* Good performance at Chrysler key for Fiat strategy in
* Says strategy to turn over car brand Alfa Romeo is on
* Europe should back Italian premier Renzi's agenda
(Adds quotes and details)
By Francesca Landini
TRENTO, Italy, June 1 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Sunday a good
performance by its U.S. operations was crucial for the success
of the company's recently announced business plan.
The carmaker launched a breakneck global growth effort last
month built around its upmarket Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Maserati
brands. Under the 2014-2018 business plan, it aims to boost
sales by 60 percent and increase net profit five-fold by 2018.
"The execution of the (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) business
plan announced on May 6 depends on the fact that the U.S.
operations perform well," Marchionne said at a business event in
the Italian town of Trento.
Marchionne said the company needed cash from Chrysler's U.S.
operations to fund its strategy in Europe, where Fiat was still
battling with a weak and fragile economic recovery and
over-capacity of the market for mass-market brands.
Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and received a U.S
taxpayer-funded bailout. Fiat took over the U.S. automaker at
the time and completed the buyout at the beginning of this year
to become the world seventh-largest carmaker.
The group is preparing to move its main listing from Milan
to New York by the end of this year.
Marchionne said Chrysler's financial strength and commercial
clout overseas would help Fiat boost sales of Alfa Romeo, which
will build eight new models by the end of 2018 thanks to
investments worth 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion).
"On Friday I saw the prototype for one of the new models
engineers are developing in secret, and I can say we are on the
right track," he said, adding that the model would probably be
unveiled in the third quarter of next year.
Marchionne confirmed that all Alfa Romeo cars would be
produced at Italian plants, at least until 2018, and said he
would ask the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to take
measures to facilitate exports.
"I am not asking for financial aid. I am asking for
logistic, regulations ... changes to help exports," Marchionne
said, lamenting that he had not received any such help from
Marchionne, who in the past ignored opposition from Italian
labour unions and industry lobby Confindustria to negotiate
company-level job contracts at Fiat plants, voiced support for
the 39-year-old Renzi, who took office in February.
"I like Renzi very much, I hope he will find support for his
agenda ... it is the only agenda we have both in Italy and in
Europe," Marchionne said.
Renzi has promised to try to focus euro zone policies on
growth and employment and away from austerity during the six
months that Italy will hold the rotating European Union
presidency starting in July.
"The austerity that came from Germany doesn't make any sense
for Europe now," Marchionne said.
($1 = 0.7328 Euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Jane Baird)