Marchionne to update Fiat-Chrysler plan due to Europe woes

Mon Oct 8, 2012 9:40pm EDT
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By Bernie Woodall

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Fiat SpA FIA.MI and Chrysler Group LLC, will revise 2-year growth plans for both automakers later this month to reflect the slump in European auto sales since 2009.

European car sales fell 8.5 percent in August for an 11th straight monthly decline and several auto executives said last month that a European rebound was unlikely within two years.

That raised questions about Fiat's ability to meet targets laid out in its five-year growth plan that was announced in 2010. Marchionne outlined a separate five-year plan for Chrysler in late 2009.

Marchionne, who has led both automakers for more than three years, will outline his new 2013-2014 forecast for Fiat-Chrysler on Oct 30, he told reporters on Monday in Columbus, Ohio.

"You will see an update of what we think will happen in 2013 and 2014," he said, before delivering a speech on creative advertising. "To assume that the 2010 data that was put out in Europe is going to be confirmed is nonsense."

Chrysler exited government-funded bankruptcy protection in 2009 under the management control of Italian automaker Fiat, which was also given a 20 percent stake in the U.S. automaker.

Since its bankruptcy, Chrysler has become Fiat's main source of strength as auto demand in Europe contracts. The combined Fiat-Chrysler group now makes more than two-thirds of its profits in the United States.

"How the group overall compensates for that shortfall is another issue because we've got other businesses and other operations that have come a long way," Marchionne said Monday at the event held at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University.   Continued...

Fiat-Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne gestures during the official presentation of the new Fiat 500L car in downtown Turin July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino