Fiat CEO: We Can Make A Better Tesla Model 3 Rival In 12 Months, But We Don’t Want To

APR 16 2016 BY JAY COLE 142

Noted denier of the viability of plug-in vehicles, FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne was back on his worldwide tour of casting aspersions on the technology today.

Apparently Creating A Game-Changing, All-Electric Vehicle Is Only A Snap Of The Fingers For Italian Automaker Fiat

Apparently Creating A Game-Changing, All-Electric Vehicle Is Only A Snap Of The Fingers For Italian Automaker Fiat

Today’s edition comes to us from via a Q&A session with the press following a shareholder meeting in Amsterdam.

When asked about the success that Tesla has found with some 325,000 reservations on the recently revealed a Model 3 (which is currently now crossing 400,000 in actual fact),  the CEO said he wasn’t surprised….basically because the product being offering was not possible to build and make a profit from via the price-point that is being advertised.

“I am not surprised by the high number of reservations. But then the hard reality comes in … making (the) cars, selling them and making money doing so.”

Even with a price of 35,000 Euros (~$40,000 USD), Mr. Marchionne (the man famous for saying his company was losing $14,000 a pop on the Fiat 500e – which retails from $31,800) saw no way that any profit could be made.

But like any innovative leader, Sergio will boldly step back and let someone else take lead the way to prove the market…before he attempts to knock it off thereafter.

“If he can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months”

Yahoo! Finance, Hat tip to Dag!

Categories: Fiat, Tesla

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142 Comments on "Fiat CEO: We Can Make A Better Tesla Model 3 Rival In 12 Months, But We Don’t Want To"

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It’s like he doesn’t even like his job! He’s ruining Fiat’s image and its chance to survive in the future!

Agreed, he is basically stating that Fiat lacks the innovation to design, develop and produce a 200mi EV at the $30k price point while making a profit. Fiat will just copy and re-badge.

The next generation LEAF and Chevy Bolt will meet the 200mi/$30k criteria.

5 kw PV

LOL This guy can’t even sell the cars that he’s making now, no one wants his EV Fiat. But he could sell thousands of EV’s IF he wanted too.

The Fiat has been pretty consistently the 3rd best-selling all-electric behind the Model S and Nissan Leaf for several years now, so obviously they are selling. Fiat’s engineers did a good job on the car.

They just have a dumb CEO who has no vision and no plan for the future.

I definitely disagree that “no one wants his EV Fiat.” I have TWO of them, one for my daughter for college and one for me while waiting for my Model 3 order. While the 500e doesn’t have the amenities of my Ford Focus Electric, it is fast and agile; a fun car to drive.

While only sold in California and Oregon, the 500e has been the third largest selling EV in the U.S. Of course, Fiat practically gives them away: While the Focus Electric had a $300+ lease, the 500e can normally be leased for less than $99, with a rebate refunded $2500 down.

Fiat cars are garbage. that is why no one wants them. This guy is so clueless it is mind boggling. hire me to replace this drone. I would have Fiat kicking ass and taking names in three years.

Sergio , Understand this., He will show you “NOTHING”. Don’t be anymore “F00LISH” than Necessary…You need to figure it out for yourself weather “you can” or Can’t do it. Musk has opened all his patents for even you to use for free…He (Musk)has Infrastucture (Superchargers)..A Batttery Plant , Solar Cell plant ,etc: and is totally dedicated to building EV’s ….Unlike yourself , Who is TOTALLY DEDICATED TO STOP THE PROGRESS OF “EV’s…Lets not Forget., Sergio Is the Guy That refused “”$800 Million FREE DOLLARS”” from the Canadian Gov. Just so he could tell them to shove it! ..Not Too Arrogant Are We…..

Wrong! Elon IS showing him how by making all his patents open. Now if that’s not enough, I don’t know epwhat is.

So true !!!!!! 🙂 Go Tesla !!!!!

Dude, you’re acting as if only the company that’s first to market will ever succeed.

If that was true, Hyundai shouldn’t even exist now, since they weren’t even founded until 1967. Fully 68 years after Fiat.

Oh, absolutely not! But his distain for electric vehicles and the laws that legally require Fiat-Chrysler to sell a proportion of their sales as plug-ins – are just a bit too reminiscent of the past mistakes of the 90s-00s.

The laws are made for. Unlike the classic Exxon or tobacco industry tactic, almost every car manufacturer has acknowledged that their products are a large part to climate change.

Sergio is not that character, and if he would, he wouldn’t sell a single plug-in. In preferred trajectory, that would put Fiat in a world of fines, trouble and competitors too strong to keep up with. The exact opposite attitude of Ghosn’s on knowing how the legal environment will be soon.

They could only do so much with their Multi-Jets and Multi-airs, which aren’t even industry leading in Europe.

This guy is not an innovator, he is running middle of the pack where it’s safe; if you aren’t confident of your decisions, this is what you do.

