Archive for July, 2014

Marchionne says he is open to new alliances but won’t sell Alfa Romeo

July 30, 2014 17:10 CET

MILAN — Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reiterated that Alfa Romeo will not be sold but said he remains open to forming alliances with other carmakers if it helped cut costs, especially in Europe where sales have been moribund for years.

“We are not in the business of brand-trading,” Marchionne told analysts Wednesday on a conference call to discuss Fiat’s second-quarter earnings.

Fiat is investing five billion euros in a bid to turn Alfa Romeo into a sought-after global premium brand with eight new models and annual sales of 400,000 by 2018, up from 74,000 last year.

Alfa’s future lineup will be underpinned by a new rear-wheel-/all-wheel-drive architecture called Giorgio.

Alfa has failed to turn a profit during Marchionne’s 10-year tenure at Fiat. In 2010, Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech offered to buy the marque, which Fiat acquired in 1986.

Marchionne has repeatedly rejected the idea, regardless of the buyer. “We are committed (to Alfa Romeo),” he told the conference call.

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Marchionne says Fiat Chrysler tie-up with VW was never on agenda

July 23, 2014 12:27 CET — UPDATED: July 23 13:51 CET – adds details

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) — Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, quashed all speculation of a possible tie-up with Volkswagen Group today, saying the idea had never been on the agenda.

Germany’s Manager Magazin reported last week that Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech had held talks with the owners of Fiat Chrysler about buying all or part of the group. Fiat’s owners want to shift their focus to the Ferrari brand and quit the volume automotive business, the publication said, without being more specific.

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Alfa 4C’s power, intrigue wows ’em on press row

July 21, 2014 – 12:01 am ET

Alfa Romeo’s long-awaited return to North America with the lightweight 4C sports car finally happens this fall. Alfa has been allowing reporters limited test drives in Italy and the United States. Some first impressions:

“The 4C raised a righteous hullabaloo, with short flinty strokes of the paddle-shift gearbox peeling revs and the turbocharger sucking and the wastegates huffing and puffing like the car was 10 centimeters dilated. You want driver involvement? The 4C smooshes it in your face like Jimmy Cagney’s morning grapefruit.”

— The Wall Street Journal

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Fiat Chrysler’s latest plan: Realistic or unreal?

DETROIT — When Chrysler Group, just months after a federal bailout spared it from liquidation, unveiled plans to radically grow sales five years ago, it had plenty of doubters.

“A lot of people thought we were on some serious hallucinogenic drugs,” said Reid Bigland, the head of U.S. sales operations.

Even though the company hit most of its targets, the new five-year plan laid out by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles left many analysts and investors wondering whether the executive team was tripping again.

Fiat shares fell so sharply in Italy after the plan, which involves capital investments totaling more than $65 billion, was announced that trading had to be halted briefly the next day. The skepticism prompted Chairman John Elkann and CEO Sergio Marchionne to each buy more than 130,000 shares in a show of confidence.

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Pushing pricey Alfa Romeo, Maserati

TURIN, Italy — In the next five years, Fiat Chrysler will try to sell a lot more vehicles with pricey stickers.

CEO Sergio Marchionne, seeking strong profit margins, plans to lavish money on upscale Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep.

At the same time, spending on new products will be modest for the mass-market Fiat brand.

Marchionne’s vision for Alfa is particularly audacious. Now, the brand is slumbering in Europe and not on sale in the United States as of yet.

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