Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) boss Sergio Marchionne has put to bed speculation that Jeep could be sold off to raise money or that the whole group could be sold to a Chinese manufacturer such as GAC.
“We have no intention of breaking up the company or giving it to the Chinese,” Sergio Marchionne, whose company builds cars in China with GAC, confirmed at the Detroit motor show.
“We have a very good partner in GAC. They have global ambitions, they want to come to the US and we're talking to them about if and how they can accomplish that. None of that is designed to impact on the independence of FCA.”
Marchionne, who will retire from his position in 2019, went on to confirm the importance of strong brands in a potential future of autonomous and electrified vehicles. He stressed that vehicles risked being reduced to 'commodity' status without the appeal of strong brands like Alfa Romeo or Maserati.
He added that the success of Alfa Romeo’s renaissance, which he said remained in the “nursery” phase, was crucial to the technical credibility of Maserati going forward.
One element of FCA that's likely to be divested from the group, however, is automotive components supplier Magneti Marelli, with a sale to FCA shareholders possible by the end of the year, according to Marchionne.
More generally, the charismatic CEO restated his reluctance to make the kind of ambitious pronouncements on EVs and driverless cars that have been made by competitors such as Ford, General Motors and Nissan.
He said that hybrids and EVs will inevitably become 'mandatory' in a post-Dieselgate Europe, though, due to the stringent punishments that car makers will face for missing fleet-average CO2 emissions targets.