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Is FCA Ready to Sell Off Jeep and Ram?

Marchionne's casual comment raises questions about carmaker’s future.

by on Apr.27, 2017

The most powerful SUV on the market, the 707 hp Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

It was the sort of casual comment that many of those listening in on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earnings conference call just might have missed, but a single word from FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne could signal some massive changes to come.

For several years, the CEO has made no effort to hide his interest in finding a partner for the smallest of the Detroit-based automakers. During a call with analysts and reporters to discuss FCA’s strong first-quarter earnings Marchionne was asked if his strategy might even include the idea of selling off the company’s crown jewels, the Jeep and Ram brands.

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“Yes,” Marchionne said, before moving on to other topics. And, curiously, those on the call let the subject drop without a single follow-up query.

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Ferrari Stock Surges on First Day

But can it maintain that momentum?

by on Oct.22, 2015

FCA and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne (front right in sweater) launches trading in RACE stock.

With the New York Stock Exchange symbol RACE, one might expect a new stock to take off like, well, a Ferrari Formula One race car – and that’s precisely what happened as the Italian automaker launched its long-awaited IPO.

Ferrari’s first-day surge was all the more impressive considering its stock initially was priced at $52, at the upper end of the anticipated offering. While RACE shares didn’t quite have the explosive power of a Google IPO, they still managed to end Wednesday trading at $55. And that gives the exclusive sports car company a market value of $10.4 billion.

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The strong reception was especially welcome on Wall Street at a time when several other closely-watched IPOs, including Digicel Group Ltd., were either canceled or postponed or delivered weaker-than-expected results.

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Ferrari Set to Launch IPO

“Potentially risky,” but investors could reward a strong upside potential.

by on Oct.20, 2015

Ferrari unveiled the new 488 Spider at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month.

The new Ferrari 488 Spider will launch you from 0 to 60 in barely three seconds. Now, parent Fiat Chrysler is hoping Ferrari itself will burn rubber when it launches trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.

The trans-Atlantic automaker recently announced plans to sell off a 10% stake in Ferrari at somewhere between $48 and $52 a share, the actually price set to be announced today. That’s a fair bit higher than many analysts had expected when plans for an IPO were first announced last year – and that reflects FCA’s optimism that the Ferrari brand will become one of the rare gotta-have automotive stocks.

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There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. As many Wall Street traders might tell you, there’s a long waiting line for Ferrari sports cars, something the Italian maker hopes to tap with a modest rise in production. And it is betting it can tap into booming global demand for luxury goods through new licensing agreements that could land the brand’s prancing pony logo on a variety of upscale products.

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Ferrari IPO Process Begins

Exotic maker said to be valued around $9.8 billion.

by on Oct.12, 2015

Ferrari's "prancing pony."

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has launched the long-awaited Initial Public Offering of its Ferrari brand.

As part of what it says will be a “series of transactions to separate Ferrari from FCA,” the maker said Monday it expects to price the exotic sports carmaker’s shares at between $48 and $52 apiece. That would value the entire company at about $9.8 billion – slightly less than the $12 billion some industry analysts had been expecting.

By the Numbers!

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had long resisted a spin-off of the Ferrari brand, but apparently relented as it became apparent the trans-Atlantic automaker needed cash to fund future product development programs for its other U.S. and European brands.

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FCA Sets Ferrari IPO into Motion

Iconic brand intends to retain “exclusivity,” but changes are likely.

by on Jul.23, 2015

Ferrari's 458 Speciale A during its debut at the Paris Motor Show last autumn.

The spin-off for Fiat Chrysler’s Ferrari brand officially got underway this morning as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed the regulatory papers necessary to launch the long-awaited IPO of the iconic sports car maker.

Hoping to raise some desperately needed cash for FCA’s five-year expansion plan, CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to sell off 10% of Ferrari’s shares in the initial public offering. Another 80% will be distributed to existing Fiat Chrysler shareholders. The remaining 10% is currently held by founder Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi.

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“It won’t be a difficult (sell),” Marchionne said earlier this year, reflecting the general expectation that investors will snap up the shares of Ferrari if priced properly. The CEO has said he expects the brand will be valued at around $11 billion.

