CEO Sergio Marchionne presents 5-year business plan
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will brief the press today from 11AM EST - 6PM EST at the Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, MI on his 5-year business plan for the oft-embattled automaker. Follow along with us after the jump as we Live Blog the proceedings.
to follow Live Blog after the jump.
UPDATE: 12:45 - They've paused for an hour-long lunch. We'll be back live-blogging the presentation when they return at 1:45PM EST.
UPDATE: 1:50 - We're back from lunch!
UPDATE: 3:30 - About to come back from a 25-minute coffee break.
UPDATE: 5:45 - That's it, the marathon press conference has concluded.
10:55AM Great report
from Automotive News about Fiat's presence at Chrysler HQ before the start of today's event. Ashtrays, cappucciono machines and a special authentic Italian lunch!
11:02AM Show's about to start!
11:05AM Chairman Robert Kidder introducing Sergio Marccione. Says we probably don't know him because he hasn't been in any TV commercials. Take that, GM!
11:07AM FYI... we're not at the event in person (don't ask), but we're following it live online and keeping an eye all over the internet for news relating to it.
In fact, we're able to look through the slide show online and found this...
11:12AM Ralph Gilles takes the mic for Dodge, and he's not wearing a tie apparently.
11:13AM Gilles: Sergio has breathed life into our company.
11:14AM Gilles talking about his life that lead him to this point and how excited he is to be at Chrysler at this point, the good and the bad that happened in prior years.
11:15AM Gilles: There's no greater motivator than the sting of failure. That's a lot of motivation!
11:15AM Says new obsession with quality will soon put them on par with best in the world. Consumer Reports might have something to say about that.
11:17AM They're showing video now for the Dodge brand that we online can't see. Based on the '70s soundtrack, that might be a good thing.
Gilles talking about Ram brand and separation from Dodge brand.
11:19AM This is the new Dodge logo.
"All Dodge vehicles represent lifestyles, not age groups or price classes."
New repositioning of Dodge brand slide above.
11:23AM Talking about lifestyle oriented models rather than base, mid and top level trims.
11:24AM Gilles: Going to put every vehicle through a "filter" to fix things fast as possible.
11:24AM They will fix the fundamentals, retune the driving experience and technology that enhances efficiency and performance... easy to say.
11:25AM Caliber getting all new interior, new colors, wheels, repackaging and repositioning.
11:25AM Avenger: New interior, new engine, refreshed exterior, improved NVH, comfort, convenience performance and fuel economy.
11:26AM Journey: New interior, new engine, refreshed exterior, better NVH, comfort and convenience, performance and fuel economy.
11:26AM Caravan: New interior and exterior face lift, new engine, complete suspension retune, best in class ride and handling, NHV, comfort, features, performance and fuel economy.
11:27AM New stuff: New C segment sedan from Fiat for North America, new B segment hatch and new D segment sedan to replace Avenger.
11:28AM 11 products all-new or significantly refreshed by 2014
11:29AM Viper: 500 to be built between January and July 2010 before production ends while new version being built with help from Fiat and its brands.
11:30AM Viper will be back in 2012, fyi.
11:31AM Dodge talk over, Doug Betts on mic talking about Quality now.
Lots of funky slides with weird shapes and colors to communicate that Chrysler quality has sucked recently. Like this one...
11:34AM We can tell Mr. Betts really likes PowerPoint.
This next slide is Chrysler trying to explain why they do so poorly in Consumer Reports, apparently because they only look at a three-year window.
11:39AM Drowning in graphs and Mr. Betts' circular logic.
11:40AM Chrysler has changed its standards for quality of fit and finish to match Fiat's, which are higher.
11:40AM Customer Promoter Survey started - "Would you recommend us to your friends, and if not, why?"
11:41AM Survey results go straight to dealers, starts day after car is bought and goes out to 5-year-old cars.
11:42AM We're taking this time for a potty break, we suspect Mr. Betts will still be speaking when we get back.
11:43AM Now he's talking about improving quality for new model launches. They're going to implement more rigorous testing to help improve quality at launch.
11:44AM Some of these new quality initiatives started with the new Ram.
Betts' staff being trained by Fiat quality staff.
11:47AM Talking about testing quality using advanced digital simulation that simulates real lighting without using an actual car.
11:47AM Chrysler wants to match the best mass market competitors in quality by 2012.
11:48AM Doug Betts of Quality done, Scott Kunselman of Chrysler Engineering takes the mic.
Here's the big picture in terms of engineering...
Sounds like the same list of priorities that every other automaker has, though guess we should be happy that Chrysler even has a list based on last few years.
11:52AM Looks like lots of platform sharing with Fiat is in Chrysler's future, which can only be a good thing.
11:53AM "Aero Achievement" and aerodynamic targets are now required of each new model in development to help achieve better efficiencies.
