Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne joined executives from nine other automakers with business in the US on Friday in meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss trade and emissions standards. Like other industry leaders, Marchionne is hoping that the Trump administration will review – and possibly loosen – the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set to affect cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the country from 2022 through 2025, although the executive has expressed a desire for Scott Pruitt’s EPA to work with the California Air Resources Board to come up with a single, nation-wide set of rules.
Marchionne has released an official statement on the meeting, which follows:
I appreciated the opportunity to talk to the President today about our shared commitment to the automotive industry. Consumer preferences and technological advancements in our business are constantly evolving. Therefore, revisiting and assessing EPA standards, as was originally intended, is the right thing to do.
With this process just beginning, it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions and pre-judge the outcome. Rather, I am optimistic that the President can find a means to preserve a national program that drives continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency and, at the same time, allows us to build vehicles customers want, at prices they can afford. Achieving this result will require the willingness by all parties to compromise through thoughtful and data-driven dialogue.
In an interview with Reuters heading into the meeting, Sergio Marchionne had some kind words for the president, calling him “probably the most consummate deal-maker I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
It seems that President Trump was quite taken with Marchionne, too. According to The Truth About Cars, Trump said of the 65-year-old executive: “Right now, he is my favorite person in the room.” The reason: FCA’s decision to spend $1 billion to expand truck assembly in the state of Michigan. More specifically, production of Ram’s heavy-duty truck offerings will be relocated from Saltillo, Mexico to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant. Saltillo will be reconfigured to produce commercial vehicles for foreign export.
In addition to Heavy Duty Ram trucks, FCA’s Warren Truck Assembly will also produce the forthcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, while all Ram 1500 production is shifted to the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.