Sergio Marchionne has issued a written apology to the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition for a comment he made during last January’s Detroit Auto Show.
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Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne is auctioning off his customized 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8, with the proceeds benefiting the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
It wasn’t so long ago that diesel engines conjured images of black smoke belching trucks with exhaust stacks sticking out the sides.
With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
Update: Chrysler called us to clarify that it wasn’t Marchionne, but instead Roy Peters, the project’s lead electrical engineer.
Coasting along with traffic, eastbound on Interstate 69 through Michigan, we were road testing a 2012 Jeep Compass when several car lengths in the distance a ragtag convoy of cars swarmed around a single sports coupe.
Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne was featured yesterday on CBS’ 60 Minutes discussing his life as the head of both Fiat, Chrysler and how he brought the American brand back to health from the brink of collapse.
In the interview, Marchionne addresses the state Chrysler was in when he came on board to resurrect the company, saying employees were afraid and that the hierarchical corporate structure in place was crippling to operation.
The 13-minute clip also looks at the upcoming Dodge Dart, which first debuted in January at the Detroit Auto Show. We also get a peek into Marchionne’s life in Italy, where he isn’ allowed to go anywhere without being in a bullet-proof car with police escorts.
Watch the video below, it’s well worth the time.
Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne will be the focus of attention on tonight’s 60 Minutes on CBS that airs at 7:00pm EDT. Reporter Steve Kroft will focus on Chrysler’s miraculous turnaround under the careful guidance of Marchionne.
Both Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan and Fiat headquarters in Turin, Italy will be featured on the television show special, alongside the Chrysler Belvedere, Illinois plant where the new Dodge Dart will be built.
The show will focus on how Marchionne helped transform the failing Chrysler brand into a formidable automaker in the market. Last year, Chrysler earned $183-million, its first profit since 2005.
It’s amazing the turnaround Marchionne has orchestrated since he took over in 2009, stating in the interview that “there wasn’t a CEO in the world from the auto side that would have touched this with a 10-foot pole,” when talking about the state of Chrysler as it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
[Source: USA Today]
Earlier, we reported that Ford CEO Alan Mulally had been awarded $58.3 Million worth of company stock for meeting company performance targets. Fiat/Chrysler‘s Sergio Marchionne, on the other hand, has declined a salary and bonus for the work he’s done for Chrysler Group in 2011.
Although Marchionne is compensated for his work at Fiat S.p.A, this is the second straight year that he declined salary from Chrysler, only accepting reimbursements for cleaning, utilities, security expenses, as well as insurance and association fees at his condominium near the Chrysler headquarters in Detroit. According to filings with the US. Securities and Exchange Commission, costs were on par with or less than the charges had Marchionne stayed in hotels.
Performance figures have shown that Chrysler has outperformed the U.S. auto market for 2011, an increase of 24.3 percent compared to the 10.3 percent industry average. What’s more, Chrysler refinanced the $7.6 billion in loans from the United States and Canadian governments.
Marchionne has always been a firm believer that automakers should collaborate in sharing development and production costs. ”We’re on the move,” Marchionne said on the sidelines of an industry event in Brussels, “We can be an active partner everywhere around the world.”
The CEO is not limiting himself to any automaker partnership either, stating that they will look at every viable option, even though there might not be many left in Europe. As for Asia, Suzuki and Mazda are among those that Marchionne is looking at, but won’t limit himself to these saying “there are many opportunities to look at.”
Marchionne also addressed the possible partnership between General Motors and Peugeot saying, “It’s crucial that the European situation is dealt with. If the hypothetical GM-Peugeot deal goes ahead, I hope they will take on the question of overcapacity. They must do it.”
The CEO also acknowledged that this year could see decline of volume in Europe and said that even the most optimistic of forecasts for new vehicles sales in Europe are flat through 2014.
