According to a Reuters report based on sources from inside the automaker’s supply chain, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has opted over the past twelve months to delay some of the programs for redesigning or introduction of vehicles in North America.
The suppliers that have knowledge of the company’s strategy say at least a dozen updates and releases of current or new models have been delayed, with the unusual number of vehicles being postponed actually hinting the automaker is looking for a partner and wants to defer the billions of dollars in costs until they can be shared. FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne is juggling with product planning as he is actively seeking a partner for a tie-up or merger for the company that is today the world’s seventh biggest carmaker. Marchionne has been very adamant about the need for the automotive industry to further consolidate – as automakers currently spend their capital on engines and vehicles that could be produced jointly with ease.
The North American vehicles being reportedly delayed by FCA are the high-margin Ram 1500 pickup truck and Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicle, said the five sources, which refrained from being named because the plans are not public. Industry analysts believe that pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States, the second largest market of the world, make up more than 50 percent of the company’s pre-tax profit. But the automaker is also speeding up development of other models, with the suppliers hinting that FCA is mulling the release of models pertaining to the moribund Alfa Romeo brand on an expedited schedule.