The plans, unveiled at an investor day in the US yesterday (6 May), include a focus on growing sales in the European market, where FCA has struggled in recent years as the recession slowed vehicle sales. The group says it is perceived as being dependent on small models, such as the Fiat 500, in the mass market and that it needs to move up market to boost sales and revenues and compete with rivals such as Volkswagon.
The car marque plans to introduce 34 new or revamped models to its portfolio in EMEA to drive a 27 per cent increase in sales to 1.5 million. That includes the reintroduction of the Alfa Romeo brand to consumers as “innovative, groundbreaking and distinctly Italian” and increasing the presence of Jeep in the upmarket sector. It will continue Fiat’s focus on targeting budget-conscious consumers as it looks to eliminate overlaps between its brands.
It also rejected rumours that it might sell its stake in luxury car marque Ferrari and outlined ambitions to quadruple sales of its upscale Maserati brand to 75,000 by introducing new models including a convertible and sports coupe. Chrysler meanwhile, will be repositioned away from the premium end to become the “mainstream North American” brand and take on rivals such as Ford, Honda and Toyota and will expand from three segments of the car market to six by 2018.
FCA, which is the seventh largest auto maker in the world following its acquisition of Chrysler, said it would spend €48bn on research and development and capital investments, with significant backing for marketing. It also unveiled its new logo at its Detroit headquarters, aimed at symbolising the new beginning for the company, although final board approval of the tie-up won’t happen until July.
Speaking to investors, Marchionne said: “Today is much more than a new chapter. We are writing an entire new book.”