[Source: Automotive News]
Chrysler has announced the withdrawal of its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
A loan signed in 2007 by former President George W. Bush, the ATVM program was designed to provide financial aid to companies to pursue development of advanced, high-mileage power train technologies in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Chrysler first applied for this federal loan shortly after it restructured from its 2009 bankruptcy. Initially a $7 billion proposal, distribution of ATVM loans have critically stalled as politicians argue about the program.
It seems that Chrysler is tired of waiting, having applied more than two year ago. Sergio Marchionne was outspoken of his displeasure. When Chrysler made the decision to withdraw, the ATVM had already cut its loan proposal to a figure of $3.5 billion, half of what Chrysler initially desired.
“Why am I bothering if the loan was going to be either rejected or sharply reduced,” he said.
Despite Marchionne’s disappointment does not, however, mean the company will abandon eco-friendly technology. In fact, Chrysler laid plans to fund its own research and development for hybrids, plug-ins and other advanced technologies.
“The company remains confident in its strategy to bring competitive, fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies to market on schedule. This decision will not impact Chrysler’s ability to achieve its previously announced business plan targets.”
“I am disappointed that Chrysler withdrew its Section 136 application. I regret that the DOE and Chrysler were not able to come to an agreement that clearly would have benefitted American workers and manufacturers,” said U.S. Representative John Dingell.
Dingell took notice of Chrysler’s strong performance in 2011 and it’s sales figures that improved better than the industry average. Chrysler has also repaid its U.S. and Canadian loans in full and even created 9,400 new jobs. Simply, John Dingell believed that Chrysler “would have been a perfect candidate for the loan program.”
Finally, Dingell said, “Although Chrysler has withdrawn its loan application, DOE must start acting decisively so we can fulfill the President’s goal of out-competing the rest of the world.”
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler Group LLC, has been in the media a lot lately thanks to his successful reinvention of Fiat and Chrysler as profitable companies. Announcing a $183 million net income for 2011 was a good way to start off the day for the surely elated Marchionne.
Having brought the company back from the brink of extinction, Marchionne felt the need to reach out to his colleagues with a letter to inspire confidence in them for the future. You’ll find the highlights below.
“Dear Colleagues, For the second straight year, we have delivered on the ambitious financial targets we set as part of the five-year plan that we revealed to the world on Nov. 4, 2009. In the results that we announced today, we posted net income of $225 million in the fourth quarter, and full-year net income of $183 million. We also reported a modified operating profit of $508 million in Q4 2011, and $2 billion for the total year.”
Marchionne continues to provide all of the positive numbers Chrysler has been posting lately, and went on to some motivational words to his workers.
“Based on the Company’s 2011 achievements, I am pleased to inform you that a performance award payment will be made to all eligible salaried and represented employees. This is a reward that you have earned. The more difficult the task, the more satisfying it is to overcome all obstacles. You have been to hell and back, and you defied predictions of our demise. Your efforts rewrote the history that so many naysayers had forecast. As we move forward with Fiat, let’s remain flexible in order to continue to achieve and take advantage of changing conditions while maintaining the same high level of passion and integrity that has brought us the measure of success we have had so far.”
While some of the “to hell and back” references are a little cheesy, no one can deny the steps forward Chrysler and Fiat have made since 2009. To end off his letter Marchionne touts himself as a proud CEO and tells his employees to take personal pride in their work.
“Now it’s time to stay steadfast on our path, guided by the same commitment and same values that we have used to steer toward a better destiny. Make tough, informed decisions; hold yourself and others accountable; and together we will write yet another successful chapter in our history. I am proud to be with you in the reconstruction of a great Chrysler.”
[Source: Detroit News]
Despite Chrysler experiencing a 26-percent growth in sales last year, CEO Sergio Marchionne is still not pleased with the customer experiences at Chrysler’s dealerships.
According to the latest J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index Study, Chrysler Group’s Jeep, Ram and Dodge brands were three of the brands in the bottom four among mainstream, non-luxury brands. The study also ranked Chrysler ninth out of 19 mass market brands, but most importantly the survey gave Chrysler Group dealerships low marks in the categories of salesperson, delivery process and negotiating.