Yes indeed, with a kind of vulture attitude on top of it, really miserable.

Exactly. The new 500 didn’t come out until years after the new Bug and new Mini. Not an innovative thought in there.

If Sergio Marchionne is so good at bringing his cars to market then what happened to all those Alfa Romeos that were supposed to be all over US streets by now?

Exactly. Who would ever want 400 000+ preorders? Fiat, you’re a joke.

Oh yeah? I bet I could land a rocket on a floating ship in the middle of the ocean, but until SpaceX proves the elasticity of the launch market, I wont do it! 😉

I agree they shouldn’t go to market, but every other car manufacturer in the world right now needs to be figuring out how it would make EVs at the $30,000 price point, make them desirable to customers, and make a good profit on each one sold!

Yeah, that SpaceX Falcon 9 landing on the droneship was mind blowing. I don’t think anyone else had the balls to try to pull that off.

But Musk & SpaceX pulled it off. It took a few tries (which is to be expected) but they did it.

So if Elon Musk and JB Straubel say they can cut 30% off the price of batteries . . . there is a good chance they can pull it off.

Of course, it might take a few tries.

Right but I just wonder if the next “Of course I still love you” could be a notch bigger when you see the small margin of the legs with the edge of the platform. A catamaran larger version would be great and probably needed for the coming MCT first stage anyway.

I think it is a catamaran. But bigger would be better. It is amazing that they are able to pull that off. No human could possibly do that, the only way that can work is with GPS, accelerometers, control surfaces, various thrusters, and a whole bunch of computers furiously calculating away to figure how the control surfaces need to be moved and the thrusters need to be fired to stick the landing.

It was landing in an 80km/h crosswind.

Of course he’d cast doubt on the Model 3. His company has nothing even remotely similar to it, and wants to discredit Tesla, and other plug-ins by extension.

Let’s see what happens in a few years once the Model 3, along with other longer ranged EV’s, are out on the market.

He is doing an electric minivan. He will own that segment for ever because Chrysler understands the minivan perfectly.
If Chrysler then does an electric jeep, he hits a homerun.

What a dork he is!

OK, let’s assume you’re right, what would you do then ? Go on…I guess that would take more than the single brain cell one needs to insult around.

Or the two you used to insult ct200h. Sergio is an a*****e IMO. Whether or not I could run an auto company has nothing to do with it, and makes for a silly argument.

His face looks like a wet fart

If it is going to take you 12 months to make a body and an electric motor then there is something wrong with you. It doesn’t take that long especially if you already produce cars in the thousands. The trick Mr Italiano is the Battery. Where will you get enough batteries for even 1000 cars a month?

Indeed Tesla’s story is almost impossible to duplicate for a company like Fiat, Toyota etc.., I mean such an easy access to fresh cash despite huge losses. EV’s have shown many qualities but so far making profits selling them is not one of them. That will be soon fixed but it will take some more years.

Perhaps you are just not up on current events.

I might be but to date even if 1 million preorders is achieved we can’t assume yet Musk will make profits selling those 1 million Model 3. What the industry is saying, and I think we should listen even if we disagree, is that so far it is hard to make profits selling EV’s. I work in structured finance in Luxembourg and analyse large group balance sheets all day and I can tell you Tesla IS making losses, it might make huge profits in the future but now it is just making losses, huge ones at that, despite the capex blabla etc. It is therefor hard for a CEO like him to make right now a decision on EV’s, they have to make one but it is not easy.

Look, the margins on their cars are one of the highest, if not the highest, in the industry. That’s all that matters on the long run.

Obviously the Model 3 is a is a different proposition, but the fact is that Tesla could be profitable today if they chose to be, but there’s no long term future in that strategy.

Then can be “profitable” if somebody would gift them money for R&D, and sales, and some more. As you noticed, there is no future in such strategy. R&D is not going away anywhere when you are developing product using new technology, you can’t invest once and sell the same model for decades.
They may reduce these expenses in mass market with Model 3. But reducing price at the same time twice is hard task. More likely it will be somewhat higher than these advertised $35k and not less than competitor offfers. Which means lower sales and less savings on mass production. It is big risk for established automaker like Fiat who is not swimming in cash.

The R&D does get re-used. The Model 3 battery technology will be based on their Model S/X batteries technology. The Model 3 software will be based on the Model S/X software. Etc.

Sure, they have to continue to refine things and improve them. But they build upon what they have already developed.


You need to go back and re-read Tesla’s Secret Master Plan. This was all thought through a decade ago. You are a decade behind. Please catch up.

Tesla spent 1,5 Billion in Assets. That’s where the profet went

Spending on assets now…:-\ Geez

What you are trying to say maybe is that expenses are partly made by amortizations deriving from those assets. Now if I remember well Tesla 10k 2015 figures, amortisation expenses were approx. $420M while loss was $890M. So you are correct except for the little $470M left over…:-) :-).

