Marchionne Again Says Electric Cars Aren’t The Solution – Video

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 68

It comes as no surprise that Fiat-Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, is talking smack about electric cars … again.

How about the time that he turned up the radio during a Telsa Model S test drive because he had to fill the silence. He told reporters that there will never be an electric Ferrari because the car must make a sound. He also spoke against autonomous cars saying “you’ll have to shoot me first.”

Electric Cars

Fiat 500e

This is the same CEO that publicly asked people to not purchase his company’s compliance electric car (Fiat 500e) because the automaker will lose money. Yes, Marchionne is well-known for such statements.

We will give him a bit of credit for some of his more sensible reasons to fear the transition. Marchionne was one of the first to bring to light the fact that OEMs’ traditional supply line control will be adversely affected by electrification. This is not much different than our recent story about European automakers’ concerns regarding electric vehicles, costs, margins, and imminent job loss.

Whether they like it or not, it’s happening. Some countries are going so far as to ban petrol-only cars. Any transition will have negative and positive consequences, and these things take time. It’s not going to be a perfect transition, and in the end, the consumer wins (as does our planet). The positives far outweigh the negatives and there’s not been any other technology that has proven itself to have an advantage over the transition to electric cars. Sorry Sergio …

He even talks about how hydrogen may be a better solution. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo, as most automakers that invested heavily into the technology are now moving to plug-ins. Interestingly, we just reported a few months ago that Marchionne had changed his mind regarding electric cars. Hmm …

Video Description via Bloomberg:

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne says electrification is not the solution for the auto industry, which is at risk because of new technologies. Marchionne also said the company will announce a spinoff of its component business Magneti Marelli next year. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Tommaso Ebhardt in Northern Italy.

Source: Bloomberg, hat tip to James M!

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68 responses to "Marchionne Again Says Electric Cars Aren’t The Solution – Video"

  1. philip d says:

    Who cares.

    1. Chester Koenig says:

      Well, despite what he wants to have happen, electrification of vehicles is going to happen. That said, if you’re an EV advocate, you should care that the CEO of a major auto manufacturer opposes the transition of the industry. The more the opposition, the longer it’ll take for transition to happen, the worse off the environment will be.

      1. PHEVfan says:

        The only concern I would have based on this is knowing which automotive stock to NOT invest in since they won’t be around much longer with this goon at the top.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Exactly.

          No, as an EV advocate, I don’t really care just which of the many legacy auto makers won’t survive the EV revolution. We know some of them will fail; the only question is which ones.

          Every disruptive tech revolution leaves some of the previous market leaders in the dustbin of history. The EV revolution certainly will be no exception. And if Fiat-Chrysler is as opposed to developing PEVs as these statements indicate, if they’re not — as Toyota almost certainly is — developing prototypes in secret even while their PR departments loudly proclaim that there is no future in electric cars — then it’s a lead-pipe cinch that Fiat-Chrysler will be one of the first casualties as the EV revolution progresses.

          The new car market is highly competitive. So as one or another legacy auto maker fails, the remaining companies will be quite happy to grab their market share. The EV revolution certainly won’t be delayed if and when Fiat-Chrysler goes bankrupt. In fact, it very well might be of benefit to an electric car startup, since they’ll be able to buy the abandoned Fiat-Chrysler factories on the cheap!

          Good riddance to Fiat-Chrysler!

    2. SJC says:

      Ghosen is gone, now it is his turn.

    3. Paul Smith says:

      Fiat and Chrysler Dodge, bot sitting at the bottom of the J.D. Power reliability charts. Not someone to bash other companies.

    4. Peter says:

      Someone wins someone looses. That is how business works. FCA will loose. A lot of new hungry competition out there.
      Some old ones will even disappear, that has happened before.
      Times change.

  2. Scott Franco says:

    They’re never gonna replace my horse!

    1. William says:

      There is a glue factory patiently waiting for the first sign of Sergio Marchionnes’ golden parachute, decending over their bubbling rendering pit, on full boil.

      All old gray mares, please stand aside, we have got a pigmy pony that they won’t put out to pasture!

      1. Will Davis says:

        why are you talking like that? Why don’t you just say it like you mean it? 😛

        1. William says:

          True that!
          Apologies to Grey Mares of all ages, and any Ponies that are height challenged, to any degree. 😌

  3. John says:

    This guy actually nails it- Legacy manufacturers (like him) move like pond water when it comes to progressive transitions. Excusing it with, “that’s just how they are” translates to “don’t really want to.” Life is a series of decisions, nothing more. If legacy manufacturers simply decided to go in the EV direction, they could make things happen quickly. But they simply choose not to. This guy and his other ICE brethren are content to focus on where the puck is now, not where it’s going. That’s why Elon enjoys his essentially competition free environment.

    Once you remove ignorance, all you have left is stupidity. And this guy is a shining example of the latter. Electrification has more than made it’s bones at this point, if the ICE curmudgeons wanna continue to double down on ‘the good old days’ then they deserve what they get.

    1. PHEVfan says:

      +1 on that last paragraph.

    2. James says:

      Yet China now drives the industry. Being the largest auto market, we see how when China announces only New Energy vehicles for their market by 2025, suddenly GM and Ford sound like Volkswagen and Volvo, claiming 13-22 new electrified models are in the pipeline!

      Even California is making political noise now, to ban ICE sales.

      This could turn out to be a battle, or ICE OEMs will just slowly bend to the new mandates to some extent and put their money where their mouths are.

      If Tesla alone, plus watered down laws push ICEmakers toward electrification, it still means a long slow road, surely dotted with legal/political challenges and much foot dragging.

      From the sound of the recent announcements over at GM and Ford, however, it’s easy to think that China and California can speed up the process rather swiftly.

      Are all these promises hot air?

      I think we may see what new EVs/PHEVs that do make it to N.America and Europe could be manufactured in China.

      1. unlucky says:

        GM’s announcement wasn’t like VW’s and Volvo’s.

        VW and Volvo talked about electrified cars. This means hybrids. GM talked about electric cars, BEVs (and I’m told FCEVs).

    3. EVer says:

      Believe me the legacy auto guys all have EVs on the drawing boards as a minimum, even the U.S. makers. Any engineer worth his salt can see the compelling benefits of transitioning to electric motors.
      Management on the other hand has to meet their Wall Street numbers so they operate like this guy by spreading misinformation to buyers in hopes of selling them what they have. And, all they have now is gassers. If he is still around, in time he will come around to selling EVs just like the rest of the legacy car companies.

  4. GreenMD says:

    What country is banning electric cars? FCA is behaving like Polaroid when digital cameras came out.

    1. rad says:

      Doing a google search, the only electric car ban I came across was someone in London suggested that both ICE and electric should be banned from center of city for congestion reasons, not emissions.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        My Google-fu is strong! 😉

        Central London isn’t doing an outright ban of high-emissions vehicles, but it’s imposing a fee so stiff that — if I read this right — it will be a strong deterrent to people not driving an “ultra low emissions” vehicle; a deterrent to entering the zone casually or on a daily basis.

        This is certainly a step towards banning gasmobiles!

        From 8 April 2019, the most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay £12.50 to drive through central London, while buses, coaches and HGVs will pay £100…

        According to City Hall, approximately this will mean petrol cars more than 13 years old in 2019, and diesel cars over four years old in 2019, will be charged.

        Full article: “Date announced for London ultra low emission zone”

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-39488291

    2. John in AA says:

      The only way I can make sense of that sentence is Steven had a momentary brain freeze and wrote the opposite of what he meant, and that the sentence should have read “… going so far as to ban ICE cars.”

