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Marchionne on future cars

by Bill Cawthon on

As often happens in FCA financial presentations, the Q&A session following Richard Palmer’s walk-through of the charts was the most interesting part. This time, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said that smaller cars will remain in the product mix, but won’t be built in the U.S.


Mr. Marchionne said that he expects the U.S. to be “de-carred” by the end of the first quarter of 2017, but said that, contrary to recent reports, FCA had progressed in its quest for an outside automaker to produce new compact and midsize cars.   “We’re making every effort to replace both the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200 with equivalent products on a basis which is much more economical to us than it is today.”

The conversion of U.S. manufacturing to all utilities and trucks won’t have a negative impact on FCA activities in America, Mr. Marchionne noted, but it could marginalize some brands (presumably Chrysler and Dodge).

Mr. Marchionne said that it is important for the company to remain a player in passenger cars; while the car market has shrunk, they were still over 40% of total light vehicle sales in the US for the first half of the year.

Mr. Marchionne also said that FCA is controlling its sales to daily rental fleets, which dropped from 80% to 75% of fleet sales in the second quarter of 2016.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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