This week, the Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot merger was confirmed, finally bringing now-deceased former FCA head Sergio Marchionne’s dream to reality. The future of FCA’s brands are unclear, but a recent earnings call should shed some light on the situation.
Current FCA CEO Mike Manley outlined some of the company’s next steps during a third-quarter earnings call with investors, according to Motor Trend, which was also on the call. Manley did not elaborate further about the merger deal, but detailed some plans for Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat.
From that story:
The difference is this conference call comes a day after FCA and PSA announced plans to merge. And the brands most likely to be impacted are Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Fiat.
Manley said he would not elaborate much about the deal that came together quickly because the two companies know each other well. He did say the agreement, which will take a while to formalize, brings together two strong complementary businesses with significant potential for value to be released. And the move is consistent with what Marchionne said in the final years of his life: that mergers are needed for a strong auto industry.
Manley said he’s cut back on inventory by 7,000 units this year and switched up leadership, Motor Trend reports. To him, it was apparently worth losing $50 millionto “bring stocks in line.” All these changes were deemed necessary in order for Maserati to make money again next year.
Then there will be a portfolio renewal. By 2023, “electrification will be a hallmark of the brand.” To start, we’ll see a Ghibli hybrid next year and then the Alfieri sports car (coupe first, then convertible) will follow later on. The Alfieri, which will likely replace the aging Gran Turismo, will come as either a plug-in hybrid or fully electric car.
“That,” according to Motor Trend, “will be the pivot point for Maserati to enter the electric world; from then on all future Maseratis will have a full battery-electric option.” Exciting stuff.
Next up is Alfa Romeo. Things don’t seem great there.
Manley said, “In the near term, the new portfolio for the brand is significantly scaled back with a corresponding reduction in capital spending.” It’s not completely clear what that entails, but probably means that cool Alfa 8C mid-engine hybrid supercar thingy probably won’t happen.
Not surprising. Alfa’s U.S. sales have been quite dismal, with even the Stelvio crossover failing to make a big impact.
As for poor Fiat? No new products planned. This is following the announcement the Fiat 500 and 500e would be discontinued in North America. Instead, Fiat will focus its efforts on B-segment cars and the European market.
It sounds to me like FCA is hinging its electric future on Maserati while cutting back on the two other brands to make that happen. And it needs to, since FCA is currently lagging behind all the other major automakers in offering some kind of electrified option.