While the Fiat-Chrysler name is typically associated with its CEO Sergio Marchionne, what his boss John Elkann announced on October 30 about the fate of its European investments was met with plenty of undivided attention. Fiat will be increasing its investments by nearly 50% within the next few years to a total of 16 billion to 18 billion euros, or about $20 billion to $23 billion.
The automaker will spend billions to retool its five underused Italian plants and to promote its Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands, with highly respected names but imperfect reputations to go up against Germany’s three huge automakers: BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. John Elkann is the 36-year-old scion of the Agnelli clan from Italy who founded Fiat.
About 10 years ago, he was named Fiat vice chairman of Fiat. He was named chairman in 2010. The young heir was forced to be the leader of a corporation after a family tragedy. But he now asserts himself. Many said that when Fiat acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler in 2009, it would not remain tied with the difficult economy in Italy. But Elkann did just that with its huge investments for Europe.