Marchionne on Chinese market: ‘third time serious’
Sergio Marchionne indicated Fiat does not intend on repeating history, after they entered the Chinese market two times without success. On a press conference in Beijing during the presentation of the new Fiat Viaggio, Marchionne said “this time it is on, I’ve worked 8 years on this”. Keeping in mind that time means money, the Chinese market has slowed down compared to previous periods; a growth of ‘only’ 4% was realized in Q1. But the CEO thinks local authorities have responded well by cooling down the economic growth. The Fiat Group wants to expand in China, particularly with the new Fiat Viaggio and the Dodge Dart (all based on the Alfa Giulietta). Later on Fiat will also export the 500. Alfa Romeo will also enter the Chinese market “after we’ve introduced it in the US.”
At the moment Fiat is growing in Asia where numbers are still relatively modest compared to other manufacturers. Jeep has a strong presence in China and is currently the most popular of the FGA brands. Last year around 22,000 units were sold, a growth of +81%. Mike Manley, chief responsible at Jeep was satisfied and expects a comparable growth for this year. For Europe and Italy in particular, Marchionne told this month is getting “technically better” but structural improvements are not a present issue: “compared to 2007, we’ve lost 40% Italian customers”. Last night the CEO headed off to Detroit where he will host a board of directors meeting to present FGA Q1 results; results that will stand out compared to those for the Italian peninsula.