If GM can sell you a Cruze for under 17K:
How hard can it be to remove the, what? 3 or 4K drivetrain and replace it with a SIMPLE 12K EV drivetrain and battery? That leaves you with a car under 25K. Add 10K for Tesla’s excellence and there you go!
I know, i’m cutting corners here but still, i don’t think Tesla will have much of a hard time building a pretty simple M3. I’m very confident….

Bingo! This is precisely the argument that I’ve been making for years. Even a generous back of the envelope calculation of the cost delta for converting almost any existing ICE into an EV yields a price that’s suspiciously affordable.

Frankly, I’m convinced that a good part of the discrepancy between such estimates and the price tags we see on cars is due to the federal tax kickback, at least in the US. Take away that $7,500, and the price of a Leaf or Bolt would likely drop by $5,000 almost overnight.

You might be right but are we sufficiently informed ? That’s the question. For example I always thought that the issue was the li-ion battery high (but going down fast) price, then I read an article about cost of EV drivetrains (motor, controller etc..). I always though that because E motors are so simple that they would be dirt cheap, it appears the guy writing this article was saying the opposite. Was he right ? I don’t now, am I a specialist ? No. Can one find a lot of BS on internet ? Yes, (really a lot). It is hard to form an educated opinion unless one is an engineer working in the car industry and sadly for us those are in short supply. it seems those people value their time too much to comment on insideev’s.

EV drivetrains (charger, motors, controllers, and gearbox) should cost less than ICE drivetrains (engine, fuel system, ignition system, exhaust system, transmission, engine cooling system, etc.). There are far fewer parts and they are easier to assemble. (There is a reason why the Model S has a spacious frunk and spacious trunk.)

However, EV drivetrain parts have never really been made in mass quantities. At least until recently. With hybrids, they have been making motors & controllers in mass quantities . . . but those are for hybrids, not pure EVs. With mass manufacturing scale, the price of EV drivetrain components should come down.

I think it is possible to build & sell the Model 3 . . . but just barely. If they have battery cells down to $150/KWH . . . and say $200 for the full pack. That would be $200/KWH * 60 KWH = $12,000 for a 60KWH pack that should get them 215 miles of range. (Model S 60 got 208 miles range EPA.)

So that leaves $23,000 to build the rest of the car. That is doable. Barely.

“EV drivetrains (charger, motors, controllers, and gearbox) should cost less than ICE drivetrains (engine, fuel system, ignition system, exhaust system, transmission, engine cooling system, etc.). There are far fewer parts and they are easier to assemble. (There is a reason why the Model S has a spacious frunk and spacious trunk.)”

I would say that is common misconceptions.

Yes, electric motors are cheaper than engine/transmission for sure.

But motor drives aren’t cheap, even if you made in larger quantity.

Example: solar inverters which we are making in the millions now. How much does a 3KW or 5KW cost these days? Easily $1500 to $3K. Imagine that for 150kW to 200kW.

It is easily $4k to $5K in volume. They won’t be cheap. But motors and drives alone should be an wash with engine/transmission/exhaust cost.

Battery is what cost more. That is still a big cost in cars..

” solar inverters which we are making in the millions now. How much does a 3KW or 5KW cost these days? Easily $1500 to $3K.”

Nonsense. I bought my 3 kW solar inverter for 600 euros. And that was 3 years ago.

A electric motor will always be more expensive than a ICE. Because of the work you need to do.

A basic ICE 4 banger without all the bells and whistles is only stamped metal.

The electric motor is a lilttle less stamped metal and then doing ~5000 windings. These windings add up and suddenly the electric motor is more expensive regardless of what you do.

But a normal ICE these days is not only a stamped motor block, but also a turbo and exhaust air treatment unit and other stuff. Awfully the electric motor also needs controller which can be very expensive if you want high powers.

The hard part, that no one except the high leading OEMs can tell you is how much is the exhaust gas treatment, do you want a turbo and on the other side how much are the controllers costing. But all these also depends on the power that the final engine should procuce, so the equation is not easy.

This model 3 drivetrain will be simpler.than a Priuus hybrid. So what is the issue with making a profit on a model 3?

“Take away that $7,500, and the price of a Leaf or Bolt would likely drop by $5,000 almost overnight.”

Oh. That’s fascinating.

Is *that* why the cost of a Leaf is $32,698 CAD in British Columbia (which has a $5,000 rebate) and $32,698 in Saskatchewan (which has no rebate)?

Man. I never knew!

“3 or 4K drivetrain and replace it with a SIMPLE 12K EV drivetrain and battery?”

There is no way the EV driven “and” battery cost only $12K.

Battery pack, yes. $200/kWh at PACK LEVEL will cost about $12K.

The Motor and Motor drives with 150kW+ cost at least $3K to $5K.

Yes, it is doable. But that pretty much leaves your electric Cruze only about $30K in cost. Add some nicer interior and chassis for about $2K. You still got about $3K profit margin for the BASE $35K car.

