May 29, 2018 / 5:30 PM / 3 months ago

Factbox: Fiat Chrysler's track record and challenges ahead

(Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) will present its next five-year business plan on Friday, the last under outgoing CEO Sergio Marchionne.

FILE PHOTO: A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sign is seen at the U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

* FCA is set to become net cash positive by the end of 2018. However, heavy capital spending required to comply with stricter emissions rules will likely pressure margins in future.

* North America accounts for 75 percent of profits, helped by a shift to higher-yielding trucks and SUVs at the expense of unprofitable sedans. The move has put FCA on track to close the margin gap with U.S. rivals GM and Ford. NAFTA operating margins stood at 7.9 percent last year.

* Latin America demand and pricing are gradually recovering, with FCA set to benefit due to locally produced Jeeps and its Fiat product renewal. Profit margins stood at 2 percent in 2017.

* Asia-Pacific, where FCA controls less than 1 percent of the market, remains a blind spot. FCA’s plan to use Jeep to expand in China, also via local production, has yet to bear fruit.

* FCA finally turned an annual profit in Europe in 2015 and operating margins recovered to 3.2 percent last year.

* To boost profits further, FCA has been converting Italian plants to churn out higher-margin Alfa Romeos, Jeeps and Maseratis, while mass market models are either discontinued or moved to plants elsewhere in Europe. The popular Fiat Panda hatchback is set to be moved to Poland, while output of the aging Fiat Punto will be discontinued.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by David Holmes

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