Fiat CEO comments on Chrysler, crisis and chairman

TURIN, April 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Fiat SpA (FIA.MI: ) and Chrysler
LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has become
something of a guru in the auto industry since predicting over a
year ago only five or six carmakers would survive the crisis.

On Wednesday, he is presenting his vision for the next five
years for Fiat, filling in the gaps left by a similar marathon
presentation for Chrysler last November.

Here are some of Marchionne’s comments in a speech to
analysts entitled “Creative reconstruction after the perfect
storm” at a presentation in Fiat’s headquarters in the former
Lingotto factory:

ON THE NEW CHAIRMAN, JOHN ELKANN:

“He and I … have navigated the last six years together
through some pretty shark-infested waters.”

“Notwithstanding his young age (34), he has now reached the
right level of seasoning and maturity to assume the role.”

ON CHRYSLER, THE U.S. CAR MAKER IN WHICH FIAT HAS A 20
PERCENT STAKE:

“Much has been written in the last few months about Chrysler
and its prospects for the future … The financial analyst
community has been particularly active in anticipation of
today’s event. And to be honest, some of the reports I have
read, from what I used to consider intelligent and reasonable
people, have taken on the tinge of boulevard press writings.”

“The most benign interpretation is that they abused Albert
Einstein’s maxim that ‘imagination is more important than
knowledge’.”

“This disclosure process (on Chrysler accounts) is being
instituted in the spirit of increasing the transparency around
the company’s financial position that has been a point of
contention with stakeholders in the last few years.”

ON FIAT’S EXECUTIVES:

“A team of leaders for whom courage has become a way of
life. The team leading Fiat is a team of determined individuals
who have embraced global competition as a challenge … and who,
like a hurdle runner, see obstacles as an opportunity to
demonstrate their worth.”

ON THE CRISIS THAT HIT THE CAR INDUSTRY IN LATE 2008:

“The shockwave it created hit the world so hard that only a
war could have been more devastating.”

“Our meltdown scenario … a simulation which seemed
completely unrealistic at the time, was later proved to have
been too conservative.”

“I am not quoting … numbers to offer excuses, but rather
as a reminder of how steep the crevasse that had opened up on
the road ahead of us was.”

“For a company, crisis can also bring out the best, like a
period of reconstruction after a war.”

For a story on Fiat’s plan [ID:LDE63K0PO]

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(Editing by Will Waterman)

Fiat CEO comments on Chrysler, crisis and chairman