Now, that is pretty thin for a “gross profit”. But not bad if you can sell 200K per year which is $600Million in gross profit per car line.

The question is are the losses capital investments that will pay off big if utilized well for five years, or are the losses the inability to make cars at a reasonable profit even if factories are productive. There are two big advantages for Tesla. 1) No dealerships, estimated $1800 per car saving. 2) No advertising required. If this CEO was honest he would admit that Fiat cannot make profitable cars at this price due to dealer costs and advertising costs. The result is everybody Fiat will be years behind for a long time.

Do you think that Tesla shops and service centers come for free really? They require expansion and it is is huge expense that is burning their capital at high rate. Whatever advantage it gives to Tesla, it is no for free. Other automakers don’t need to invest their own money in dealerships, it is somebody’s else money.

Not free but they surely are much cheaper than traditional dealerships with inventories, advertising, salesmen, etc.

I think Pinewold has a very good point . . . Tesla does have a HUGE advantage over every other car maker in that they squeezed out the dealer middleman and they don’t pay a penny for advertising. (Yes, they pay for showrooms and release parties but that is much cheaper than dealerships & TV advertising.)

Yes but the point is traditional automakers give up margin to the dealers, because the dealers need that margin to build their buildings, pay their people, etc. Automakers may not pay for dealerships directly but they certainly pay for them indirectly via lost margin. Tesla pays for service centers directly but in theory it should be less on a per unit basis because Tesla has direct control over everything. Time will tell.

Well, the only true statement you made is that you’re not up to date.

Tesla Motors has been making a 25%-27% profit margin on the Model S since the end of 2013. That was Musk’s goal. They expect to do the same with Model X.

With Model 3, they are aiming for only 15% profit margin.

I could be a movie star, if I could only get out of this place.

Maybe he would rather build a few more gas guzzlers while he still can!

And you know what, the model 3 will be faster than your Ferrari!

I want to smack him down . . . hard.

However . . . he might have a point. Can Tesla really pull this off? Now it is certainly in the realm of possibility. GM is building a 200+ mile Chevy Bolt that they will sell for $37,500.

However, that is $2500 more than the Model 3. And GM is a company with 100+ years of experience manufacturing automobiles. And GM can afford to lose money on the Bolt while making up the loss elsewhere with SUVs and big trucks.

Clearly, there is a lot riding on the success of the Gigafactory to push down battery prices.

But I can’t resist . . .

“If he can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months”

Within 12 months? LOL, you can’t even put a new gas car out in 12 months, Jackhole!

Speculawyer says ” GM is a company with 100+ years of experience manufacturing automobiles.” However, I would modify that with this insertion: ” GM is a company with 100+ years of experience manufacturing [ICE] automobiles.” So, the simple difference is…they know how to build ICE vehicles, but they are still learning all over again how to build a new generation of EV’s, and in that field, they are doing OK, but still not Great, compared to their sales volumes of ICE vehocles! AND, they still have not shown that the Bolt will sell better than the Tesla Model 3! With Bolt EV production targets of 30,000/year, and a stated capacity of up to 50,000/year, GM would have a tough time dealing with an order book of 115,000 requests for a Bolt EV, let alone 325,000 – 400,000! If 10% of the Model 3 Reservation holders decide to lease a Bolt EV for 3 years, that would hardly impact Tesla’s sales, but would absorb at least the full first years Bolt EV production, by which time Model 3 Production will have then begun, and deliveries of even the first cars starts to generate more Tesla News, Reviews, and more sales and… Read more »

“Overall, Tesla’s reservation count for the Model 3, are an industry barometer of demand for vehicles that can go over 200 miles per charge, fill up quickly, and go again, and do it in style, with performance, and do so safely, anywhere in North America, Europe, and Asia”.

This is indeed exactly the point, it matters more than all the rest.

GM has way more experience building quality EV than Tesla will ever have. I wish GM would just spin off its EV and autonomous division.

They should at least spin off a new brand for their EVs. “Chevy” just doesn’t say elegant sleek EV. It says reliable old pick-up.

Unfortunately, Chevy is paying for the R&D cost inside the GM….

It is trying to get a foothold in its future by keeping itself up with the technology.

They should at least spin off a new brand for their EVs. “Chevy” just doesn’t say elegant sleek EV. It says reliable old pick-up.

Chevrolet Volt is already sold as Opel Ampera in mainland Europe, Vauxhall Ampera in the UK and Holden Volt in Australia, so maybe they should just reuse one of those car brands in the US too.

That must explain why the bolt was designed by LG.


LG must be good cause Tesla is using them for their model 3. The joke is old.

Tesla is using LG in model 3 just for the 15″ screen. Just the screen! Please don’t be ridiculous.

This is exactly what I expect to happen with all EV manfactures. That way they do not compeat with ICE vehicles serviced by existing dealerships.

Well, probably close to half the parts in an EV are the same as in an ICE vehicle.

