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       New Fiat Chrysler boss set to stay on course in post-Marchionne era
 
         Posted on :17:33:03 Jul 23, 2018
   
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       Last edited on:17:33:03 Jul 23, 2018
         Tags: fiat, chrysler, marchionne
 

MILAN: Fiat Chrysler's new boss, Mike Manley, faces the task of executing his predecessor's plan to ramp up production of SUVs and catch up on electric cars to keep the world's seventh-largest carmaker competitive in the absence of a merger.

 

Jeep division head Manley was named on Saturday to succeed longtime Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, one of the auto industry's most tenacious and respected auto chiefs, who fell seriously ill after suffering complications following surgery.

 

Marchionne was already due to step down next April, but shares are likely to react to the news of his health crisis on Monday. The stock closed at 16.42 euros on Friday.

FCA has pledged to increase production of sport utility vehicles and invest in electric and hybrid cars to double operating profit by 2022. It also unveiled bold targets for Jeep, which has become FCA's ticket to creating a high-margin brand with global appeal.

 

Analysts said that choosing the 54-year-old Manley, under whose watch Jeep's sales surged fourfold, sent a clear message that FCA was staying on course and would keep the Jeep brand at the heart of its growth plan.

 

"Manley knows that his primary focus is on execution and that, already, he has a strategy into which his team has bought," said George Galliers, an analyst at Evercore ISI.

 

"There is no reason the 2022 plan cannot be executed."

 

Under Manley, the company is expected to sharpen its focus on revamping individual brands, including ailing Fiat in Europe, Chrysler in the United States and Alfa Romeo, which has yet to turn a profit despite multibillion-euro investments.

 

Marchionne, widely credited with rescuing both Fiat and Chrysler from the brink of bankruptcy, had focused on fixing FCA's finances first, notably erasing all debt.

 

He was a gift to investors, including Italy's Agnelli family, through 14 years of canny dealmaking, growing Fiat's value 11 times, helped by spinoffs of tractor maker CNH Industrial NV and Ferrari NV. The Agnellis still have a controlling interest in all three companies.

 

But his track record at fixing some of FCA's brands was mixed, with investments and product launches repeatedly delayed.

 

Profitability in Europe is only gradually recovering, FCA has yet to make significant inroads in China, and the company relies on North America for three-fourths of profits just as that market is expected to come off its peaks.

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       AUTOMOBILE
Next Article: Passenger vehicle sales rise 38% in June; car sales up 34%
 
 
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