      1. Jay Cole says:

        That’s a brain freeze/slip for sure… apologies on that, should been ban on petrol-only vehicles…not electric ones. Apologies on that, fixed!

  5. Dave86 says:

    Sergio makes the office furniture guy Ford just made CEO look like a real winner. Obviously, during the upcoming transition to electric and autonomous vehicles Fiat needs to be lead by a technology person. Someone who feels comfortable with cutting edge technology.

    Fix It Again, Tony!

  6. Stx says:

    Almost retirement time for Marchionne..hoping it won’t be already too late for Fiat-Chrysler.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      On the other hand, if Fiat Chrysler disappear completely it will leave great opportunities for brand new companies willing to make electric cars to take over for cheap all their buildings and perhaps some of the body manufacturing tools. Their end as a company could mean a jump start for many new ones. In a sense Tesla already bought the Fremont plant on the cheap thanks to the disappearance of production capacity needs at Toyota and GM.

  7. Kdawg says:

    What I learned was Marchionne is a closet hydrogen supporter.

    Instead of complaining about not being nimble, why not work on becoming nimble?

    I agree there’s a lot of risk here, but they are not willing to take any (or are fearful their stockholders are not willing).

    1. QCO says:

      Every conventional ICE maker is a closet Hydrogen supporter!

      It’s a great solution if you are not responsible for making and distributing the hydrogen. That’s where it all falls apart. Making the hydrogen powered vehicle itself is the easy part.

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        Making and distributing hydrogen was done for 100+ years. Pipelines, underground salt cavern storage, refueling already exist. Just Plug Power alone dispensed some 5,000 tons to their material handling vehicles so far.

        Developing FC technology good enough to be cost competitive for automotive use is more complicated and requires scale.

        1. John says:

          zzzzzzzzzz- still never gonna loosen your grip on hydrogen, eh? Never mind there’s already THOUSANDS of electric charging stations canvassing not just the U.S. but the globe. Never mind every person with access to an electrical outlet has their own EV charging station.

          It’s time to let the Beta VCR have a proper burial buddy..

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            John,
            Your “VHC VCR” certainly has whooping 1% of the market!!! It is good time rejoice, then get out into fresh air out of enthusiast echo chamber, look around, and notice that this 1% “VHC” is not even an option for the most of the applications. By the time technical progress will make it an option, it is likely it will be as relevant as DVD+R vs DVD-R dilema.

  8. Warren says:

    Which year will the firestorms reach Fremont? It’s only 90 miles away. I guess Nevada is safe….nothing to burn.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-napa-fires-20171009-story.html

    Don’t worry. We got this. 🙂

    1. James says:

      There are those nasty dust storms on Nevada.

      Did you see Bjorn Nyland’s video of the gala out front at the Gigafactory event?

      The dust storm kind of put a huge damper on the festivities. Not enough to stop battery production it seems, but good luck shipping batteries and parts to Californua during one of those!

      Good thing they have a ton of Power Packs there. They may need them when the power goes out.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “…good luck shipping batteries and parts to Californua during one of those!”

        If they put up a building at the railroad terminal to allow loading to be done indoors, then no problem! I think trains can ignore dust storms quite well.

  9. CDAVIS says:

    Fiat-Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne said (in video):

    We are too slow… for us to make a decision it takes for ever… if you see Tesla… Elon moves at the speed of a rocket… it will take a while for this industry to match that time… we need to match that time…”
    ———

    I agree with that.

    I thought Marchionne was very candid and on-point with many of his comments … except the part about “if you tell me 10 years from now that [electrification] is the answer the answer is no… I think we will find a better ways to do this…hydrogen”. So Marchionne is making progress… he just needs someone explaining to him (in a convincingly way for him to understand ) why hydrogen has no legs.

    1. QCO says:

      His candidness also extends to his openly admitted limited R&D depth. It’s the reason he is desparately seeking a merger/acquisition. Electrification at scale is not going to happen at FCA without outside help, so he is really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      He knows FCA is in a death spiral without investment, so selling off components, including some brands, is the only way to pull out some shareholder value.