It really comes down to that Gigafactory. The Gigafactory is Tesla’s Rocket landing on the dronebarge.

There are many factors to consider which makes it more reasonable than it may seem on the surface:

1) Model S >25% profit margin, only aiming for 15% profit on Model 3.

2) More steel, less aluminum = lower cost parts and manufacturing.

3) Fancy things like retracting door handles probably will not be standard.

4) Smaller car = less raw materials = lower cost.

5) Smaller car = less energy needed to go 215+ miles EPA = fewer cells = lower cost.

6) Smaller car = smaller rims and tires = lower cost.


It’s actually sad really. Because in my neck of the woods the Fiat 500E is selling really well. I test drove one and it’s a great little car (needed a DCFC port before I’d spring for one). It’s also been very well reviewed; one I read said it was better than the gas car. If I were Sergio, I would be trying to figure out how to get the cost of the 500E down such that you COULD make money on it. He’s got a sleeper hit on his hands if he just worked on it.

It is a cute car. There are at least 3 in my neighborhood. I’ve been tempted to get one but I agree that it really needs a DC fast-charge port.

The Spark EV is not as cute but is a much better deal and does have a CCS charge port. But . . . I think I’ll wait for the Model 3.

Have both Spark EV and 500e; Fiat is much more fun to drive. Spark is just more utility to it with 4 doors. Can’t wait for Bolt to replace one and M3 for the other–bye bye range anxiety.

For 80% of the time current cars are there, but have ICE for the longer days out about town. with 200+ mile charge, probably 99+% is covered daily.

Would rent a mini for distance anyways so supercharging/DCFC really doesn’t make a difference

Thanks for your mini-reviews! The Spark can chirp those tires so it does have some kick. But it probably doesn’t handle as well. And it just has more of an generic econobox look whereas the Fiat 500e at least has a cute Euro-economy-car look.

That Fiat 500e could really be a nice EV if they put in a CCS port and bumped up the battery size a bit. Probably hard to fit a bigger battery in there though. And Sergio seems quite content with it being a lame compliance conversion.

Made by Bosch. That’s the company, if anyone remembers, which saved Tesla’s bacon on the Roadster when it couldn’t find a transmission that worked.

500e is nice except for price, lack of DCFC, and too small rear. Rear seat is just too small to fit anyone taller than 5ft 4in or even some above average height dogs.

If Sergio can lower the price and contract out to quickchargepower to make JDemo, it could be a nice commuter car, though rear seat is still a problem.

The lease price is what to look for on the 500e. Most people would be foolish to buy one when the lease prices are usually below $99/mo at 36 months with a rebate refunded $2500 down.

I think his comments are symptomatic of a larger problem than simply being anti-EV: this guy is an extreme object lesson in the kind of arrogance and lack of vision and leadership that makes traditional car companies fail. It reminds me of the kinds of things some American auto executives said about economy cars in the 1970s, just before the Japanese companies quickly rose to dominate that segment. The result was that American small cars were total junk for at least 20 years.

Yep, they say that the cream rises, and the turds float. Well, wanna guess which one that dear Sergio is the poster boy for?

To help you better understand why Sergio is saying one needs to realize that Fiat (despite its partial owning of Ferrari) is basically a low cost brand. If you go to Istambul you will see that almost all the small cabs over there are Fiats. Their core business is selling cheap cars. If Mercedes CEO was saying the same then indeed that would be very surprising as EV technology is so immensely well suited for luxury cars (silence & torque), but if you want to sell millions of $10k cars, then yes, EV’s are only going to help break your company’s finances to pieces with ludicrous speed. I hope this helped.

Yes . . . Sergio builds cheap cars. CARS. ICE cars. But he’s never even really tried to build an EV. He outsourced the EV drivetrain to Bosch. And Bosch probably got some expensive parts and some expensive batteries and the Fiat 500e is not an inexpensive car to build. Especially in small numbers.

But Tesla is going to build their own batteries, not outsource them. And they are trying to massively squeeze out the costs by vertically integrating the process and doing MASS manufacturing. Raw materials go in one end and fully-completed EV batteries ready to bolt onto an EV come out the other end. In a building that will have the world’s largest footprint.

So Tesla is making a real go of it. Fiat is not even trying. Quitters.

I think Tesla will fall short of their goals. But if they come close, it will still be a breakthrough.

Sergio, Sergio, Sergio,… You will NEVER be able to make anything near the model III, … and here’s why : (cusping hand to mouth and whispering into your stuborn ear) “It’s because you don’t WANT to!”

Kind Regards,

Your humble servant,


I think he’s denying that he even needs to bother with EVs. Amazing attitude, despite climate change data, increasing global emissions regulation of his industry, market shifts and consumer trends, etc.

This man does not have a deep sense of time…

Lock this little italian meatball schmuck up in a fiat and do him like Denzel did that one guy in The Equalizer, Co2 exhaust pipe torture.

Seriously? You can’t criticize a fool like this guy without resorting to ethnic references?

