Fed up of seeing the FCA in the news so much? When you can’t get away from it in the FT this week, except the FCA is a different flavour. In their automotive section today there are three headlines, each concerning Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. First of all they have joined Ford in reporting surprising rises in sales during May. In fact a market that was predicted to be down by now is up by 1% year-on-year, with Fiat Chrysler up 11% in the month. A substantial rise.
The American market has put it down to a more robust environment than they expected, and a generational shift from passenger cars to SUVs, in which both brands are particularly strong. As an aside, if you don’t want to report bad news then do what GM have done, stop reporting monthly figures altogether. No one is quite sure whether this is because their figures are bad, or they want to get out of the registration rat race.
In another headline FCA announced that they are to invest €9 billion in developing electric cars and will be launching more than 30 battery or hybrid models over the next four years. Quite an ambitious programme. They are a bit “Johnny come lately” to the electric vehicles market, but see this as a key move to avoid future bans in several European cities, as the internal combustion engine and diesel continues to be demonised.
Finally the company has impressed the markets by simultaneously announcing massive investment and that it is now debt free. Sergio Marchionne, the group’s chief executive, made the important announcement today, saying that by the end of June the company would be in a positive cash position. Considering they were $12.5 billion in debt at the end of 2014 many analysts reckoned it was a near impossible target for the company. Goodness knows how they have done it, that is an awful lot of turning off the office lights to save money, but the feat itself is impressive.
By the way, in case you can help us we are looking for an experienced automotive executive who speaks decent Russian to help out a client of ours based in Dubai but who has links to some of the Russian markets. An exciting, different opportunity, I’m sure there is somebody out there who will help us fulfil this brief. Full details below or on our website.
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