WASHINGTON May 21 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has a request for
potential buyers of the automaker's Fiat 500e electric car:
Don't buy it. He's tired of losing money.
Speaking at a conference in Washington on Wednesday,
Marchionne said Tesla Motors Inc was the only company
making money on electric cars and that was because of the higher
price point for its Model S sedan. Decrying the federal and
state mandates that push manufacturers to build electric cars,
Marchionne said he hoped to sell the minimum number of 500e cars
"I hope you don't buy it because every time I sell one it
costs me $14,000," he said to the audience at the Brookings
Institution about the 500e. "I'm honest enough to tell you
The gasoline-powered Fiat 500 starts at almost $17,300
including delivery charges, while the 500e starts at $32,650
before federal tax credits. Consumers are not willing to pay a
price that covers Fiat's costs so it loses money on the 500e.
Through April, the automaker sold 11,514 of the 500 cars in
the United States this year, down about 15 percent from the same
period last year. The company does not break out 500e sales.
"I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not
one more," Marchionne said of the 500e.
Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and received a U.S
taxpayer-funded bailout. Italy's Fiat took over the U.S.
automaker at the time and completed the buyout earlier this
"If we just build those vehicles, we'll be back asking ...
in Washington for a second bailout because we'll be bankrupt,"
Marchionne said of electric cars.
The state of California's zero-emission vehicle mandates and
federal fuel efficiency requirements for 2025 were pushing the
need for electric cars, but Marchionne said he would prefer the
U.S. Department of Energy simply set targets and let the
automakers achieve them in their own way.
Marchionne said for the company in 2025 to maintain the same
type of U.S. sales mix it has now, hybrid vehicles that are
powered by both gasoline and electric engines will make up more
than half if not close to three-quarters of sales.
Electric car sales have been held back by inadequate driving
range in the eyes of many consumers and high sticker prices.
(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by