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Fiat Sales Target Cut in Half

Marchionne may “shift resources” from Italy to Detroit.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Chrysler and Fiat were "incredibly naive" in their sales forecasts, admitted Marchionne.

Chrysler is sharply scaling back its plans for the U.S. roll-out of the Italian Fiat brand following an unexpectedly slow launch last year, but Sergio Marchionne, who serves as CEO of both sides of the trans-Atlantic Chrysler-Fiat alliance, insists that the shortfall does not mean the Italian brand has failed in its bid to return to the U.S. market after a decades-long absence.

In a roundtable session with reporters during the 2012 North American International Auto Show, Marchionne said he expects to cut by roughly half the number of cars Fiat expects to sell in the U.S. until it can better establish itself with additional products beyond the pint-sized Fiat 500 that debuted a little over a year ago — admitting the initial forecasts were “incredibly naive.”

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In a wide-ranging conversation, the Canadian-educated executive also noted that given the ongoing problems with Europe’s economy – as well as resistance to change by Italian unions — he is given serious thought to moving more of Fiat’s headquarters operations to the U.S.

The one thing Marchionne said he has “not a single doubt about,” 30 months after Fiat helped pull Chrysler out of bankruptcy, is that “Fiat needs Chrysler as much as Chrysler needs Fiat.”