Fiat 500e

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne made some interesting comments during a frank and entertaining talk at the Brookings Institution yesterday, saying he hoped that no one bought the Fiat 500e, the well-received EV based on the adorable Italian car.

"I hope you don't buy it," said Marchionne, during a talk and question-and-answer session that focused on the aftermath of the automotive bailouts, "because every time I sell one, it costs me $14,000."

"I'm honest enough to tell you that I'll make the car, I'll make it available, which is my requirement. I'll sell the limit of what I'm required to sell and not one more," Marchionne said. "If we build just those vehicles, we'll be back in Steve [Rattner's] successor's office in Washington asking for a second bailout, because we'll be bankrupt by Christmas"

"From an economic standpoint, there's nobody out there that makes money on the electrification of vehicles, with the exception of Tesla, which only makes electric cars and sells them at a rather inordinate price," Marchionne said.

That $14,000 figure is a notable increase from the last time Marchionne complained about the costs of the 500e, when each car was merely being sold for a $10,000 loss.

Marchionne also made some comments on the future of electrification, saying, "It can't be done on pure electrification. It needs to be run in conjunction with combustion. Combustion still has a lot of unexplored areas."

We've embedded the entire podcast of yesterday's talk at Brookings below. You can hop in and listen to the nearly three-hour talk, or skip ahead to Marchionne's statements on EVs, which start at about 2:38:00.