Once a mainstay on American highways, Chrysler is now driving toward an uncertain future. Its partnership with Daimler-Benz has been replaced by one with Fiat, and while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has kept its head above water (thanks to America’s obsession with pickup trucks and the unyielding power of Jeep brand loyalty), the rest of the business raises more than a few questions. What is Fiat’s true future in the U.S. market? Will Alfa Romeo and its Giulia succeed today after a reputation for unreliability sunk them in 1995? And with only a midsize sedan with a questionable future, a full-size stalwart in a shrinking segment, and the 2017 Pacifica in a crossover-crazy era, can Chrysler stay afloat?
Is Chrysler ready for another merger?
The U.S. automaker recently wrapped up a takeover by Italian automaker Fiat and was subsequently renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA.
Now FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has his eyes on another merger:
A takeover of General Motors.
It’s probably the strangest Ferrari ever built.
The Ferrari Sergio looks like it’s facing the wrong direction—it has the rear haunches of a Veyron and the front dimensions of a poorly designed Hot Wheels model.
The irony behind the Sergio’s odd design is that it was built to honor Sergio Pininfarina, the legendary designer who created many of the trademark Ferrari shapes.
Even crazier, Ferrari will build only 6 copies of the Sergio, each of which is already spoken for, at a price that probably exceeds $2.5 million each.
Needless to say you can’t buy one. But soon you’ll be able to buy a part of Ferrari itself, as the company will be sold out from Fiat’s ownership. Sort of.
Thanks to some arguing and name-calling in Europe, used Volkswagens just went up in value by a thousand bucks in the U.S.
How can a European tiff turn into a financial incentive in the United States? Because the auto market is truly international, and when an Italian automaker wants to prove a point against a German competitor, it looks to assets in the U.S. to drive that point home.
The throwdown in question is between Chrysler/FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne and the entire Volkswagen empire.
On a flight from Los Angeles to Portland yesterday, I sat near actor Sam Elliott, he of “Ghost Rider” and “We Were Soldiers” fame. I thought that was pretty cool, but quickly forgot about Mr. Elliott when I noticed that my seat-mate looked an awful lot like Sergio Marchionne.
I couldn’t figure out why the FIAT/Chrysler CEO would be on a commercial flight, much less sitting all the way back in seat 27E, but there were a few moments there when I was sure I’d struck car-blog gold and would have two hours of Sergio to myself.
Upon further review and a few awkward questions, I discovered that the Italian man in the sweater was not Mr. Marchionne, but rather a perfectly friendly engineer on his way to see his new baby granddaughter in Oregon. Dang-it.
Had I been fortunate enough to sit next to the real Sergio, there are some questions I would have loved to ask him.