Sergio Marchionne harbors no illusions about Chrysler being in the black for 2010. The Detroit News reports the Chrysler chairman and Fiat CEO stated flat out that a net profit in 2010 isn't likely during an August 23rd tour of a Toledo Jeep plant. Despite recent reports of operating profits from Chrysler, there's still tremendous cost associated with loan interest payments and a lineup of moribund product to turn over. Add to the mix the reintroduction of Fiat automobiles to the U.S. market, and you've got an outlook that's best described as "challenging."
Still, Marchionne told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, also in attendance, that Chrysler is "ahead of plan" during the tour. That plan includes paying back its $12 billion in governmental loans and launching the Fiat 500 in North America. A meeting on August 30th will lay out the requirements for dealers interested in Fiat stores, and Marchionne reports strong interest.
Dealers that choose to take on Fiat must create standalone showrooms for the brand, requiring significant investment, though there's little overlap between Fiat and Chrysler product lines to muddy sales efforts. Other rumors that Marchionne dodged were talk of a Jeep Liberty-based SUV to be built in Toledo, and whether or not an Alfa Romeo sedan will be built in Brampton, Ontario.
[Source: Detroit News]