      1. James says:

        Could Tesla buy Chrysler?

        Now THAT would turn the industry upside down. Yet what would Tesla gain but some new auto plants that need total upgrading.

        The one shining light was Pacifica Hybrid. What a bummer that has been, stumbling out of the blocks.

        It does show that, beyond Marchionne, projects like Pacifica got the green light.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I think a better question would be: “Would Tesla want to buy Fiat-Chrysler?”

          I think not. Buying FC as a going concern means Tesla would have to deal with existing contracts with FC dealerships, and with unionized FC assembly plants… neither of which Tesla wants. Tesla trying to sever relations with Chrysler and Fiat dealerships might well tie them up in court for years. At the very least, severing all those contracts would likely invoke some pretty stiff penalty fees, and would give the various State Auto Dealer Associations lots of political ammunition to use in their fights to keep Tesla out of their States.

          If Tesla sees some value in FC’s auto assembly plants and/or other factories, far better to wait for the company to go bankrupt and then buy up what they want at auction.

  10. Paul K says:

    Well if Jurassic Park is looking for a new manager we can suggest a candidate.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      His very first move would be to ditch the electric vehicles and replace electric fences with hydrogen flames burners. He would also create a new biotope with a desert like view with pounds full of crude oil. Then he would change the name and call it Jurassic Fumes. Of course the Jeep would be upgraded to a gas-guzzler Hummer on steroids with six 42”wheels. Even lighting would be “converted” to petrol lamps.

  11. SparkEV says:

    SparkEV makes wonderful sounds, like the spaceships from sci-fi movies. Tesla P series also make such sounds as you can hear in various youtube videos.

    But if you have religious belief that EVs don’t make sound (which Sergio is a member), you won’t hear the sound no matter how loud it gets. Having such mentally challenged CEO explains a lot about FCA.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I love the sound of the Spark EV and Bolt. It is very satisfying when accelerating from low speeds or a stop.

      1. SparkEV says:

        SparkEV has two sound zones, low speed and about 45 MPH. I like the sound at 45 MPH as it is higher pitch and rapidly increasing in pitch as if it’s ready to enter “hyperspace”.

  12. HipPriest says:

    Why does this guy still have a job?

    1. Clive says:

      All he cares about is a merger then he will retire.

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      He will not have one for long. He is on his way out next year, thankfully.

      Tesla, GM, BMW and Nissan will continue making him look like a fool long after he leaves.

  13. Clive says:

    He is an idiot.

    1. Stx says:

      He’s destroying one of the last Italian industries and getting executive bonuses along the way. He’ll enjoy his retirement while FCA sinks.

    2. William says:

      Clive is being too kind, to the outgoing FCA CEO.

    3. Priusmaniac says:

      The Italian Bob Lutz.

  14. Mark C says:

    He is already scheduled to be gone in the near future. Perhaps this is why.

  15. Alaa says:

    Italian Bob Lutz

  16. David Murray says:

    It’s also possible that Chrysler is working HARD on their EV future. But at the same time, he has nothing to offer the consumer “right now”. So rather than lose more ICE sales, he will continue to bad mouth EVs until they have something to sell. The 500e doesn’t matter to him because it loses money. So as soon as they have a profitable EV, his tune will change

  17. Hauer says:

    As CEO he should be happy about EVs. EVs have less parts than ICEs.
    And here in Austria FIAT is short for Fehler In Allen Teilen. (Defects In All Parts).

    1. Ttsherpa says:

      Fehler in alle Teilen. Uhmmm. I would apply the same or more to my difunct BMW 320d.
      Thank God I have two Nissan. One Leaf

    2. John in AA says:

      “Fix It Again, Tony”, auf Englisch.