Such an elegant remark…It brightens my Friday evening, how cosy to feel in the right place like this, among gentlemen.


Here’s the whole point that Sergio (and others) can’t seem to get their hard wooden Pinochio heads around :

You CAN’t make profit on a 35000$ EV, unless you build and sell 100 000s of them. Chicken and egg…
Tesla is not trying to make profit right now, because you see, it is lead by a man with a VISION!
Tesla is trying (and succeeding) in establihing a MARKET! F#^}*k profit! Profit will come after you put yourself 10years ahead of any other competition and make a product everyone is crazy about…

Ring a bell??? Sergio??? Are you listening?
Sergioooo!! Hellloooo!
Damn Sergio, will you get your nose out of my eye!!

Actually, they are profitable – the 25% profit margin on the Model S, and the soon-to-be 25% profit margin on the Model X, are all going toward the Model 3 development, the Gigafactory buildout, expanding stores, service centers and supercharger network.

Fine. Then no subsidies for you and your company with your “wait and see” approach then Mr Marchionne.

Ok, so Fiat doesn’t want people to drive better cars!

This is what I understood…

You guys (Fiat-Chrysler) will never see my money!

And yes, Fiat will never be making money from selling EVs… because the company will not survive in the long run.

Ha. Doddering old fool. They can’t make a good car of any kind, much less a Model 3.

Sergio doesn’t even like selling Fiat 500’s with gas engines. I heard a quote that he makes more money on a Jeep Grand Cherokee than 1000 Fiat 500’s. All he wants to sell in the future are Jeeps and Ram pickups.

Shareholders are starting to hold chief executives to account.

I hear some whistling in the dark…

“If he can show me that it can be done, I will do it as well, copy him, add Italian style to it and put it on the market within 12 months”

Translation: We can copy it. It won’t actually look as good as the Model 3, but we expect people to fawn over it because the “Italian” brand.

He, Sergio, is trying to sell Fiat, but nobody wants to buy it. Wonder why.

Who would want to buy a company that flat out tells you that they can’t build the latest type of popular product in their product category?

Essentially what he’s saying is “I’m the wrong man for this position, please replace me!”

Fiat after decades of building ICE cars can’t even manage to build a car that comes close to the BMW M3, and he thinks he can knock off the revolutionary Tesla M3 in 12 months?!?


He might as well could have said “We will make the best cars, nobody will make cars like us, we will be huuuuuge. Fiat will be winning so much we will be sick of winning”


I started reading that 3rd paragraph thinking “That sounds like . . . oK, yeah it is.” 🙂

Does anyone ever takes this guy serious anymore?

GM doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Now he is making a claim about what “he could do”…

Geez, he is a brat who is looking for attentions…

I find the statement he’s losing $14k on every 500e interesting. I’m betting this is a lifecycle total and not based on cost to manufacture vs. sale price.

Something to the tune of:
1/3 in lost revenue opportunity (this doesn’t mean a negative loss, this means they could have made more profits selling ICE so it’s seen as a loss)
1/3 in resale of the car once traded back in (black book value vs resale price)
1/3 in maintenance and repair costs that could have been made on an ICE but can’t on an electric. Again, not a true loss but a loss in opportunity to make money so seen as an actual loss.

I’m sure the fractions aren’t pinpoint accurate, but the premise stands.

Don’t forget the warranty work on the first run of the 500e, when the drive wheels came off of the cars.
What a warm, fuzzy feeling those early owners must have felt when that happened.

I think I saw another headline recently about them. Went something like

Fiat CEO: We Can Make A Good Car, But We Don’t Want To.

I remember him saying that if Apple wants to make a car, Fiat build the cars for Apple. He was publicly begging for Apple’s business. Given the financial state of Fiat, it’s no surprise. Kinda funny that he’s bashing EVs and begging Apple (future EV maker) for business.

Funny stuff; Apple is known for quality, and Fiat is known for whatever the opposite of quality is. 🙂

No doubt. I purchased 1 chrysler/dodge/jeep in my life and won’t ever make that mistake again. Unfortunately, many family and friends had similarly bad experiences. It’s a shame how bad chrysler/dodge/jeep have become.

He’s building his company solely on making stylish cars it seems. Nothing more.

Leaders in nothing I suppose.

That is a bit how the Swiss nail watch makers are surviving as well. They base everything on image build up and just keep a technological status quo on the actual product. Exactly the opposite Silicon valley is doing.

No doubt Marchionne is a jerk and no doubt he’s right about the costs. The $35K Model 3 is as likely as the $50K Model S.

***mod edit (Jay Cole)***
thanks for the heads-up…fixed, (=
***mode edit***

We will see Don, obviously Tesla will prioritize higher priced M3s to help recover the costs of the new lines and R&D.

But since Tesla’s stated mission is to bring about the advent of sustainable transportation I have a feeling they will have a stripper version (that will still be very nice relative to whatever competition there is) at $35kish eventually after 1-2 years.

