MILAN Nov 15 Italian carmaker Fiat and
its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to sell just over 4.3 million
vehicles next year, in line with revised targets announced last
month, chief executive Sergio Marchionne said.
In October, Fiat cut its performance targets for the next
two years because of languishing sales in austerity-hit Europe.
It now expects to sell 4.6 million to 4.8 million vehicles in
2014, not the 6 million it had forecast in 2010, back when
Europe seemed ready to recover from the global financial crisis.
"We should be slightly north of 4.3 million, with a minimum
of 2.6 million from Chrysler," Marchionne said in an interview
with Automotive News on Thursday.
The sharp downturn in Europe has forced Marchionne to focus
on bolstering Fiat's operations in Europe instead of buying more
shares in Chrysler Group.
"It is the biggest drain on our resources both in terms of
earnings and in terms of commitment going forward," Marchionne
said. "So, we need to get this issue under control. It cannot
stay the way it is. It is unthinkable."
Fiat has raised its ownership of Chrysler to 58.5 percent,
from the 20 percent share it took after the U.S. automaker's
Marchionne, who runs both Fiat and Chrysler, plans to merge
the two automakers into a single car company by 2014 or
Asked if the merger was on track for 2014, Marchionne said:
"I think it's on track to get it done. It's an inevitable move
... but it is what it is. I think we need to live within the
financial constraints that we have today."
Marchionne said he believed that ultimately the Fiat brand
would end up being based on the 500 or Panda models.
Asked if the market could expect a larger 500 model to
replace its Punto model, Marchionne said "the Punto is in
production, but I think ultimately the Fiat brand will end up
being 500 or Panda based. Everything else is irrelevant."
Fiat this week said he had appointed Alfredo Altavilla to
take charge of the group's loss-making EMEA region, with the
task of executing plans to ramp up production of Fiat's new
Alfa, Maserati and Jeep models.