  18. MDEV says:

    Fiat is the most unreliable cars in Europe, his comments are irrelevant, although is a shame that this short sighted mentality guy company owns Chrysler.

  19. Brian Helladog says:

    His attitude likely resonates with someone who would buy a Hellcat or Demon. Those cats probably loose money too.

  20. Don Zenga says:

    Without electrification, oil prices will go back to $100/barrel and that will bring down the auto sales again.

    Hope this gentleman corrects his opinion soon.

  21. Ford Prefect says:

    I, along with so many, question his leadership. Based on the current state of Dodge, Chrysler, and Ram, there isn’t much of a variety in products. Most of the models are old and tired with new performance models to entice buyers. But he has even ignored the Fiat model that brought a resurgence of sales, the 500, it too is an extremely old model with little in the way of updates. We rarely see anything in the US in the way of new or concept models, except for Jeep, and I don’t see much of a future for the US nameplates. I actually think he missed an opportunity to sell Jeep to the Chinese if he was trying to offload FCA so he could retire; I’m not saying it would be a good deal, but he missed an opportunity.

    I will also question why he mentions hydrogen, when there aren’t any dedicated models on the horizon to showcase the technology or even have something to market in the near term.

    I equate him to an industry hoping that coal will have a resurgence to revitalize jobs…

  22. Lawrence says:

    Marchionne, the man who does not have the skill of persuasion.

    His arguments against EV’s doesn’t move a single person from one side of the line to the other. Just lip service.

  23. leafowner says:

    Fiat/Chrysler may be the first ICE company causality — I expect at least one of the big Japanese and German brands will also go under. Ford — if they don’t really quickly develop a fully electric F-150 — may follow as the Tesla Pick-up will eat its lunch…

    Nokia, Blackberry, Moto — ring a bell???

  24. Bill Howland says:

    It was a knee-slapper last week when Mr. Marchione said “EV’s will ruin the planet!!”, due to the excess co2 made from electric power plants.

    I think that is overstating the case just a tiny bit.

    1. Clive says:

      I call him an Idiot because he says so many idiotic things.

      He is one hell of a business man, he just wants his profits and cannot remove his focus otherwise to be a leader in the EV race. Once he retires then there will be a future for Fiat FCA not a day sooner.

  25. Bill Howland says:

    I always listen closely to what Mr. Marchionne says – He has a young BOSS who is the grandson of the Agnelli family and owns a huge amount of FIAT – so Sergio has to say things that are pre-approved by his BOSS.

    CO2 statements he’s made in the past – I suppose they can’t really be too harmful since in most markets these days its the law and he has to comply – but in a sense I think he was hoisted by his own petard. But that is why he is paid the big Euros, to figure out what to say next, so to speak. FCA, after all, is the 7th largest auto conglomerate in the world, so I’ll grant he has had a measure of success.

    Apparently ELKANN is pleased since Sergio gets paid big coin, and Sergio remains the main spokesman for the company – to the extent that many people make the mistake that he is the boss, something Sergio would never swear to or affirm.

  26. Martin T. says:

    Fix it again Tony Sergio at it again.
    Wish the whole lot of them would get into their Polish built not Italian built 500’s – hold their kneecaps next to their ears (Favorite small Italian car driving position) and drive off an ocean cliff somewhere.
    Problem solved for the Fiat group.

  27. =j says:

    Fiat-Chrysler: A troglodyte CEO who thinks there is no future in EVs.
    Also Fiat-Chrysler: The only place you can go if you want a three row PHEV.

    I give up.

  28. tom moloughney says:

    I’d never buy or lease from his company. I don’t care if he subsidizes the 500e down to $19/month. I’ll only support the companies that are actively trying to produce PEVs in volume, sell them in all states, in multiple countries, and have additional plug-in models in the pipeline. Don’t support the laggards, even if they offer great compliance deals. Just let them just fade away.

  29. Kan says:

    That is why Mazda rhymes with Pixda:)

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