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FCA Earnings Increase Overwhelmed by Sales Reporting Scandal

Maker says profit rose 25% for second quarter.

by on Jul.27, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has reason to celebrate Q2 - albeit cautiously.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a 25% year-over-year increase in profits for the second quarter, despite hefty recall costs, thanks to strong demand in North America and Europe. That has led the maker to up its guidance for all of 2016.

But recalls aren’t the only problems the maker is dealing with. The trans-Atlantic automaker yesterday acknowledged misreporting its sales numbers in recent years, a problem that has reportedly led to a grand jury investigation. The problem could lead to closer scrutiny by industry analysts and investors.

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“Overall we had a good quarter,” Fiat Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said during a conference call with analysts and reporters.

FCA earned 321 million euros, or $352 million, for the second quarter, a 25% jump from last year’s 257 million euros, or $282 million.

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Beijing Auto Show Puts Spotlight on SUVs

Demand for conventional passenger cars enters a rare slump.

by on Apr.21, 2016

Production of the new Jeep Renegade began this past week in Guangzhou.

It’s taken a little longer than in the U.S., but Chinese motorists are falling in love with the SUV – and that could be the salvation of a market suddenly in slowdown mode after more than 15 years of double-digit growth.

The Beijing Auto Show will serve as a showcase for an assortment of new vehicles this coming week, including a variety of sedans, coupes and minivans. But much of the attention is expected to be focused on the various SUVs – both in concept and production form – scheduled to debut there.

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“The Chinese market is slowing down, with the exception of SUVs,” said Michael Dunne, a veteran Chinese industry analyst who now runs the strategic consulting firm Dunne Automotive.

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With New Plant in India, Jeep Set to Build SUVs on Four Continents

All-new model planned for $280 million plant in Ranjangaon.

by on Jul.02, 2015

The new Renegade marked a turning point for Jeep which is producing it in Italy, rather than the US.

Little more than a domestic American brand just a few years ago, Jeep is going global, expanding both its distribution network to markets as far flung as Berlin, Beijing and Mumbai. It will soon have production facilities, meanwhile, on four continents.

The subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed this week that it will invest $280 million as part of a joint manufacturing venture with India’s Tata Motors. The factory will produce several vehicles, including both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and an all-new model, company officials indicated.

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That project is an “important step as we continue to expand the availability of Jeep products around the world,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said.

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Pickup, Plug-in Hybrid Appear on Jeep’s Horizons

Maker looks for new options, new models as it aims to double sales.

by on Mar.19, 2015

The shape of things to come? The Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder concept could be followed - eventually - by a production Wrangler pickup.

Looking to nearly double global sales by 2018 – while also having to address increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy standards — Jeep is looking at a variety of product and powertrain options that could include a new pickup as well as the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, revealed CEO Mike Manley.

Jeep recently launched its smallest model, the new Renegade, and is gaining momentum in markets as diverse as Beijing and Berlin. It is adding new factory capacity in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is set to make a critical decision about future production at its ancestral home in Toledo, Ohio.

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It is “a transformational year,” said Manley, during a preview of seven concept SUVs Jeep will take out onto the trails during its annual Easter Safari in Moab, Utah.

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Jeep Shows Off Four Beijing Concepts, Plans to Launch China Production

Fiat Chrysler aims to gain momentum in world’s largest car market.

by on Apr.20, 2014

The Jeep Cherokee Urbane, one of four concept vehicles the maker is showing in Beijing.

Beijing Auto Show-goers will get a look at four new Jeep concept vehicles this week, vehicles the maker said are “uniquely designed for China,” the world’s largest automotive market.

But perhaps more significant is the news that parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has finally locked down a long-sought joint venture that will allow it to begin producing Jeeps in China for the first time in nearly a decade. The SUV brand was the first foreign maker into China but lost that Beijing production base after the break-up of DaimlerChrysler AG.

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The tie-up with China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group is a critical step for Jeep which has been pushing to expand its presence abroad in recent years. The maker sold 731,000 vehicles worldwide in 2013 and brand CEO Michael Manley recently announced a target of 1 million for 2014, well ahead of earlier plans.

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Fiat Chrysler Hopes to Boost Global Production by 25%

CEO Marchionne aiming for 6 mil target by 2018.

by on Apr.02, 2014

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has big plans in mind for the newly-merged company.

Automakers often talk about economies of scale – a moving target in an industry where industry giants like Toyota Motor Co., General Motors and Volkswagen AG are all shooting to reach 10 million annual sales during the next year or so.