11:53AM New Ram achieves these targets and has best-in-class aerodynamics.
11:54AM Now talking about weight reduction with different materials like Ultra High Strength STeel, Aluminum and Magnesium. Next gen D-segment SUV will be 600lbs lighter than today's Jeep Liberty.
11:55AM Chrysler going to be adding Fiat electrical architectures to its lineup.
11:56AM Going back to product sharing and Chrysler's resulting lineup: 21 new models, two more small cars, four fewer platforms, three of which are from Fiat.
11:56AM Text-to-speech technology coming so you're dash can read you your Tweets!
11:57AM EcoDrive energy monitoring system from Fiat coming to Chrysler vehicles.
Chrysler committed to UConnect still. Will be adding new features and capabilities.
11:59AM There will be major speed-to-market improvements by incorporating Fiat Group best practices and virtual tools.
12:01PM K, engineering done, Paulo Ferrero, SVP Chrysler Powertrain takes the mic.
Back in June they reviewed entire Chrysler and Fiat powertrain portfolio.
12:05PM This is the chart that shows what Fiat and Chrysler will each provide in terms of powertrains.
12:06PM K, so here's their plan: development of internal combustion engine in short term (read: direct injection and turbo charging like everyone else)...
12:06PM Long term plan is electrification and hybrids once they become cost competitive.
12:07PM Says they'll adapt Fiat diesel engines to Chrysler applications, but no word on whether those will be sold in the U.S.
12:08PM Next-gen V6 for Chrysler (Phoenix) still happening, engines will be downsized with turbochargers, start & stop technology also coming.
12:09PM Phoenix V6 launching in Q2 2010, high-performance versions with single and twin-turbos being developed.
12:10PM Chrysler getting Fiat dual dry-clutch transmission, dropping 4-speed eventually and improving its existing 6-speed.
12:11PM Some details on the Pentastar "Phoenix" V6: Will launch in Jeep Grand Cherokee in mid-2010, max power is 280 hp and max torque is 260 before turbocharging, adding Multiair and direct injection, etc.
12:12PM First application of Fiat's Multiair technology in US will be on the Fiat 500's 1.4-liter, which they say will be on sale here by end of 2010.
12:13PM First application of the Fiat dual dry clutch transmission will be Chrysler's new D segment vehicle at end of 2010.
Diesel Jeep Wrangler coming Q4 2010!
Note: He's not really clear if the diesel Jeep will be available in the U.S., though we can be sure it will overseas in Europe.
12:17PM Above are slides that show the current Chrysler engine family and what it will look like in a couple years.
12:18PM Viper engine not included in those slides, but says it will continue.
Summary of powertrain plans slide coming...
Fred Diaz, CEO of Ram brand, takes the mic.
12:26PM Pays appropriate lip service to Texas: "Texas is for trucks and trucks are for Texas."
12:30PM Now he's talking about how super awesome the new 2009 Ram is. We thought this presentation was about the future, not the past and present.
12:36PM Reinforcing the separation of Ram brand from Dodge now with a truck-focused portfolio.
12:38PM We're hearing reports that the Dakota is dead, too. Clearly doesn't meet the high standards of the Ram brand set by the Ram itself. No official confirmation yet, though.
12:39PM Dealerships will now have the Ram logo on the outside of their buildings.
12:40PM Want Ram to be best in function/capability, quality/durability, design/refinement, and value.
New stuff: Fiat originated vans, explore heavy truck expansion, and here we go ---> Mid-size truck replacement. Bye, bye Dakota.
12:42PM There it is, Dakota dead in mid-2011 (that's a long time from now!). Midsize unibody truck replacement under consideration.
12:44PM "My name is Ram, my tank is full," seems to be the new tagline.
12:44PM "My name is Autoblog, I'm ready for lunch," is our new tagline.
12:45PM Ok, they're breaking for lunch now. We'll be back at 1:45PM EST when the presentation picks up again.
1:54PM We're back, finally, on to Jeep...
1:55PM Going through Jeep history now that has lead up to its current state with new products like four-door Wrangler (yay!) and Compass (boo!).
So, they had a Texas-bred guy for Ram and a guy with a British accent (Michael Manley) for Jeep... OK.
2:01PM They're showing Jeep's newest ad now, we can't see it, but it will debut sometime this month on TV. "There's no rerun when you're living in the now," and "I live, I ride, I am... Jeep" are the taglines.
On to product, talking about how SUV market has changed from core SUV customers to people who unibody CUVs with better fuel efficiency and on-road dynamics, not Jeep's traditional strengths.
Wrangler remains as purest expression of the brand, but there will be models aimed at the mass market that aren't Trail Rated.
2:06PM New shots of Jeep Grand Cherokee above, including interior. There will be a Trail Rated version of the Grand Cherokee, they've already successfully tested it in Moab.