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Fiat Rolls Out New Version of 500c

Brand looks to play on history to draw buyers.

by on Apr.15, 2015

FCA introduced its 2015 Fiat 500c 1957 Edition hatchback and cabrio models.

The Fiat 500 has earned more than its share of plaudits for its eye-catching design.

The car is instantly recognizable and has certain curb appeal long absent from workaday sedans. But even Fiat Chrysler Automobile diehards admit privately that the 500 is probably too small for the typical American consumer, who wants more room and more power.

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But the car’s diminutive size hasn’t stopped marketing experts at FCA US from making a valiant effort to sell new and different versions of the 500 to American customers. The latest version, which is making its debut in time for spring and summer when the interest in top-down driving peaks, is the new 1957 Edition Cabrio with its soft top. (more…)

FCA Confirms Next-Gen Minivan Gets Plug-in Hybrid

Chrysler’s family haulers expand to include new technology.

by on Feb.13, 2015

Chrysler brand chief, Al Gardner, confirmed that a plug-in hybrid minivan is coming next year.

A key FCA US executive confirmed the new family of Chrysler minivans will include a plug-in hybrid version.

Al Gardner, president and CEO, Chrysler brand – FCA North America , said during an interview at the Chicago Auto Show, the plug-in hybrid is definitely part of the Chrysler brand’s future product plan.

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Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobile Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said he hoped to have the new minivan ready for an unveiling at the next North American International Auto Show in January 2016. (more…)

Alfa Gears Up – Slowly

4C Spider set to be followed by third new model “by the fourth quarter.”

by on Jan.20, 2015

The old Alfa Romeo 159 was sold only in Europe. It's successor will go global, including the U.S.

When automakers added up their sales numbers for 2014, the figures from Alfa Romeo amounted to little more than a rounding error. Returning to the U.S. market mid-year after a two-decade absence, Alfa managed to deliver just 57 vehicles in December.

“It’s a very low volume, and I don’t think anyone’s made any pretenses otherwise,” acknowledged Richard Cox, the brand’s North American director. That said, Cox insists that even those small numbers are a sign that Alfa is on the right path.

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It certainly has big plans. It introduced the new 4C sports car at the New York Auto Show last April. A convertible version, the 4C Spider, debuted last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And, Cox revealed during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, yet another all-new model will debut “by the fourth quarter” of 2015. (more…)

“Ruinous” Practices Threaten Automakers, Warns FCA’s Marchionne

“Overkill” in last year’s recall crisis may have been “the only acceptable answer.”

by on Jan.13, 2015

The auto industry may be looking at increasing sales, but FCA CEO Marchionne is still worried.

The U.S. auto market may be heading into a very good year, but there’s still reason to worry, cautioned FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, during a well-attended media “roundtable” at the opening of the North American International Auto Show.

Like other senior executives gathered for a two–day preview, Marchionne said 2015 is likely to bring further sales gains in the U.S. He also said automakers appear to be showing great restraint in holding back on the “ruinous” practices of the past – such as excess incentives – that nearly destroyed the industry during the depths of the Great Recession.

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Nonetheless, the outspoken Marchionne said there are still reasons to fret. He pointed to the ongoing problem with excess capacity in Europe, and the fact that the auto business is so costly to compete in that a failure of a single major project could put a company at risk of failure.

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First Drive: 2015 Chrysler 300

Value and performance in the same package.

by on Dec.23, 2014

The 2015 Chrysler 300 can be had with full-speed forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.

The Chrysler 300 isn’t exactly a new car.

It’s been around since the middle of the last decade, but the enduring appeal of its exterior design plus the almost constant attention from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles engineers and product planners has turned the 300 into full-sized sedan that can hold its own against more expensive rivals.

What's in a Name!

For one thing, the inside of the 300, initially a wasteland of gray or tan plastic, has been completely rebuilt so the spacious interior with soft-touch materials are presented with artfully selected accents and a variety of textures that serve to create a comfortable ambience throughout the cabin. (more…)