By comparison, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is little more than an also-ran, with a total worldwide sales volume of “just” 4.4 million vehicles last year, and a goal of 4.6 million in 2014. But with the company’s formal merger of its U.S. and Italian operations now complete, CEO Sergio Marchionne has some big aspirations.  He is targeting a nearly 25% increase in production over the next four years.

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“By 2018, Fiat will be able to make more than 6 million cars,” Marchionne said after a shareholders’ meeting in Turin, where the Fiat side of the company is headquartered. “I don’t want to give any details of the plan, but we are going in that direction.”

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Despite Setbacks, Jeep Sets a Global Sales Record

Sales surge despite Cherokee launch delays.

by on Jan.07, 2014

Despite a slow start of production with the Jeep Cherokee, Jeep sales set a new record.

Despite the painfully long delays in launching production of the new Cherokee model, sales of Chrysler’s Jeep brand products hit an all-time global sales record for the second year in a row.

Jeep, the cornerstone of Fiat/Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne plans to remake the Italian-American automaker , delivered 731,565 vehicles across the globe, beating the previous record of 701,626 established in 2012.

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Ever since taking over management of Chrysler after its 2009 bankruptcy, Marchionne has been keen to exploit the potential of the Jeep brand, which he has noted has a strong reputation around the world but which needed the broader distribution network that Fiat could provide.

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Chrysler Wants IPO Ready by Year-End

“That horse left the barn,” says CEO Marchionne.

by on Oct.30, 2013

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at an awards ceremony for suppliers.

After repeatedly delaying plans for a public stock offering and then suggesting Fiat might sever its ties with Chrysler if it went ahead with an IPO, the CEO of the two automakers now says he’s ready to put the process into overdrive.

“That horse left the barn,” Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne told reporters and analysts during a news conference called to discuss the maker’s third-quarter earnings. “We are now bent on executing the IPO.  I hope that we can get it done by the end of this year.”

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Fiat initially acquired a 20% stake in the U.S. maker following Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy in mid-2009.  Through a series of steps it has increased its holdings to 58.5%, and Marchionne has repeatedly expressed Fiat’s interest in acquiring the remaining 41.5% held by a union retiree health care trust. But the two sides are battling over the worth of the United Auto Workers Union’s holdings in a Delaware court and the union is now pressing to let the market set the price with an IPO.

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Chrysler Net Income Surges 22%

Strong truck sales drive results – but mask other problems.

by on Oct.30, 2013

Strong demand for the Ram pickup -- the 2014 diesel model shown here -- buoyed Chrysler's Q3 earnings.

The resurgent boom in pickup sales was good news for the Chrysler Group which saw net income surge by 22% during the third quarter, in sharp contrast to the declines posted by both of the maker’s cross-town rivals.

Chrysler earned $464 million during the July to September period, up from $381 million the year before, marking the once-bankrupt automaker’s nine consecutive quarterly profit. Revenues, meanwhile, jumped 13.5%, to $17.6 billion, on the sale of 603,000 vehicles. That was an increase of 8% from a year ago.

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But barely one in seven of Chrysler’s products – 82,000 in all — were sold outside North America, in sharp contrast to the results at General Motors and Ford Motor Co., who now depend on overseas markets for the majority of their demand and an increasing share of their revenues. And there are other challenges revealed by Chrysler’s latest earnings report.

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Chrysler Grabs #1 Spot in Canada

Strong demand “North of the Border” offsets other problems.

by on Apr.04, 2013

Oh, Canada! Chrysler takes a rare lead.

Fiat/Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has had some tough times lately trying to launch production in China while hoping to revive a faltering deal in Russia. Then there’s the challenge of a crumbling European car market that has hammered the Italian side of the trans-Atlantic automaker – so it’s good to be getting a lift from one corner of the globe.

Chrysler is now the sales leader in Canada, nudging its way in the relatively small market past traditional industry leader General Motors, as well as rival Ford Motor Co. and Japanese giant Toyota. With its strong network of rural dealers, Chrysler’s unexpected dominance “North of the Border” serves to provide some credibility to Marchionne’s ongong efforts to build Chrysler/Fiat into a global power house.

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(It also comes as a point of personal celebration for the Fiat/Chrysler CEO who grew up in Canada.)

Up until now, Marchionne’s efforts, while scoring some impressive results in the U.S., have still been greeted by a large measure of skepticism by analysts who don’t believe the American-Italian company can compete long-term.

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