Can FCA do it? Don't bet against Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne's presentation of his five-year plan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was bold and candid, as we have come to expect from the Canadian-Italian CEO.

For all the comprehensive detail laid out over 12 hours at Chrysler's U.S. headquarters last Tuesday, much of the plan's power rests on Marchionne himself.

With his presence and unconventional manner, he captures the attention of the global auto industry in a way no other auto executive can match.

Nobody else has the audacity to detail so much of his company's future initiatives and product plans for the world to see. The approach also fully communicates the plan in detail to every employee, supplier and dealer.

Meanwhile, Marchionne makes others in the industry look timid and secretive.

But personal style cannot obscure how challenging it will be for Fiat Chrysler to reach the targets. Despite Marchionne's explanation, there are doubts about how the automaker will raise the capital it needs.

It's the third time Marchionne has laid out ambitious five-year objectives for Fiat or Chrysler or both. And he has met enough of the past objectives to gain credibility that he can do it again.

Such openness is a gamble for the automaker. If Fiat Chrysler achieves the goals, the company has a bright future. If the plan -- or Marchionne's leadership -- falters, everybody will see it. But Marchionne and the successes achieved by the people he leads have earned them another chance.



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