Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reports Monday the company has no plans to break up its brands. The comment comes on the heals of speculation that Chinese automakers were interested in acquiring certain brands from FCA, namely the coveted Jeep brand.
“We’re not going to break up anything,” Marchionne told reporters at a scheduled press conference, reported by Reuters. “We have no intention of breaking it up and giving anything to the Chinese.”
Marchionne suggested the company is going to rely on its Jeep brand to potentially double its profits in the coming years. The company is projecting global volumes of two million Jeeps this year, a new record for the iconic brand. It is planning to erase all of its debt in the coming year and potentially spin off its parts supplier, Magneti Marelli, by the end of 2018.
The executive’s remarks halt speculation that China’s Great Wall was seeking to acquire the Jeep brand from FCA. Speculation has also swirled that South Korea’s Hyundai may also be interested in some form of partnership with FCA.
Marchionne acknowledges the Jeep and Ram brands could survive on their own, but he ponders what would happen to the rest of the FCA portfolio if the two profit centers were to be spun-off.
Although Marchionne remains in charge for now, he is slated to step down in 2019. A replacement for him is expected to come from within FCA, but the executive shuffle could certainly change the strategy over at FCA.
For now, it sounds like interested parties have to either buy all of FCA or none of it.