Archive for October, 2014

Fiat Chrysler will spin off 10% of Ferrari to counter rising debt

MILAN (Bloomberg) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spin off the Ferrari supercar brand, underpinning efforts to raise about $4.7 billion as the Italian-American carmaker counters rising debt.

FCA will list 10 percent of Ferrari in the U.S. and possibly Europe and plans to complete the deal next year, the company said Wednesday in a statement. The sale will raise about $1.15 billion, according to an estimate from Mediobanca.

The company, formed from the merger of Italy’s Fiat and U.S. automaker Chrysler, will distribute its remaining shares in the maker of cars like the $319,000 F12 Berlinetta to its own investors.

With the move, CEO Sergio Marchionne has ensured demand for a planned $2.5 billion mandatory convertible bond as well as the sale of as many as 100 million shares, which would raise about $1.1 billion at current prices.

“Ferrari’s spinoff is the market-moving news investors were looking for,” Vincenzo Longo, a strategist with IG Markets in Milan, said by phone. “Fiat is putting its jewel on the market.”

Under the plan, FCA will distribute 80 percent of Ferrari stock to current FCA shareholders with another 10 percent being offered to the public.

Piero Ferrari, son of company founder Enzo, will retain his current 10 percent stake in the automaker.

For complete story: http://europe.autonews.com/article/20141029/COPY/310299960/fiat-chrysler-will-spin-off-ferrari-list-10-stake-on-market?cciid=email-ane-blast

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Rick Case to sell first N.A. 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C for charity’s sake

The first new Alfa Romeo to be sold in this country in 20 years will be auctioned next week for charity.

That’s thanks to Rick and Rita Case, owners of Rick Case Automotive Group in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Rick Case says his Alfa Romeo dealership in Davie, Fla., is the first store to receive one of the highly anticipated 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Italian supercars. It will be sold to the highest bidder during the 55th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Thursday, Oct. 30. The auction is at 6 p.m.

The special collector’s limited 4C Launch Edition has a sticker price of $71,895. The winning bidder will get the car plus a letter signed by Reid Bigland, who heads the Alfa Romeo brand in North America, confirming that the car is the first Alfa Romero 4C ever delivered in North America, Case said.

The buyer also gets to choose which charity or charities, among those that have registered in advance, benefit from the sale, getting the difference between the sticker price and the winning bid.

As of Friday, Oct., 24, about 44 charitable organizations had signed up with hopes of being chosen as a recipient.

Bidders need not be present. They can bid in-person at the show or by telephone, but they do have to register. They can do that online at rickcasealfaromeo.net/deposit until noon, Wednesday, Oct. 29, or in person at the show up until 5 p.m. Thursday.

Case said he is excited for the charities and has no idea how much money the vehicle will generate.

He added: “I need two bidders who want it badly.”

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Fiat Chrysler’s Wall Street debut draws muted response

October 14, 2014 09:32 CET

MILAN/NEW YORK (Reuters) — Investors cautiously greeted the Wall Street debut on Monday of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a move that shifts the carmaker’s center of gravity away from Italy and caps a decade of canny dealmaking and tough restructuring by CEO Sergio Marchionne.

“We’re finally taking Chrysler back” to the U.S. stock market, Marchionne said on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. “One of the Detroit Three is coming home.”

Investors in the United States and Europe approached the new listing gingerly, as analysts expressed reservations about the company’s prospects.

FCA shares opened at $9.00 in New York and rose as high as $9.55 before closing at $8.92, up 2.5 percent from a Friday close of $8.70 for the predecessor company Fiat SpA. In Milan, where FCA will keep a secondary listing, shares rose more than 4 percent during the session and closed up 1.2 percent.

Trading was muted, with about 5.8 million shares changing hands on the NYSE.

Marchionne rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Monday to mark the milestone for the 62-year-old CEO who revived one of Italy’s top companies and helped rescue Chrysler along the way.

