

DETROIT -- Chrysler Group is improving its Pentastar family of V-6s, adding direct injection, turbocharging and other technology to enable smaller displacement engines to power its vehicles.

The Pentastar Upgrade -- or PUG for short -- is part of a strategy to meet tightening corporate average fuel economy standards. Sources say the improvements will boost output and increase fuel economy on the V-6 engines that power most Chrysler vehicles.


Also possible as part of the improvements: the potential for turbocharging what are now naturally aspirated engines. Meanwhile, Fiat's MultiAir variable valve timing technology will remain, sources say.

The first improved 3.6-liter V-6 is scheduled to debut in late 2015 as part of a freshening of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, sources say. A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment on the Pentastar Upgrade project.

Another example will be the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country minivan, due in 2016. Chrysler sources say the new minivan will be powered by an improved 3.2-liter V-6 instead of its current 3.6-liter V-6.

The improved 3.2-liter V-6 will be combined with a nine-speed automatic transmission, as it is in some versions of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee. The powertrain combination, better aerodynamics and weight reductions are expected to boost the minivan's fuel economy at least 25 percent over its current EPA fuel economy rating of 17 mpg city/25 highway, the sources said.

The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 was introduced in 2010 on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Chrysler Group has spread the 3.6-liter across most of its lineup, including its top-selling products such as the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Depending on the added efficiency engineers are able to achieve, the improved 3.6-liter engine could help the Ram 1500 regain the gasoline-powered fuel efficiency crown it lost last month to a turbocharged version of the 2015 Ford F-150.
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Jeep expected to meet Marchionne's 1 million sales goal

Jeep expected to meet Marchionne's 1 million sales goal

01/06/2015

Jeep likely met Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Sergio Marchionne's ambitious goal of selling 1 million vehicles in 2014.

The automaker has not announced its global year-end sales, but barring any unforeseen shipping or production disasters, Jeep topped the 1 million mark for the first time in the brand's history.

"The market, globally and locally, has gone SUV crazy," said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book senior analyst. "And Jeep is arguably the strongest SUV brand in the world."

Through November, Jeep sales were at 920,294 globally, including 629,074 sold in the U.S. With sales of 63,274 domestically and 4,888 in Canada in December, FCA needed to sell about 11,550 Jeeps outside of the two countries to hit 1 million.


Jeep sales outside the U.S. and Canada averaged about 20,500 a month heading into December.

FCA is expected to release its global Jeep tally this week. In 2013, the automaker announced global Jeep sales three days after its U.S. and Canadian sales.

Marchionne announced the 1-million sales target for Jeep last January during a press conference at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Automotive analysts at the time called the goal ambitious but attainable, given the growing popularity of sport and crossover utility vehicles and Jeep's momentum and new offerings in the marketplace.

In the U.S., the Jeep Grand Cherokee remained the brand's best-selling vehicle at 183,786 in 2014. The midsize Cherokee, in its first full-year of sales, followed at 178,508 — bypassing the popular Wrangler (175,328), Patriot (93,462) and Compass (61,264) SUVs.

2014 marked the fifth consecutive year of increased Jeep sales, both globally and in the U.S. It also was Jeep's third consecutive year of record global sales. Previous records were 731,565 in 2013 and 701,626 in 2012.

The Cherokee, Brauer said, is "undeniably" a success for FCA: "It's a total home run for them," he said. "It's really the perfect vehicle at the perfect time."

Perfect time is right. U.S. sales of SUV and crossovers surged 11.8 percent to 5.38 million last year compared to 2013, according to AutoData Corp. That's about 33 percent of the 16.52 million cars and trucks sold in the U.S.

Globally, sales of the Cherokee and all-new Renegade were expected to particularly help Jeep hit its sales goal during the last three months of the year. The midsize Cherokee gained incremental sales in China and Europe, and the subcompact Renegade arrived in European showrooms in October.

"It's been a lot of hard work and a lot of fun to go and try and get that goal," Jeep Marketing Director Jim Morrison told The Detroit News in October. "We're on track and we need to keep the momentum for the balance of the year in order to obtain the 1 million goal."

The Renegade is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms by February — helping Jeep continue its momentum into 2015.

The Renegade, built in Italy, is a major example of Marchionne's global ambitions for Jeep. It is the only Jeep to ever be exclusively manufactured outside the U.S. and the brand's first subcompact vehicle.

More Jeep vehicles are expected to start being produced outside the U.S. in coming years to meet local demand.

Jeep, through a joint venture with Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., has already announced localized production of three Jeep models for China by late 2015.

As part of a five-year plan announced by Marchionne and
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Discussion Starter #60
20 new models by 2016

Fiat Chrysler plans to sell 20 new models by 2016

01/17/2015

Fiat Chyrsler will boost spending in the next two years as the carmaker plans to sell 20 new models by 2016, including the Maserati Alfieri sportscar and two new Alfa Romeos.

The carmaker’s investments “increases to a peak in 2016 to support the heavy cadence of the new and refreshed product program,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Saturday in a presentation made to investors at Bank am Bellevue seminar in Flims, Switzerland, posted on its website.

Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne targets to boost sales by 60 percent to 7 million cars in 2018 as the carmaker plans to invest 48 billion euros ($55.5 billion) to expand Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep into nameplates that can attract customers from Beijing to Berlin to Boston. In doing so, Marchionne is seeking to forge an automaker that’s big enough to challenge General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.

Marchionne is boosting spending as FCA sees “positive industry outlook” in every region next year, including an increase of Brazilian and European markets, according to the presentation. The carmaker expects industry deliveries of cars and light commercial vehicle in Europe, Middle East and Africa to increase to 21.7 million next year from 21.3 in 2014. Fiat sees an expansion of the EMEA market by 2.9 percent a year to 2018, according to the presentation. The outlook is also positive for North America and Asia.

The carmaker, created last year by the merger of Fiat SpA with its U.S. unit, plans to boost sales to over 5 million cars in 2015, Marchionne said Jan. 12 in Detroit. It’s adding over 1,000 new workers at the Italian plant which builds the Jeep Renegade to meet demand for the small SUV.

Fiat Chrysler may return to profit in Europe by 2016 as it cut costs and sells new models, Marchionne said Jan. 13 in Detroit. The automaker, now based in London, moved its listing to the New York Stock Exchange from Milan in October.

To sustain the investment plan, Marchionne plans to raise about $5 billion in a strategy which includes the spinoff of its Ferrari supercar division and the sale of a 10 percent stake in the unit next year. Fiat reiterated today its plan to reduce net industrial debt by 4 billion euros with its funding strategy.
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