Chrysler’s Next Chapter, Sergio Marchionne, et alia
Skeptics in Detroit and Washington never thought that Sergio Marchionne, a baritone voiced Italian-Canadian, would take Chrysler (a beaten, used company) to new heights. In the last few months Chrysler’s sales have risen 24%. In spite of this, some of my colleagues have recently commented that if Fiat pulls the plug, then Chrysler is back to square one! I have some news for them: Fiat is not saving Chrysler, Chrysler is saving Fiat.
Chrysler-Fiat synergy could lead both organizations to an enviable and competitive position in the global market, barring any UFOs (unexpected future occurrences). Chrysler’s combined purchasing and procurement power with Fiat’s global footprint – especially in the BRIC countries – could increase both companies’ product portfolios globally. To support global growth in products, technology innovations must be fed in real-time to vehicle line groups. These innovations must come from a strong R & D group. Fiat’s research center, commonly known as Centro Recherché Fiat (CRF), is a world-class research organization, which among other things, dedicates itself to design, engineering and manufacturing R & D in body, conventional and alternate propulsions, and total vehicles systems and sub-systems. Overall, Marchionne’s hands-on approach and leadership have positioned both Chrysler and Fiat as winners.
However, even in a clear sky, clouds sometimes appear. Chrysler’s product lineup needs de-boxing and its global entries and intros need revisiting. Chrysler needs to revamp its design, R & D, and powertrain groups. Maybe they are already progressing in all of these fronts. If not, in my opinion, it is a must for long-term growth. Coming back to UFOs, Italy still has to deal with the fallout of decades of dysfunctional governments. The European market is unpredictable and growth is uncertain. The adaptation to these dynamic changes is impegnativo.
In this time of corporate and cultural narcissism, maintaining a delicate balance of profit, labor, management and growth is a daunting challenge and a surmounting task – is Marchionne, et al. up to the task?
Dr. M. Nasim Uddin