DETROIT –- CEO Sergio Marchionne again asks the U.S. government to let auto makers chart their own course toward meeting the fuel-economy standards it has mandated.
“My fear, which I’ve uttered more than once, is that legislators are rushing precipitously toward embracing (electric vehicles) as the only technological solution,” Marchionne tells attendees at the SAE World Congress here.
“But it’s a very limited market. Even 10 years from now, electric cars are expected to account for well below 5% of the total market.”
rolls out its 500e EV in California in the coming weeks and Marchionne says the auto maker will lose $10,000 for every vehicle sold because sales will not make up for millions in development costs.
While not completely ruling out EVs, he says auto makers should not be “strong-armed by legislators” convinced they are a cure-all. “Governments can drive the best possible results by remaining, I insist, technology-neutral.”
Marchionne points to the hydrogen trend that has made little progress, claiming production of hydrogen fuel-cell-power vehicles would have created more emissions than the vehicles themselves.
The CEO also emphasizes supply-chain efficiency as a key element of globalization, and says both OEMs and suppliers must react more quickly to problems than in the past, be it related to economic volatility or natural disasters.
“Suppliers play an increasingly important role as manufacturers reduce lifecycles (of products),” he says. “Supplier consolidation has produced efficiencies, but we are now more vulnerable when one problem” occurs.
Marchionne predicts eventually there will be only “five or six global players” in the industry as auto makers continue to consolidate to cut costs. “Long-term, neither Fiat norwould have made it on their own.”
Global platforms, as seen with the Dodge Dart, Fiat Viaggio and Alfa Romeo Giulietta, also must be cut down to size, Marchionne says, adding product launches must be executed flawlessly.
Otherwise, he says, “You’ll find yourself back in hell.”