Here's the future product plan for Jeep...
2:17PM Talking about "World Class Manufacturing", which sounds like a buzz-phrase for just doing better in this respect than they have been.
Ah, sorry, Jeep guy done, Scott Garberding from manufacturing now talking.
w00t! One whole level of management removed in org chart!
2:23PM As you see above, better posture for Chrysler workers is within the company's grasp. Seriously, though, bending over like that 1,000x/day would suck.
2:28PM So far the manufacturing segment of today's festivities have all focused on small things being done at each plant to improve safety, efficiency and quality. While all well and good, we can't help but think these are same sorts of things being done at every other plant in the U.S. owned by Chrysler's competition and things Chrysler should've been doing all along.
2:34PM Manufacturing done, Dan Knot grabs mic to talk about purchasing and suppliers.
2:35PM "Chrysler Purchasing has developed and begun implementation of strategies that will strongly contribute to Chrysler profitability and purchased part quality." Vague much?
Here's a slide with some specifics...
2:41PM Hmm... supplier talk very boring. Gist: synergies, synergies, synergies ---> which means combining purchasing departments from Fiat and Chrysler.
2:44PM Forecasting savings of cost redunctions and synergies in purchasing is $2.3B
Chrysler has some of the worst supplier relationships in the industry, here's how they expect to change that...
2:51PM They've moved on to Peter Grady, VP of Network Development & Fleet, i.e. dealers.
2:57PM "Project Genesis" is what they've been calling Chrysler dealer consolidation plans, say it's on track. Expecting 50% of volume to come from metro markets, but a majority still come from rural markets and rural dealerships.
Finally info on selling Fiat 500 in U.S. coming...
So, the Fiat 500 coming by the end of 2010 we hear, will only be sold in select dealers and those dealers will get specific interior showroom, salons if you will, to sell the car. And staff will get trained on how to sell this weird thing called a "small car" to the American public.
That's the last slide from the retail and dealership side of things. They're taking a 20 minute coffee break, so hang tight because they still have the Chrysler brand and Mopar to do.
And we're back with Reid Bigland from Chrysler Canada, who has a genuine Canadian accent we'll have you know.
There are three Chrysler manufacturing plants in Canada, the Brampton plant in Windsor, Windsor Assembly and Etobicoke Casting.
3:35PM Ouch, Chrysler's marketshare over the years in Canada...
3:38PM Interesting slide on Canadian market, compact and small cars rule with 37% share. Hmm... no wonder market share has been eroding for Chrysler, and why Chrysler Canada is so happy to have Fiat products.
3:40PM Also interesting: Dodge Journey is #1 selling crossover vehicle in Canada among 39 competitors. We just lost a little respect for America's hat.
3:43PM Canadian on stage is bragging now about Ram diesel not needing uria solution to meet emissions standards. We thought the super passionate Ram guy earlier would've mentioned that, but he was probably too busy being a Ram, and living a Ram, and driving a Ram...
3:44PM Admits that Chrysler is not a serious contender in small car segment in Canada (or anywhere, we might add).
3:47PM There are 440 Chrysler dealers in Canada and 88% are surprisingly profitable.
Projecting 220k sales/year in Canada by 2014, up from 166k in 2009.
3:50PM Canada's done, we're moving to America's shoes with president and CEO of Chrysler de Mexico, Joseph ChamaSrour. (We kid because we love.)
3:51PM There's a video playing right now we can't see, but thank heavens we can hear the Menudo-like techno soundtrack through our tinny laptop speakers.
3:52PM We're cracking open a Corona right now, seems like a good time.
Chrysler de Mexico has 115 dealers all selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep... and Mitsubishi!
3:55PM Love this chart above. Chrysler explains that 90% of its vehicles sold in Mexico are Jeeps or Dodges, so who cares about Chrysler bringing up the rear in Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction?
3:56PM ChamaSrour is explaining why Mexican market is so hard. Trade agreements that have apparently allowed the market to be flooded with new products, particularly from European brands.
3:58PM Of the big five manufacturers who were previously selling in Mexico, only Chrysler maintained, and even grew, its marketshare in the face of 10% share growth of "other" new brands.
4:00PM Again, Mexican market is 55% passenger cars, 15% SUVs, 10% minivans and 20% trucks. More similar to Canadian market than U.S.
4:04PM Man, Dodge Journey is also best-selling CUV in Mexico. WTF?!?!?! They must be stuffing their glove boxes with free pure maple syrup in Canada and recreational drugs in Mexico.
4:04PM Again we get the same story from Chrysler de Mexico: We're good on everything but passenger cars, especially small cars --- > Fiat is our savior! They're awesome at small cars, we'll happily take theirs!
