• Dec 9, 2009
Sergio Marchionne appears to be very well regarded within the auto industry and his work making Fiat a viable automaker has been pretty remarkable overall. Now Marchionne is charged with saving the beleaguered and product-starved Chrysler while also keeping momentum back home in Italy. That's a big job that Marchionne won't be able to do for long. The dualing CEO reportedly said in a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington that he will decide which company to run within the next 24 months. It appears Marchionne is no Carlos Ghosn, for better or for worse.

Marchionne also gave some pretty stark assessments of the Pentastar, as he reportedly told the audience that Chrysler walked away from bankruptcy a cleaner company but "but we ended up with the same stuff we had." Ouch. Marchionne also reportedly used his time at the Peterson Institute to discuss what he calls the industry's overcapacity problem. He said that while Chrysler has the post-bankruptcy ability to pick and choose when to grow, in Europe, overcapacity results in billions in lost revenue. Germany, for example, hasn't shuttered a plant since before World War II.

So Marchionne is going to give up one of his CEO posts within the next two years. On one hand, it's nice to see that the Fiat/Chrysler CEO is a realist who doesn't want to stretch himself too thin, and at the same time we like the fact that he plans to stay at Chrysler at least until it begins to receive some new products via its partnership with Fiat. Do we think he'll choose Chrysler over Fiat? The Fiat that resides in sunny Italy with brands like Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo? We wouldn't, but hey, we're not millionaire CEOs, either.

[Source: The Detroit Bureau | Image: AFP/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe Chrysler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chrysler should simply be absorbed into Fiat. It doesn't have enough product strength to stand on its own. The new company could use the 300, Grand Cherokee, Ram, and Wrangler platforms; everything else could just be discarded without a second thought, in favor of existing Fiat platforms.

      The tough part is what brand to sell under in the U.S. Both Chrysler and Fiat are horribly tainted here, while Dodge is seen as downmarket.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To ligor and VictorRaikkonen :
        I can see that you don't ever have had a FAIT, because you speak about something you don't know. I live in Mexico, and I have a Grande Punto since 2007 and I never have to go to the dealership, and the car has 40 000 km. So speak about what you know please.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Build on your strengths and purge the weaker parties.

        Fiat should supply all of the subcompact, compact and midsize offerings because this is what they are good at. Abarth and Lancia should be relegated to upgrades of the Fiat brand much as Denali is to GMC.

        Dodge should offer only the Charger, Challenger and Viper along with the
        Caravan (add a commercial panel van),
        Journey (updated to resemble the Toyota Venza),
        Durango (moved to unibody structure to compete with Chevy Traverse & Co),
        Dakota (RWD - BoF is absolutely necessary to compete with Toyota Tacoma),
        Ram (does not need to be its own brand).
        To complete the picture just add the Fiat Ducato to the Dodge line-up.

        Jeep should adopt the Fiat Panda 4WD as the new Jeep Patriot.
        Jeep should retain the Liberty, Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and
        Commander (upgraded with luxury appointments to compete with Land Rover)

        Chrysler could conceivably keep the Town & Country minivan.
        Chrysler should adopt Alfa Romeo styling for the new Chrysler 300 Alfa and its twin Alfa Romeo 300C. Future products could include a 200C and 100C both with Chrysler twins.

        This is the kind of product merger Fiat needs to tackle a global market. It doesn't need to be another GM ladder clone.
        • 5 Years Ago
        well I wold have to disagree

        how do you know the fiat product is better

        now the Sebering just got a 5 star rating, better than the Camry since it meet the roof standards as well - so they have a good base, but need to improve on things like suspension tunning, adn of course the outer sking and interior skin - other that that i'd say Fiat products are nothing that exciting - they're not known for being reliable or having the best product at anything

      • 5 Years Ago


      It seems like he could make the decision in about 3 seconds.


