Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marchionne says fuel economy must improve

The automobile industry has a social responsibility to improve fuel economy, according to Chrysler/Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne.
  "The fuel efficiency challenge is one of the biggest issues facing the industry, and not just because of daunting government regulations.  As an industry, we need to look beyond the narrow interests of our industry and embrac ecological responsibility because we owe it to future generations," he said.
  "I believe in our industry’s ability to find solutions. Even with traditional combustion engines, we have only skimmed the surface of the ability to squeeze out higher fuel efficiency levels, allowing us to extract much more power out of smaller displacements," he said.
 "I believe that if we unleash our engineering talent, we can find solutions that are both in line with sustainable mobility while also meeting the desires of our customers for vehicles that are a pleasure to drive. As an industry, we can choose to reject the notion that we can’t do it," he said.
  Marchionne confirmed Chrysler will begin building the diesel-powered  version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit early in 2013. But Fiat/Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said he doesn't expect diesel engines to move from large trucks and SUS  into smaller passenger cars in the US . The necessary emission controls make the engines too expensive, Marchionne said during an appearance  at  the Automotive News World Congress.  Marchionne also said Chrysler won't begin preparing the Jefferson North plant to build a new Maserati SUV with a Ferrari engine until 2013 and dismissed speculation Fiat could be lining up to make a bid for the German carmaker Opel.
  Marchionne also emphasized Chrysler has no intention of resting on its laurels after a successful 2011 in which it succeed in selling more than 2 million vehicles and gaining market share. "This is a story of revitalization in a company that was regarded as irrelevant, set in a city that has been disparaged as a failure.
 "It is just one example of how impossible feats of recovery can be achieved if we work together in good faith, realizing that we have a stake in each other’s success," he said.
 "Fiat and Chrysler come from two different pasts, but they have something very strong in common.
Both have been to hell and back," he said.
 "The current situation doesn't favor a business like ours – an industry that is extremely capital intensive, requires thorough medium- and long-term planning, and is highly sensitive to economic downturns.
Today there are two significant threats fuelling fears on either side of the Atlantic: the specter of a faltering recovery in North America and the sovereign debt situation in Europe.
  Marchionne added the the current uncertainty is a by-product of the improper, or at best incomplete, execution of two large experiments.   
 "The first, clearly driven by the United States, had as a clear objective the liberalization and deregulation of financial markets," he said.
  "The second, concocted in Europe, proposed the Single Market and Single Currency as the solution to the political instability that had characterized Europe for hundreds of years," he added. "The first experiment brought us close to Armageddon.  The second has the potential to finish the job," he said. By Joseph Szczesny


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