4:06PM K, Mexico done, Mike Manley back on the mic for talk of international business.
4:08PM 2007 was best year ever for selling Chrysler vehicles internationally. Jeep accounts for about 40+%, Chrysler brand about 30% and Dodge between 20-30%.
4:09PM Latin America 21% of Chrysler's international business, Europe and Africa 60% and the Asian markets sell the rest.
Ambitious plans: They want to grow number of vehicles they sell outside North America from 144k units to 500k units by 2014, though that includes any Fiat-branded products that get built by Chrysler.
4:16PM Hmmm... they're going to swap Chrysler and Lancia badges on certain vehicles depending on where they're sold.
We're on to Mopar, led by Pietro Gorlier (heavy Italian accent).
4:34PM This guys sounds like Luigi from the Pixar film Cars, which just so happened to be a Fiat 500. Coincidence? We think NOT!
Sorry, clearly getting a little slap happy as we near the end of this marathon press conference. Frankly, we're quite happy we're not there in person.
4:37PM Each brand getting its own customer service number. Here's hoping you don't get Bob from India when you call.
4:38PM Alright, Mopar's done and we're moving on to Olivier Francois, President and CEO of the Chrysler brand.
4:40PM They're playing a video from the Chrysler brand. Again, another piece of propaganda produced by Marketing that in no way matches the reality of the Chrysler brand's product or perception in the marketplace... but some nice violin playing, for sure.
Francois, not surprisingly, has a French accent. Chrysler is so diverse!
4:42PM These are the cars that Fracois owns. You think he could afford something better.
4:44PM They're showing the new Chrysler logo at the top of each slide, but it's really small...
4:45PM Core values of brand: comfort, performance, styling, innovation, quality, value and efficiency.
Quality, value and efficiency are areas that Francois admits they have to work on.
4:48PM "Design cars that start out revolutionary and end up timeless."
Next slide shows what they're going to do in short term...
4:50PM New models in short term: 300 Sport Edition aimed at youth, Town and Country Fashion Edition, PT Cruiser Final Edition (bye, bye!), and Sebring Ocean Edition (insert comic insult here).
They're also going to "reshape" Sebring before it's replaced entirely and refresh the Town and Country.
4:54PM Whoa, check out that pic of a brochure for the Chrysler 300. That doesn't look like the current 300 grille, does it?
4:59PM K, now we're on to Joe Veltri from Product Planning. Hopefully some interesting stuff ahead.
We should actually be seeing some upcoming models in this portion of the presentation, so stay tuned.
Above is the key for the next few slides. Colored car covers are vehicles from the Chrysler Group, white car covers are vehicles based on Fiat platforms.
5:05PM First slide is Jeep. First to come in 2010 is new Grand Cherokee and major refreshes fro Patriot, Compass and Wrangler. Patriot and Compass getting new interiors, Wrangler getting new engine. Liberty will get a mild refresh.
Next year is 70th anniversary edition of Jeep, commemorative models will be made for entire lineup.
5:07PM Chrysler will be significantly expanded, mostly through the help of new platforms, which means new models, from Fiat.
300 and Town Country only models that will survive as they are. Sebring will get refreshed in 2010 and survive until 2013 when replaced by a Fiat platform. New B segment small car, new C segment compact sedan and new D segment crossover also planned. Finally, new T&C minivan in 2014. Notice the large gap of nothingness in 2011 and barely anything in 2012.
Onto Ram brand: Dakota dead, considering unibody replacement as we mentioned before. New modifications for the light- and heavy-duty Ram truck in 2012, but not much else. Finally, new vans from Fiat, both small and large.
5:12PM Whoa, lots for Dodge: 2010 will see an all-new Charger and a new full-size CUV (first we've heard).
Huh, chart above makes the Viper's return in 2012 appear less than certain.
Nice, Fiat 500 Cabrio and Abarth confirmed for 2011 and 2012, respectively.
5:17PM Wowza, that's a big dip. Above is Chrysler's projection of when they're going to get out of it.
5:18PM Expect 56% of car sales to be derived from Fiat originated platforms by 2014.
Wow, he's done. That was REALLY disappointing. Not much new was revealed at all, pretty much all the product plans were what analysts and insiders have expected. And, of course, we were shown absolutely nothing to gawk at.
On to the financials, Richard Palmer, CFO, on the mic.
5:24PM Projecting US market to grow from 10.5M in 2009 to 14.5M units in 2014.
5:30PM Note the last bullet point: US gov't will be paid back by end of 2014.
5:40PM Sergio is back on the mic, concluding the event.
5:42PM That's pretty much it folks, what do you think? From our end, this marathon press conference did little to add confidence in Chrysler's future beyond what we already knew. Especially of concern is the next few years that will be full of updates but feature few new models until those based on Fiat platforms begin arriving around 2012-2013.