Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will make some bold announcements later this week. The announcements are expected to include a reshuffling of the company’s brands; Marhionne’s final hurrah before retiring from the company next year.
Confidential sources have told Bloomberg Marchionne will likely announce the constriction of the Fiat and Chrysler brands. Fiat is expected to be phased out of North America and China, while Chrysler will be reduced to just the U.S. market.
The moves would not be entirely shocking. Marchionne was quick to relaunch the Fiat brand in North America back in 2010 with the 500, but the brand has seen little sales success since launch. In 2014 the brand sold just over 46,000 vehicles in the U.S., but sales have steadily declined to just under 27,000 units last year. When Fiat was relaunched, U.S. consumers had an appetite for small cars; today the appetite has clearly shifted to utility vehicles.
Speaking of utilities, FCA is expected to announce plans to double-down on utilities, trucks and luxury vehicles. In a move designed to focus on profitability, FCA will focus its efforts on the Jeep brand with a plan to double the brand’s sales by 2022. Marchionne feels doubling the brand’s sales will also double its profit level.
Marchionne is expected to make other announcements as well, including a new captive finance unit for the U.S., similar to Ford and General Motors.
The announcement, scheduled for Friday in Italy, is expected to be the last substantial move by Marchionne aside from recommending a successor. The executive is slated to step aside from FCA in early 2019.