Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is, without a doubt, an outspoken individual. We rank him right up there with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in his ability to generate a remark that ignites controversy.
This latest statement from Marchionne is a prime example of exactly that.
While speaking at the 2013 SAE World Congress in Detroit, CEO Marchionne had a sound-off moment that's sure to cause a stir.
Fiat 500e is Priced at $22,500 After Incentives in California. Fiat CEO Claims Automaker Will Lose $10,000 on Each 500e Sold
Marchionne, a proponent of natural gas vehicles and, shall we say, non-supporter of electric vehicles, called upon world governments to remain "technology neutral" in terms of providing government support for advanced technology vehicles. Of course, this comment implies that Marchionne isn't thrilled that most countries provide incentives for plug-in vehicles, while at the same time ignoring natural gas.
"Regulators are rushing precipitously toward embracing (electric vehicles) as the only solution."
We see no issue with this statement as we too believe all feasible forms of advanced technology vehicle should be equally supported, but Marchionne didn't stop there.
Marchionne re-iterated something we've heard him say countless times in the past: Fiat will lose $10,000 on every electric 500e it sells. That's despite the incentives out there offered on electric vehicles, which allow Fiat to price the 500e higher than it would if the incentives didn't exist.
But it's this statement we found amusing and amiss. Fiat CEO Marchionne, while discussing the $10,000 loss per 500e, stated:
"Doing that on a large scale will be masochism in the extreme."
Fiat's CEO further claimed natural gas is "the cleanest alternative available" today.
Marchionne closed by discussing consolidation in the global automotive industry.
"When all the dust settles, we'll be left with just five or six global players. Long-term, neither Fiat nor Chrysler would have made it on its own."
It seems if Chrysler-Fiat continues to ignore the success of plug-in vehicles, then failure could still come.