In any case, Sergio is talking out his posterior that Fiat could build something to rival the M3. Hell they basically subbed out the entire 500E to Bosch.


Haha….. Fiat has the worse in reliability in US, in South America Fiat has been for decades with bad reputation, in Europe is kind of disposable cars, is a huge joke to say they can build a better car than Tesla.

Yes, we are all in love with Tesla, but I think we have to understand different business logic that Tesla and all other car companies are based on. In other words – Tesla is created to be electric car company no other option there. Investors are involved in mission that they believing in and hints of the future could turn to be very valuable investment…could. But how many quarters it is not returning any profit… only losses? I think it is more than 10. For any other car company CEO it would mean “golden parachute” at the best. With Musk it is untouchable in this company and as he is new Steve Jobs that failed and then recreated Apple. So Musk is failing but no one cares because he is “The one”, but we have to admit “The one” can be one and only one. All other car companies CEO’s struggling and fighting in very harsh environment to make money, for example Fiat made 350 million dollars last year and Tesla lost 800 million…no matter how cool it was… So, I don’t think that Marchionne is in denial mode, he is in very real mode. He said what it… Read more »

He’s not failing. He’s building very popular products that people want. And he is massively reinvesting more & more money into the company to build new cars and tackle new markets.

And that is not like something new. Amazon has been in business for some 20 years and they lose money all the time. I would expect it to be much worse for something as capital intensive as automobile manufacturing.

So don’t think Tesla is failing with those losses. They are the only company with a supercharger network in Europe, USA, and parts of Asia. They are the only car company building a completely massive battery factory to churn out enough batteries to sell lots of cars. And they have a brand name so strong that they get 115,000 Model 3 reservations BEFORE ANYONE EVEN SAW THE CAR. They may be losing money but they are not failing.

The difference is fiat is losing tons of money on their electric car and tesla is earning lots of money on the cars they are selling. Tesla are investing though, heavy in the factory and batteries. Investments to make model 3 real AND in 2020 – profitable!

Indeed to a large number of people, Tesla is profitable. One can’t really blame them, most can’t read a 10k form neither have sufficient accounting knowledge to make precise difference between capex and expenses nor to compare how companies calculate their gross margin, i.e. which expenses they decide not to include and why and why they are allowed to do so. All of this made super easy by the super mess that 10k form is, this paper is like tailored made for the easy birth and triving of financial bubble. It seems large investments banks went to the regulator and said, to them: look here, if you impose here the very clear and readable financial statements as we can see in Germany for example we may as well shut down our business. One needs to issue a document that is so unclear that discussion about profits can keep on going for years with us benefiting from up and downs in the stock prices.

Are you saying that Tesla is selling their cars for less than the cost of the parts that go in them? I don’t think that is true.

Tesla is certainly losing money. And yes, they are capitalizing a lot of things but not all.

They are putting a lot of money into things that have value and will provide returns in the future. The expansion of the supercharging network, the expansion of the retail stores, the design & production tooling for the Model X, the design for the Model 3, the construction of the Gigafactory, the design of the Powerpack & Powerwall, the installation of manufacturing equipment at the Gigafactory, the upgrading of the paintshop to handle 500,000 cars, the upgrading of the Fremont factory to handle larger volumes of car manufacturing, the acquisition of some suppliers & designers, etc. These are all things that provide little or no paypack right now and thus create financial losses on their earnings statements. But they are all things that will enable them to manufacture and sell larger numbers of Model S cars, Model X cars, Powerpacks, Powerwalls, and later Model 3 cars.

“Are you saying that Tesla is selling their cars for less than the cost of the parts that go in them ?”.

No, I am no saying that. But if you consider the total cost a car when including total parts, financial expenses, administrative expenses, rents, after sale services and all indirect costs, what proportion of this cost is actually represented by the parts that needs to be assembled to buid a Tesla, 50% ? 60% ? I don’t know franckly but certainly a lot less then most of here think.

..I have done some homework, it seems that in average cost of parts for a car manufacturer is 50% of total cost. Next largest cost being direct labor (+/- 20%). So if correct this means that if Tesla wants to sell the M3 at a profit at a $35K price point the total parts, including the 60Kwh battery should cost them around no much more tahan $15k. If true Sergio is right and 95% of the commenters here are wrong, I had a gut feeling that Sergio is right, after all Fiat made $300M profits last year while Tesla made $890M loss selling very few cars, and, as I demonstrated below using 10K figures, capex only forms 47% of Tesla losses, rest is just that Tesla’s are sold below overall cost.

Right! The gross margin Tesla makes on the Model S has been very good, but given their small revenues relative to bigger automakers, that money largely was put back into R and D and those other investments like Gigafactory and Supercharger. This was the plan all along. People believe in them because so far, the company’s vision has proven clear and correct. FCA is now at a huge competitive disadvantage since they will be at the beginning of the learning curve when most other carmakers are well into the EV age.