Even Marchionne has admitted that some dealerships’ salespeople weren’t treating customers “with the dignity they deserve.”
Chrysler Group recently suspended its Dealer Standards program temporarily in order to incorporate changes to ensure it results in improved customer satisfaction. The program provides an incentive to dealers to meet factory standards for customer service with rewards of $4,500 to $200,000 per quarter.
“We can do all the Eminems you like, all the commercials, but at the end of the day, this only gets you so far,” Marchionne said. “The interface is with the guy who sells you the car.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Look, we get it. Everyone wants to be a little optimistic when a new model hits the streets, especially when it’s one of Italy’s most iconic compact cars.
When Chrysler first introduced the Fiat 500 (read out review here) to the American market, they might have been a little too optimistic by estimating that they’d sell 50,000 of them in 2011. Turns out, even CEO Sergio Marchionne has no problems admitting that their initial sales target was “incredibly naive.”
Fiat’s original goal was to best the MINI Cooper 2010 sales figure of 45,644 but the 500 fell way short with just 19,769 being sold in 2011. Despite not even coming close to their original sales goal, Marchionne is adamant that Fiat will still do well in the US and admits that “we set ourselves up for a fall.”
A more realistic sales figure of 25,000 – 30,000 is anticipated for 2012 and that number could be aided by the introduction of the Fiat 500 Abarth.
The fuel wars are heating up as automakers search for new ways to squeeze more mileage out of their cars. While some might take this chance to preach doom and gloom for future cars, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t ready to call the Road Warrior just yet.
Some companies are turning to electric vehicles, others to extended-range hybrids. Yet another school of thought is turning to diesel engines to meet mounting expectations for fuel consumption. In the face of what seems like a trembling industry, unsure of what the next revolution will be, Marchionne stands strong.
“I believe in our industry’s ability to find solutions. Even with traditional combustion engines, we have only skimmed the surface of the ability to squeeze out higher fuel efficiency levels, allowing us to extract much more power out of smaller displacements,” Marchionne said during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress.
For the time being, he is determined that diesel engines will remain reserved for larger cars, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above), which Chrysler will begin assembling in Detroit early next year. Diesel engines, despite their shrinking stigma, are still a minority consideration in the overall U.S. market. We really like some of the small car diesel variants to pop up recently. For example, Mazda will offer a diesel version of their Mazda6 sedan in 2013, as will Chevrolet with the Cruze.
Despite that, Marchionne is hanging onto the gasoline engine and hoping cars like their recently unveiled Dodge Dart will tackle the small car market and capture young consumer imaginations. Critics of his stubborn resolve might want to hold their opinions for now, considering the about face Marchionne championed since 2009, taking Chrysler from near-ruin to respectable territory.
“Fiat and Chrysler come from two different pasts, but they have something very strong in common,” said Marchionne. “Both have been to hell and back.”
GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
When there’s blood in the water, sharks start to bite. If the automotive industry does nothing else, it fosters ruthless competition and a winner-takes-all mentality akin to professional sports.
Outside scheduled announcements, Marchionne told the Detroit News that ”there’s a willingness on the part of Fiat-Chrysler to listen,” going on to say that ”this is an industry that is in evolution.”
Despite his affirmation that Fiat would be willing to consider the idea, there doesn’t seem to be any plan being cooked up. GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said he and Marchionne had dinner last Sunday and that Marchionne wasn’t interested in Opel.
“Opel is not for sale,” Girsky said. “We’re going to make Opel work.” GM is “committed to returning our European business to sustained profitability. There’s a lot of work to do.”
For better or worse, the business world is sensitive to such discussions. The notion that something like that might happen drove speculation that Fiat might also be eyeing Peugeot. Once again, it seems the rumor mill is churning out little more than hot air, though Marchionne maintains that he is open to opportunities.
For now it seems the dinner discussions that spurred these questions were little more than meals, though we’ll stick to Marchionne’s philosophy and refuse to rule anything out, especially considering his original plan after buying Chrysler was, in fact, to take Opel as well.
[Source: Detroit News]