The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will ultimately show that FCA has done nothing wrong, FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said today.
The SEC is investigating whether FCA deliberately misstated its sales results during the past five years. Dealers have sued FCA over the sales reporting practices, including a Chicago area dealer claiming it amounted to fraud.
FCA restated its sales totals for the five years and conceded its long string of monthly sales increases actually ended in 2013.
“The system goes back to the 1980s. We inherited (it),” said Marchionne, noting there is no uniform sales reporting system across the industry. Each automaker has its own, he said.
Marchionne also said FCA has not yet found a partner to build small and midsized passenger cars.
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The FCA CEO announced back in January that FCA planned to shift more of its production capacity to building trucks and sport utility vehicles, which are more popular with American consumers than passenger cars.
Marchionne visited a stamping plant in suburban Detroit to discuss the completion of $166 million investment that will allow the plant to produce 30% more truck and SUV components. The plant will also export stampings to FCA plants in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.
Marchionne also declined to comment on reports that Magneti Marelli, the Italian-based parts making subsidiary of Fiat, Chrysler Automobiles N.V., will be sold to Samsung the South Korean electronics giant.
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“I don’t want to comment on Magneti Marelli,” he said. “I have said long term Magneti Marelli would benefit from being outside Fiat.”
Magneti Marelli designs and produces advanced systems and components, including electronics, lighting, powertrain elements, suspension systems, shock absorbers and exhaust systems.
It operates 89 factories and 12 research and development center in 19 countries, approximately 40,500 employees with annual sales of 7.3 billion euros in 2015. It supplies major carmakers in Europe, North and South America and Asia. It also has a major aftermarket business.
(Grand jury reportedly probing FCA sales reporting practices. Click Here for more.)
Marchionne also said Fiat Chrysler and its subsidiaries were starting to provide resources to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in central Italy.