In June, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was still under the direction of late CEO Sergio Marchionne, the automaker announced an ambitious, $10.5-billion bid on electrification that will see it introducing new battery-electric and hybrid models under a range of different brands. While not principally opposed to powertrain electrification, Marchionne was perhaps more of a realist than fellow automotive CEOs, preferring to hold off on big bets on the technology until costs came down, demand went up, and EVs were less of an economic gamble.
Now, even with a new leader at the helm, FCA’s electrification plans aren’t likely to change in either scope or timeline, according to Forbes. The outlet got the thoughts of Kelley Blue Book Executive Analyst Rebecca Lindland recently, who said: “FCA outlined an electrification strategy at the capital markets day and I believe [CEO Mike Manley] will stick to that. There’s no reason to accelerate the timeline, especially if the California waiver goes away. FCA is more interested in partnering with an EV supplier than doing extensive, expensive in-house research.”
Senior Research Analyst for Navigant Research’s Transportation Efficiencies program Sam Abuelsamid agreed, saying: “I frankly don’t expect much if any change from the plan we saw announced [in June]. Lots of emphasis on batteries in Maserati as well as Jeeps in China and elsewhere. Lots of mild hybrid and PHEV in between. If anything I could see perhaps another BEV added in North America depending on how the demand looks.”
FCA’s new CEO, Mike Manley, was formerly head of the automaker’s rugged Jeep brand, which will effectively lead the charge (pun intended) as electrification becomes a more prominent force in FCA’s powertrain portfolio. Within the next five years, every Jeep vehicle will have at least one electrified model in its range, and of the more-than-30 FCA nameplates slated to receive some form of electrification, 14 will be in the Jeep stable. Meanwhile, there will be a lot of activity at the premium end of the spectrum, as hybridization graces the coming Alfa Romeo GTV and 8C, and the future Maserati Alfieri will be available as a plug-in-hybrid or battery-electric vehicle.