Investors are buzzing after Fiat Chrysler (FIATY.PK) CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the Italian-based automaker will have the potential to increase annual deliveries as much as 55 percent, to 7 million vehicles, after its merger with Chrysler Group. Industry observers are awaiting his reveal of the new strategic plan for the combined automaker in May.
“We have the capability to reach that level of production,” Bloomberg quoted the CEO as saying on Monday at the automaker’s annual meeting in Turin. “We are equipped to go on the attack against the giants in our industry.”
Marchionne added that companies need to move about 7 million vehicles per year in the future to remain competitive; Fiat and Chrysler deliveries this year are expected to fall at just 4.5 million to 4.6 million vehicles. However, the company has a few aces up its sleeve that it’s pinning future growth prospects on, like the new Chrysler 200 sedan.
The CEO hopes that the combined company — which will be primarily listed in New York and registered in the Netherlands — will one day be able to compete on a scale more aligned with Volkswagen AG (VLKAY.PK) and General Motors (NYSE:GM), both of which sold more than 9 million units last year.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently the seventh-largest automaker in the world; Volkswagen and General Motors are both shooting for 10 million-plus in sales for this year, more than double Fiat Chrysler’s projected total. Details of how Fiat Chrysler plans to tackle such expansive growth will be laid out in Marchionne’s business plan, in which he will also discuss financing and new models once the merger is fully completed.
With the purchase of the rest of Chrysler from an employees’ healthcare trust, all obstacles have now removed to the combination, he said, per Bloomberg. “Fiat and Chrysler have, in reality, already been operating for some time as a single entity,” he added.
In addition to the new 200 sedan, Fiat Chrysler is hoping to gain share with its Ram brand and the new EcoDiesel 1500, which has already showed robust demand. The Jeep brand will also be another strong vehicle for growth for the company as it works toward the launch of the new mini-crossover, the Renegade.