FIAT 500

06.07.2007 SERGIO MARCHIONNE: "July 4 is a new beginning for Fiat"

During yesterday's press conference in Turin to launch the Fiat 500, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was in upbeat mood seeing this event as not only the presentation of a strategic new car, but also to be the re-launch of the entire Fiat Group. "This is not considered to be the launch of a car," said Marchionne from the podium which jutted upwards from the sweeping stage, "but the launch of the Fiat Group, the 500 means a lot for this company precisely because it represents what Fiat is today and what it wants to become. We have filled this car with the best industrial know-how this group has."

This year's production will be 50-60,000 units and by Thursday around 5,000 new 500s were in the Italian dealerships, while Turin seemed flooded with the new car. "The ambitions [of Fiat] are reflected in the numbers," said Marchionne, who said that the proposed 120,000 a year assembly target could be pushed as high as 150,000 before capacity was reached at the Tychy plant in Poland where it is built alongside the Panda.

The Tychy plant is now working flat-out to build these two models after significant new investment, along with the older 600, and the forthcoming version of the 500 set to be assembled for Ford to slot into its range as the next-generation Ka model. "We are seriously indebted to the organisation in Tychy, the leadership and the staff for having done an outstanding job, also with the Panda and now the 500," said Marchionne, "Our Polish plant continues to be the best production plant in the manufacturing system of Fiat and it serves as an example to the rest of the organisation.

Marchionne was also asked about Fiat's response to the EU's controversial proposals to reduce car emission to 140 milligrams per kilometre (mg/km) by 2008 and further to 120mg/km by 2012, a issue that has caused open public concern for the European car manufacturers' trade body, ACEA. "One of the issues ACEA is trying to grapple with is the legislation that Brussels has put forward  of achieving 120 gms," he told reporters. "The considered reflective position  of the manufacturers in Europe is that the whole industry in Europe is incapable of meeting these by 2012, but 2015 is realistic. ACEA is expressing a blended view of all the manufacturers."
 

SERGIO MARCHIONNE

Upbeat and delighted by the 500, "July 4 is a new beginning for Fiat," Sergio Marchionne told the reporters assembled in Turin yesterday.

SERGIO MARCHIONNE

During yesterday's press conference in Turin to launch the Fiat 500, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was in upbeat mood seeing this event as not only the presentation of a strategic new car, but also to be the re-launch of the entire Fiat Group.


However Marchionne - who was the feature of a short film shown during the press conference - was keen to stress Fiat's strong commitment to be the global leader in this specific area, a position he firmly believes Fiat already achieves. "Fiat is in the fortunate position in the small car sector of utilising engines that have a lesser propensity to emit CO2 and more importantly I think Fiat  on the technology side is capable of mastering technologies which will make a contribution to technology," he said.

"Whatever the other car manufacturers do Fiat will provide the lowest weighted average emissions of any other manufacturers," her continued, "and we are confident that Fiat is the only car manufacturer in the European car sector [to achieve this]. Not withstanding what others do, what Brussels does in terms of legislation, Fiat will have the lowest weighted average CO2 emissions."

He emphasised the Group's commitment to quality improvements saying :"Stefan Ketter has been tasked with assimilating best manufacturing practices across Fiat," a process that got underway in earnest in 2006, is already seeing results in 2007 and will be completed by the end of 2010. "We have seen significant improvements in quality already," he told the audience.

Upbeat and delighted by the 500, "July 4 is a new beginning for Fiat," he told the reporters. Marchionne envisions a very bright future for the Turinese carmaker, adding that Fiat will reclaim market share "we think is rightfully ours," and stating that Fiat is on course to meet its avowed 2010 targets of a 5 billion euro operating profit and revenues of around 70 billion euros. There are no plans to take the 500, or any other Fiat model to the United States, but Marchionne was non committal on the possibility of selling it in Brazil.
 

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05.07.2007

Fiat CEO Luca De Meo introduced the new 500 at an elaborate press conference this morning, promising that this is the model that will really change the way Fiat go about building and selling cars

2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed

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