Fiat Chrysler CEO says major shift on way for N. American plants

Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:37pm EST
 
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By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT Jan 11 (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler's Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Monday the company plans to make significant shifts to its North American production footprint, which will be announced as part of the company's quarterly financial results on Jan. 27.

Marchionne indicated that the company will further respond to the shift in consumer tastes toward large SUVs and pickup trucks and crossovers of all sizes.

"In view of the way that the market has shifted in the U.S., in what we consider to be a permanent change... these things are going to set the tone for the way in which we allocate products moving forward," he said.

Marchionne, speaking to reporters at the Detroit auto show, said there will be no jobs lost or plant closings as a result of the shifts, which will mostly be where models are made.

He declined to answer a question about shifting production between the United States and Mexico, saying that those details, along with an update of the company's five-year plan, will be revealed on Jan. 27.

Several automakers have been shifting production away from the higher cost United States to Mexico, particularly for less profitable cars, and favoring large-vehicle production in the United States and Canada.

He also said that Fiat Chrysler will make its financial targets of zero industrial debt and operating profit of 9 billion euros by 2018.

He said that he will stay at his post running Fiat Chrysler through 2018 and the end of the current five-year plan for the company. He said that several Fiat Chrysler executives are in positions that put them "in training" to be his successor. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bill Rigby)