5 Priorities for Mike Manley as he Takes Over Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

July 31st, 2018 by

The late Sergio Marchionne has left some big shoes to fill for up-and-coming CEO Mike Manley, formerly head of Jeep and Ram. The former’s revival of both Fiat in 2004, and subsequently Chrysler in 2008, looks like a large shadow of success over Manley who will need to prioritize the company’s most pressing matters to ensure continued success.

Asia-Pacific Market

Manley, just like Marchionne, will have to address the company’s slow start into the Asia-Pacific market, where they’ve set goals to seriously increase their market share. The Fiat Chrysler strategy that is currently in motion is one that Manley participated in developing – a turnaround strategy that entails building locally in China. Building locally will help Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) avoid import duties up to 25 percent, logically reducing the cost of automobiles, and thus enhance the company’s competitiveness.

Acquisition

Marchionne was a firm believer that only a handful of the world’s automakers would have the capital it takes to succeed in the future of this industry as the market moves towards autonomous and electric vehicles. His turnaround model for Fiat and Chrysler depended largely on the fusion of its two entities, and a focus point of the newly-formed company seems to hinge on the same train of thought. Marchionne had openly sought for FCA to be acquired by an even bigger automaker, but will this be a priority for Manley as well? Time will tell as he unveils his future plans for the company.

Wall Street

In a world where the stock market is thrown into chaos by any minuscule thing, it’ll be Manley’s responsibility to assure Wall Street that FCA’s profits and production plans will not be harmed due to the rushed succession. During Marchionne’s tenure at FCA, stock more than doubled since its introduction at $9 in 2014, and at one point reached a high at nearly $25. Considering Manley is no newcomer to this company, his transition will no doubt be a smooth one, although a tough one as he juggles all these new tasks.

Jeep and Ram

Among Manley’s top priority is his choice for who will lead the Jeep and Ram brands – the two brands that are single-handedly responsible for a large part of FCA’s profits. Jeep, the crown-jewel of FCA, has been led by Manley himself for the past three years and we can safely assume that he will be closely involved in choosing a new leader to ensure its continued success. Media speculation points to Jim Morrison as a likely successor – Morrison has been running Ram’s North American operations, and previously worked with Manley at Jeep so it’s not that far-fetched to think of him as the up and coming replacement to head both Jeep and Ram.

United Automobile Workers Negotiations

While we knew Marchionne to be a shrewd negotiator who had a respectful relationship with the union and its leaders, we have no indication as to how the relationship with Manley will go. Manley will decide how much involvement there will be on his part, if any, with the union and the 2019 negotiations. UAW is slated to have completely new leaders in 2019, so at the very least both the union and FCA will both be experiencing new leadership sure to be infused with fresh ideas.

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Photo Source/Copyright: forbes.com