martedì 6 maggio 2014

Marchionne says five-year plan for Fiat Chrysler courageous

Jeep division on course to sell one million vehicles in 2014

(ANSA) - 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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