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Fiat Chrysler Gets Dutch Headquarters

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jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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The new Fiat Chrysler logo. (Credit: Fiat Chrysler photo)

The new Fiat Chrysler logo. (Credit: Fiat Chrysler photo)

AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) –  Now that Fiat has complete ownership of Chrysler, the new company has a new name and a new headquarters.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will be headquartered in the Netherlands, with shares traded in both New York and Milan.

“A new chapter of our story begins with the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. A journey that started over a decade ago, as Fiat sought to ensure its place in an increasingly complex marketplace, has brought together two organizations each with a great history in the automotive industry and different but complementary geographic strengths. FCA allows us to face the future with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor,” said John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat.

The changes will need to be approved by current Fiat stockholders, and the final language will need to be approved by the company’s board. The company hopes to begin trading in New York in October, and says the transaction is expected be finalized by the end of the year.

CEO Sergio Marchionne has been assuring workers that the decision on a headquarters will have no bearing on the work done at what had been Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, and at Chrysler and Fiat operations around the world.

In its statement today, the company said the headquarters decision was based “on the needs and opportunities resulting from the creation of a large, global auto group through the union of Fiat and Chrysler.”

And, according to the statement, there will not be an impact on employment.

“The existing organization based on four operating regions will remain central to the operating and management structure of the new Group. All activities forming part of FCA will continue with the same mission, including manufacturing plants in Italy and elsewhere around the globe, with no impact on headcount.”

Fiat Chrysler plans to update analysts on its product strategy in May.

Chrysler announcing earlier that it made $2.8 billion in 2013, a profit helped by a one time tax gain. The adjusted net income came in at $1.8 billion.

“With the release today of our preliminary 2013 financial results we have closed a remarkable chapter in Chrysler’s proud history,” read an email sent to Chrysler workers by CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Your courage and passion have restored Chrysler to being a competitive force in the auto industry and have created a strong partner with Fiat in building an exciting new global venture. You have earned the right to take pride in our achievements to date while renewing our shared commitment to strive to be the very best.”

In the email, Marchionne stated that salaried and manufacturing workers would be entitled to a performance bonus, but did not lay out an amount. Since Chrysler’s profits are smaller, and it’s formula is different, the final number is likely to be far lower than the record $8,800 checks that Ford workers will receive.

Chrysler’s global sales were up nine percent over last year. But the company was hurt by the delayed Cherokee launch. Those vehicles are now at dealerships and selling well. So, they should help 2014 earnings.

“The ongoing demand in the SUV and truck segments is benefitting Chrysler’s Jeep and Ram brands,” said Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer. “With nearly four years of uninterrupted sales growth, bolstered by the recent introduction of the Jeep Cherokee and updates to the Ram 1500, Durango and Grand Cherokee, Chrysler has several compelling models performing well in this highly competitive market. While the Fiat brand continues to struggle, its sales woes could be offset by the Chrysler division’s all-new 200, which brings attractive styling and all-wheel drive to the high-volume midsize sedan segment. And with Fiat taking full ownership of Chrysler in 2014 the global automaker can now focus on future product development that maximizes production synergy and cost efficiencies.”

In his email, Marchionne urged Chrysler workers to embrace the global nature of the combined company.

“We need to focus on building a common future and to remove any vestiges of thinking that involves ‘us’ and ‘them.’ I ask you to continue bringing your skills and determination to make this next chapter the most rewarding one ever.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/carchronicles
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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