As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne prepares to deliver his final business strategy presentation this Friday, analysts and shareholders are waiting to see what the automaker’s plans might be with regard to electrification. That’s one arena in which FCA has been reluctant to compete, although Marchionne has said that more than half of the automaker’s fleet will incorporate some type of electrified powertrain by 2022. Maserati will lead the charge, with plans to hybridize each of its new vehicles set to arrive after 2019.
Still, “FCA is way behind rivals in terms of hybrid and electric vehicles and they need to hit the accelerator to convince investors they can close that gap,” says 8a+ Investimenti fund manager Andrea Pastorelli, according to Automotive News.
Merging with another global automaker would have provided an easy, effective way to spring ahead with electrification, but even as Sergio Marchionne readies for retirement next year, there’s still no obvious merger partner in sight. And despite vehicles like the all-new Jeep Wrangler JL and Ram 1500 pickup, both of which offer Belted Alternator Starter (BAS) hybrid powertrain options, how FCA plans to catch up to rivals like Ford and GM, which have pledged to invest billions into electrification over the coming years, is unknown.
At stake is not only investor perception, but also the ability to cope with ever-tightening global emissions requirements.
Friday’s presentation from Marchionne will outline Fiat Chrysler’s business strategy from now through 2022, at which point Fiat’s CEO of 14 years will be long gone. The 65-year-old executive is also expected to deliver an update on his efforts to rid FCA of industrial debt, and his presentation could include the announcement or confirmation of several future products.