“Nobody’s promising a miracle here,” declared Chrysler’s new CEO Sergio Marchionne, as he wrapped up a day-long presentation that went into the minutia of his turnaround plan for the troubled U.S. automaker.
Nonetheless, observers might be excused for thinking otherwise in light of a plan that projects a doubling of Chrysler’s U.S. sales, by 2014, and a huge bump in market share, as well.
The good news is that Marchionne is no novice. The Canadian-educated executive pulled off a similarly unlikely revival of Fiat, starting nearly six years ago. Now, the Italian automaker will lend its talent, engineering and financial resources to Chrysler, which it gained control of as part of the U.S. maker’s bankruptcy.
But most of all, Fiat will lend product, plenty of it, most notably the pint-sized Cinquicento, or 500, which will arrive in U.S. showrooms in 2013. In all, said Marchionne, wrapping up the eight-hour session, Fiat-derived vehicles will account for roughly 50% of Chrysler’s volume-weighted product mix by the time the five-year revival plan wraps up.
And the European automaker’s diesel and small gasoline engines will make up around 40% of Chrysler’s powertrains. Smaller displacement engines, and high efficiency technology, such as the Fiat Multiair direct injection system, will combine to boost Chrysler’s fleet averaged mileage 25% by 2014, Marchionne said.