► PSA-Opel/Vauxhall deal just the start
► Fiat Chrysler chief open to deals
► ‘This industry must bring down costs’
Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne made clear he was still open to offers from possible partners, as he seeks to navigate a healthy future for the car maker in the wake of the PSA-GM tie-up in Europe.
‘This deal is a good step in the right direction,’ he told reporters at the Geneva motor show. ‘I’m not sure it’s the one I would have done though.’
The Turin top brass extolled the virtues of his counterpart at Peugeot Citroen, Carlos Tavares, saying that he was a skilled operator. ‘He is good at over-delivering,’ he said. ‘He will achieve the cost savings promised by 2026 earlier than that.’
What next for Fiat Chrysler in the lonely hearts column?
Marchionne recalled how he too had courted GM in the aftermath of the global financial crisis last decade, only for GM to close the door.
The merged Fiat Chrysler operation has gone on to achieve some transatlantic success, especially with its Jeep brand (new Compass at Geneva, below). But the CEO, who told reporters he is likely to lead the company until around 2019-20, admitted he’s still open to offers.
‘The right thing for this industry is to bring down its costs,’ he said. ‘I never close any doors.’
Excess capacity: Europe’s blight
Marchionne said that Chapter 11 proceedings in America led to huge swathes of capacity being removed. In fact, he admitted that FCA doesn’t really make cars in the US any more - only SUVs and trucks.
‘I believed then and I believe now that there has to be rationalisation of excess capacity. Unfortunately, if you look at what has happened [in Europe] very little has been taken out.
‘You need scale in this business. If you don’t you will end up with appallingly low margins. That’s not healthy in the long run.’
More from the 2017 Geneva motor show