      • 5 Years Ago
      I think if things go well and Fiat takes control of Chrysler he may stay with Chrysler. One thing he likes is the big stage. The American market provides more opportunities for press and publicity than Italy's market. However, if things don't go well, he won't be in America...and Chrysler might not be here either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, but America has all the problems, with little substantive way to fix them near term.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like Sergio Marchionne. I believe he perfectly understands the dynamics and complexities of what and where Chrysler is, and it's proposed future.

      And I think it's also safe to say this is Chrysler's last big chance and hurrah. We'll know in a few short years if the Pentastar becomes another casulty of companies disgarded on the heap of the no longer needed.

      But Marchionne and crew seem to offer the best chance for the once-known "scrappy little car company." Right now it's a toss up if he will stay in Aurburn Hills or jet off to Turin, Italy. Hopefully, when the time comes the comapny will be back on it's feet enough to where if he does decide to leave his replacement will have the best products and resources available to him or her to make a worthy go of it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      WHOA! let's not rush into things!
      • 5 Years Ago
      He'll be running Chrysler. You can bet the farm on it.

      And anyone that thinks Daimler was good for Chrysler is a tool and needs their head examined. 1998 Chrysler was worth 39 billion, 2007 Chrysler worth -17 Million.

      Gee Vern, I wonder who Financed all the new MB vehicles we see today.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Couldn't agree more. I truly hope that Marchionne can turn things around at Chrysler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry, but if the Daimler couldn't do it with their superior engineering and business prowess FIAT certainly won't.
      Marchionne will never choose to head Chrysler.
      Culturally, He will never cross the Atlantic(figuratively speaking).
      Sounds like He's prepping his audience for some low expectations.If,however, something halfway decent emerges from the partnership He'll be the first to take the credit.
      That's been the way with a certain European country's corporate culture.
        • 5 Years Ago
        well 300C platform was a cashcow for Daimler. Mercedes still charges Chrysler roalty for every 300 or Charger sold. That's how Germans trasfered wealth from US side to Germany
        • 5 Years Ago
        "If Chrysler engineers had the same budget as Mercedes, then I would dare say the Chrysler Engineers would produce better products than the Germans."

        Apparently they didn't need as much money as Mercedes. For many years in the 90's Chrysler ranked higher than Mercedes on the JD Powers 3 year reliability surveys. But when the so-called "merger" happened the idiot media was talking about how Mercedes would teach Chrysler something about reliability.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think Daimler biggest problem may have been the UAW who saw deep pockets in Daimler and wanted to import European style benefits to the US.
        By the way .You guys didn't like the E class derived 300C?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chrysler's UAW workers were also more interested in shaking down Daimler to import European style socialist benefits.
        They saw deep pockets in Daimler.
        You'll never hear the other side (Daimler's) of the story.It wouldn't be worth the bad press/public relations for M-B.
        You guys didn't like the 300C and the E class derived platform ?There were contributions in the merger that You neglected to mention.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Daimler stole Chrysler's money and destroyed Chrysler. In 1998 when Germans took over, Chrysler was the most profitable automaker in the world
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry. Daimler was horrible. They bought Chrysler when it was flush with cash, and raped it for all it was worth. The board killed the Mitsubishi deal and that killed complicated a lot Chrysler's product development. This guy is a million times better than anything Daimler had. The problem is, it is very hard to raise a Corp from the dead that has no new product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Michael L.

      I think a lot of people here just don't understand this man. Maybe because he's accountable and has integrity, which seems to be an oxymoron for corporate America. It doesn't matter whether he stays or not but whether he comes through on his challenge to turn Chrysler around. I respect him and his vision. He's smart and forthcoming. Daimler on the other hand was devious and pretentious. They truly sold Cerberus a bag of bad goods. A single platform does not constitute a partnership...I'm glad the bankruptcy took care of that minor detail. The only good thing to come out of the MB marriage was the Sprinter...only problem was the price point and the restrictions to parking garages, which is a big sticking point for service providers.

      Let us give the man room to work his magic...you will all be surprised with the outcome. How do I know? Lets just say I know!


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