It’s not usually news when the head of a car company spends big for fancy new digs. But Sergio Marchionne’s decision to set up housekeeping in suburban Detroit could hint at the future of the Chrysler-Fiat combine he runs.
The 9,000-square-foot lakefront home Marchionne purchased in Commerce Township for $3.9 million is expected to become his primary house. He also bought a nearby house for $1.4 million that will be used as a guest home, according to sister publication Crain’s Detroit Business.
Marchionne is famous for flying frequently across the Atlantic, tending to the affairs of both companies. When working at Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., he has bedded down in a nearby condo. The purchases suggest he will spend more time in the United States and focus more on Chrysler.
Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, and Chrysler is generating all of the group’s profit these days. The move also feeds speculation that the Chrysler and Fiat headquarters could be located in Auburn Hills. Marchionne has said he plans to merge the Italian and American companies by the end of 2014.
Marchionne, 59, who now splits his time about evenly between the United States and Italy, has never really settled in Fiat’s hometown of Turin during his eight years with the company. He lives in a small flat in the city center. His ex-wife kept the family’s villa near Geneva.