Seriously, this could really happen.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to retire next year, but before that happens he’ll present the automaker’s business strategy for the next few years. That presentation will be tomorrow, June 1. It could very well wind up being a pivotal day. Bloomberg reports that Marchionne’s plan could involve the end of Fiat sales in North America and China over the next few years. Chrysler, however, will either be limited solely to the US or, perhaps, killed off entirely. Automotive News predicts Chrysler will get axed outright.
The Chrysler 300 sedan will simply fade away while the Pacific minivan could be re-branded as the new Dodge Grand Caravan. Marchionne’s strategy presentation, the last time he’ll do one before retirement, will take place at the Balocco test trade outside of Turin, Italy. While Fiat and Chrysler are expected to be cut, Jeep and Ram are set to expand globally. Jeep, which some estimate accounts for nearly 70 percent of the automaker’s profits, already has a Chinese production plant churning out Cherokees and Renegades. As for Alfa Rome and Maserati, there are no plans to either discontinue or sell them, though they’ll likely be combined into a single division.
Take this as an early sign of an eventual spinoff, like what was done so successfully with Ferrari. Marchionne has been at the helm of the automaker for 14 years, and his successor is expected to be announced sometime next spring. Once Marchionne is out of the picture, FCA will likely continue its search for a partner for a potential merger, a strategy Marchionne has been famously advocating for. If you recall, he knocked on GM’s door a couple of years ago to discuss such a deal, but the door remained closed. Tomorrow’s announcement is a very big deal not only because it could determine the fate of the automaker’s namesake brands, but also has far reaching ramifications in terms of suppliers and unions.