Apparently, you can’t read.

Model S is selling at a 25%-27% profit margin. This has been the case since at least the end of 2013. That was Musk’s target.

Model X has the same target, and at this point, there is no reason to expect it to fall short.

Musk is only targeting 15% profit on the Model 3 and its’ variants.

Obviously, they are “losing” money because it is going into capital expenditures and new model development.

As long as Tesla Motors continues to see the demand for their products, as long as production continues to ramp up, and as long as they continue to hold their profit margins on their products, nobody in their right mind can consider Tesla Motors or Elon Musk a failure.

TomArt, you just gave me a practical opportunity to explain it better. You say that Tesla gross margin is 27% and that overal losses are due to capital expenditure. This is fat BS and my point is that this very fat BS is partly made possible because of your mess of a annual report form which is called a “10k”. Loss for 2015 was $890M and capital expenditures expenses through its yearly amortizations (amortizations are the ONLY impact of Capex in the overall yearly result of a company, if you don’t understand that just drop it but please try to abstain from making silly statements like this) was $422M. So expenses in respect of investments that Tesla does are exactly responsible for 47% of the total of the $890M losses Tesla did in 2015. One of the reason why you and many here are constantly repeating this urban legend that “all the losses due to Tesla large investments (capex)” is that this key information is buried in page 52 of the annual report (10k form) while in most financial statements I work with (in Europe) it is indicated in page 2. This is one of the reasons why the mother… Read more »

Thanks, PVH, for your responses, it provides very good insights how stuff works. Thanks.

Sergio Marchionne: A CEO who should be asked to step down from FIAT immediately, as almost any other executive leader would be better. If I were a shareholder, I would be voting “No Confidence” in his abilities as CEO of FCA.

So much bull in that shit hole i wanna puke a little.

The reason tesla can make the cars profitable are the huge investments in the factory and especially the battery factory that they are building. Together with smart people with some of the best engineers in the u.s. they might as well be able to do it. It’ll be hard but they definitely have much higher odds in failing than fiat would have.

Fiat still can’t sell cars in the US. It sells Dodge trucks and Jeeps, the most American, least Fiat part of Chrysler, for a living. It abandoned the Dart and 200, which actually had Fiat technology, so it could free up factories for more Jeeps and trucks. Chrysler now has no compact or mid-size sedans in its future. The 300, Charger and Challenger are sunk deep in American nostalgia and probably couldn’t sell in Europe. The mid-size sector is where the biggest sales are, and Fiat has surrendered here.

Fiat can’t compete with the German performance brands in the US. Tesla competes with the German performance brands in Germany.

“We Could Build A Tesla Model 3 And ‘+1 It’ In A Year”

No. You cant.

I could make as many goals than Cristiano Ronaldo but I don’t want to do that!!!
Fortunately for Fiat, Tesla motors have to much to do with ramping up the X, to organise the manufacture lines for the 3 and speed up it and to prepare the Y too, because if they not, I think Tesla would be able to transform the future new Roadster in a very compelling Ferrari killer for half of the price!

Yeah, dude. Me too. It’s as easy as landing a first stage booster rocket on a barge. Piece of cake, really. Why bother?

Sergio is given was too much press time, or else is put up to it by HIS boss.

Elkin was basically given the company during the bankruptcies, and Sergio is managing to kill that off as well, with the exception of the very popular Jeeps – the most mass market of which is now made in Italy – it is basically a Fiat 500 chassis.

Automotive News has Marchione on every other day. I wish someday he would just try to make more reliable cars, than the poor performance things he’s churning out, but then he’d just have to ‘stick to his knitting’ and do something in a day besides press interviews. His rams just failed also failed the ‘small overlap test’.

His heart isn’t in it. He’s trying to constantly merge with some other firm. GM and Ford have already said they’re not interested in having any close deals with him.

What do they know that we don’t?

Reminds me of
Austin Lounge Lizard’s “I didn’t go to college but I could have”

When i just read the title (“Fiat CEO: We Can Make A Better Tesla Model 3 Rival In 12 Months, But We Don’t Want To”) of the article i thought.

I am pretty sure Fiat can build a prototype of an EV that is equal or better to model 3. I even think they would be able to produce three of them in a year.

But real production, sorry i think you are at least 6 years behind Mercedes that are 2 years behind BMW, that are 5 years behind Tesla.

Oh come on. They can’t be 13 years behind Tesla, Tesla is only 10 years old!

But his thinking is a couple decades back!

Ok 13 years certainly seems too much.

In the switch to EVs there is going to be a Nokia or a Kodak that failed to make the switch and will go out of business , I think we may have found it

There should be a “Captain of the Titanic” award to offer next to the Darwin award. Marchionne would be a favorite to win it this year.

Embrace for impact Sergio. Gravity calls.

Blah blah blah.
Hey Fiat deliver first, than talk.

And yes its already late, so start now.

How do you short his stock?