For the complete story: http://europe.autonews.com/article/20141014/ANE/141019948/fiat-chryslers-wall-street-debut-draws-muted-response?cciid=email-ane-daily

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Marchionne rebuilds Fiat-Chrysler at 200 mph to woo Wall Street

Sergio Marchionne likes to move fast. The CEO of Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group owns a half-dozen Ferraris, has homes in three countries, and spends much of his time on a private jet shuttling between Detroit, Fiat’s hometown of Turin, and other outposts of his growing empire.

Fueled by a dozen espressos a day and packs of Muratti cigarettes, he stormed into Fiat a decade ago and fired most of the top management, then did the same at Chrysler in 2009, installing a dozen newcomers on his second day.

And on a recent gray Tuesday morning, Marchionne took one of his Ferraris — a black Enzo — around Fiat’s high-speed test track near the town of Balocco, 40 miles east of Turin. “When you’re pissed off,” he said, stamping on the accelerator and pushing the car from a comfortable 120 miles per hour to something over 200, “there’s nothing better than this.”

Continued here: http://www.autonews.com/article/20141009/OEM02/310099996/marchionne-rebuilds-fiat-chrysler-at-200-mph-to-woo-wall-street?cciid=email-autonews-daily

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Pushing pricey Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep

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.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year business plan presented last week by Marchionne and his team calls for Alfa sales of 150,000 units in the United States by 2018. Last year, Alfa sold 74,000 units worldwide.

Hybrid brands, between volume and premium, “have no legs,” Marchionne told analysts. “The Alfa brand has the DNA to properly compete with German premium automakers.”

The planned investment in Alfa is eye-popping: 5.0 billion euros, or $6.96 billion. The global sales goal for 2018 is 400,000. Marchionne added that Alfa could reach 500,000 in 2019.

Many upscale brands, such as Oldsmobile, Mercury and Fiat’s own Lancia, have faltered. But Marchionne believes Alfa is different.

“If I did not have plants in Italy with spare capacity to fill, I would invest in a greenfield [assembly plant] to revive Alfa,” he said. “It’s a great project.”

An ambitious plan:
Sources in Europe say this is the tentative product plan for Alfa Romeo through 2018. All models are based on a new rear and all-wheel-drive platform called Giorgio.
• Compact car: Two body styles, a sporty four-door and a hatchback, are planned.
• Mid-sized car: The first of Alfa’s new nameplates, the sedan is set to debut in Europe in late 2015 and in the United States in 2016. A sporty wagon will follow.
• Large car: The flagship model project was started in late 2012 as a derivative of the Maserati Ghibli. Last summer, planners decided that Maserati’s underpinnings were too expensive.
• Specialty: This specialty car is likely a rival to BMW’s 6 series.
• Compact/mid-sized crossover: This vehicle will be positioned between the BMW X3 and X5.
• Large SUV: Originally conceived as a derivative of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Alfa’s rival to the Audi Q7 will be built in Turin, Italy.

Alfa brand chief Harald Wester acknowledged that the Alfa brand had been neglected. He said Alfa lost its way before and after Fiat gained control of it in 1987. For instance, Alfa has sold rebadged versions of the Nissan Pulsar and Fiat Croma.

“Alfa Romeo had completely lost its DNA back in those days,” he said.

He said the brand’s revival is being led by a special team of more than 200 engineers led by two senior heads from Ferrari. The automaker’s other executives are not allowed to interfere with their work, he added.

Meanwhile, Wester said Maserati will continue as a symbol of elegance and class, offering an exciting alternative to the German luxury brands.

Maserati will first add the Levante large SUV late next year. Then, the brand will add a top-of-the-range coupe, expected in 2016, and convertible, 2017,
under the Alfieri nameplate. Product planners want the vehicles to compete with the Porsche 911.

Marchionne’s plan is a blow to the Fiat brand, the automaker’s mainstay for decades. He will mainly add models to the range of the 500 and add two locally produced models to the thin lineup in China.

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