DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne today said the company will move forward as a single global automaker.
He kicked off Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s all-day presentation of its five-year product and business plan at company headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.
“Today we stand before you as a global carmaker," Marchionne said. "Today is much more than a new chapter. We are beginning to write a completely new book.”
Cultural integration of Fiat and Chrysler is a crucial part of the plan, he said. Many auto mergers in the past have failed due to mistrust, he added.
In the past five years, Chrysler and Fiat executives have learned to trust each other, he said. Both companies are survivors, which helps them relate to each other.
"The leadership team is diverse," he said. "It’s made up of a team of survivors who have been to hell and back. They know what it feels like to be lost and beyond hope."
But the focus for the combined company will be on execution.
The group has repeatedly missed sales targets as it delayed investments, made some bad design choices and has seen its main European business lose share and plunge into losses during a six-year market slump.
Apart from repeating its overall goal of growing sales by more than a third to over 6 million vehicles by 2018, investors want Marchionne to provide specifics on how and when he plans to compete with much larger rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and Volkswagen Group.
"Fiat Chrysler has got to stop saying they will do it and just do it," said Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at researchers IHS Automotive. "We are waiting for the execution."
Marchionne will cover the billions of euros in investments planned for new Alfa Romeos, Maseratis and Jeeps out of existing funds, without selling or spinning off any of the automaker's brands, people familiar with the matter said. Analysts have been speculating whether Ferrari would be partially spun off to raise cash.