Sergio Marchionne interview from Detroit
You can watch the press conference of Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne at this link. It is an interview which lasts for half an hour, but it’s definitely worth your time as Marchionne answers the questions in his very own style (and after you’ve watched the entire interview, you’d think that Marchionne’s voice is the inspiration for Maserati’s V8-noise). He, for example, tells one journalist that he can’t reveal all the launch dates of all the cars, but that “you should have them tattooed on your arm, I had them imprinted on my private parts”. The CEO is playing his cards close to the chest on this matter.
The interview mainly deals with American projects, but Alfa Romeo comes up as well. Marchionne was very straightforward; he put the Milanese brand right alongside Maserati and even said it will be the basis of Fiat’s ‘premium’-industry for the next years. Rushing things is absolutely not an option, he said. The brand needs to be carefully built up and the models need to be absolutely perfect once they are launched. Developing the right powertrains and platform-techniques and introducing the cars on the right moment are all things which need to be worked out, and that takes time. Furthermore, a brand as Alfa Romeo only gets one chance to get it right given the current circumstances. These are all reasons why the launch date of the 4C has not yet been revealed by the CEO. The development of this ‘business card’ of Alfa Romeo is ongoing, but the car is not yet ready for production, according to Marchionne.
What is really noticeable during this entire interview is that Marchionne raises the bar to a very high level for the Italian brands, and does so with vigor and enthusiasm. When asked whether the Fiat-group has a sufficient amount of brands at its disposal, he joked about taking over VW but then answered in all seriousness; no brands will be added to our current range and none shall disappear. Lancia was also mentioned, on which he said that the brand isn’t able to function on its own because it does not dispose of sufficient assets, but that it will live on, especially in Italy, by means of Chrysler-models.