Sergio MarchionneEnlarge Photo
The main man in charge of the good ship Fiat-Chrysler is Sergio Marchionne. Word on the street is that Marchionne is prepared to hang on to his captain's hat for at least three more years. This word comes from Fiat Group chairman John Elkann, speaking about the automaker's new business plan. According to Automotive News (subscription required), the recently fully merged automakers are putting forth this new three-year business plan and it features Marchionne as the person to see it through.
The 61-year-old executive has been in charge of Fiat since being elected CEO in 2004. In 2009, he assumed control of Chrysler when Fiat initially acquired its 20 percent stake in the American automaker following its bankruptcy and bailout by the federal government. That rose to 53 percent in 2011, and now Chrysler has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fiat Group.
Early word was that Marchionne would step down as early as 2015, but this new report clearly contradicts the older one. Marchionne is sticking around for a point in Chrysler's history which should prove to be a positive one. The launch of the stylish new 2015 Chrysler 200 could bring increased sales in the compact sedan segment, Jeep has a well-rounded product portfolio that appeals to its voracious fan base, and Ram builds an excellent truck in the 1500.
Additionally, it will be interesting to see what Fiat can do to increase its product offering and find success in the U.S. market. The 500, 500e, and 500L are certainly a start, but perhaps the next three years will see something even greater in store. And then, of course, there's the return of Alfa Romeo as a volume brand over here.