Just recently Fiat acquired full control of its US unit Chrysler and the newly merged entity is ready to present on May 6th its first overall business plan – putting the pressure on its chief executive.
The 61-year-old Sergio Marchionne is facing another test – how to transform two automotive cultures into one thriving global car business. Marchionne has been holding the Italian maker under his rule for a decade, in which he has been widely praised by investors and analysts.
In 2005 he managed to take $2 billion from General Motors after the latter canceled an option deal, in 2009 he rescued from bankruptcy the third biggest US automaker and now at the start of 2014 managed to take full control over it.
“Marchionne is capable, but there have been too many changes to his plans,” said Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at researchers IHS Automotive. “Execution for some projects has been weak and disjointed, there are some holes to be filled.”
“Alfa Romeos are beautiful Italian machines,” said Jane Nakagawa, managing director at Portia Consulting. “But it is like that really good-looking boyfriend, when you’re not quite sure if he is cheating on you or not.”
Now, analysts and investors eagerly await for the CEO to overturn the failing Fiat European business, while building on the strength of the US activities. Marchionne seeks to position Fiat Chrysler on level with bigger rivals like GM and VW – positioning its brands globally and securing a key position in the ever fast-growing and high-margin segment of luxury cars.