What Does Mike Manley Mean for Future of FCA?

Lead image Mike Manley with Jeep Cherokee 1600 pixels II

By Richard Truesdell

With Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne gravely ill, the FCA board acted swiftly to accelerate a succession plan already in place, naming Jeep and Ram executive Mike Manley as Marchionne's successor.

The FCA board announced the move Saturday following Italian media reports that Marchionne's health had taken a turn for the worse due to complications arising from shoulder surgery. His condition has been called irreversible.

Who Is Manley?

The 54-year-old Mike Manley, of Britain, has presided over FCA's financial crown jewels Jeep since 2009 and Ram since 2015. During the last decade he has been one of Marchionne's closest confidants as Marchionne successfully merged Fiat with Chrysler in 2014, creating the world's seventh largest global automaker. Manley's greatest achievement thus far has been to take Jeep global, quadrupling sales since 2009, from 338,000 units to 1,400,000 in 2017.

After a dearth of new product launches, Manley spearheaded the worldwide launch of the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler and redesigned 2019 Ram 1500. Manley succeeded where Daimler failed by making Jeep a worldwide brand. Now he will be in the CEO seat as FCA launches several important new products during the next 24 months, including the new 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups, the launch of the pickup version of the Jeep Wrangler called the Scrambler, an all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, a new mid-sized pickup that will be sold under both the Ram and Fiat brands, as well as the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer luxury SUVs very likely based on the body-on-frame architecture of the 2019 Ram. To say that Manley will have his hands full would be an understatement.

While trained as an engineer, Manley rose through the ranks via dealer sales, joining Chrysler's United Kingdom operations in 2000 when the automaker was part of Daimler. He was named head of Jeep at the time of Fiat's acquisition in 2009 in the wake of Chrysler's managed bankruptcy by the Obama administration. In 2015 responsibility for Ram was added to his duties as FCA continued to grow the Ram brand into an even bigger sales powerhouse. Concurrently, Manley expanded Jeep sales in key overseas markets including China, India, Brazil and the European Union. Analysts estimate that Jeep alone could be worth the entire $30 billion market capitalization of FCA.

All Eyes on Manley

FCA will announce its quarterly results Wednesday in an earnings call with all attention focused on Manley. The results are expected to come in strong with FCA's operating margins improving (6 percent), ahead of Ford (5.2 percent) but still behind GM (7.2 percent) among domestic automakers. Beyond the aggressive light truck product launch, Manley's second biggest task will be to improve quality among all FCA brands: Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Ram. FCA, plagued by recalls and diesel emissions compliance issues, has room to improve. Conversely, after years of eliminating dealers since the 2008 economic downturn, FCA is increasing its dealer footprint in North America.

Third on Manley's agenda will be to implement a companywide electrification program across all its brands. FCA has partnered with Google's Waymo in the autonomous vehicle category. In May, Waymo announced it was adding 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its self-driving fleet. When it comes to electrification, FCA is playing catch up, but it has announced it will have up to 30 battery-electric and hybrid vehicles among its brands by 2022.

It will be up to Manley to implement FCA's latest five-year plan, unveiled by Marchionne in a June 1 meeting with analysts. Crucial to the success of that plan will be continued expansion of the Ram brand, which at times has nipped at the heels of Chevrolet in overall North American sales, and a successful, glitch-free launch of the oft-delayed next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2019 with the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models to follow in 2020. If successful, it could push Jeep's worldwide sales well beyond the 2,000,000 mark by 2020.

Manley will push forward this agenda without the help of FCA's Alfredo Altavilla, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa business. One of two others considered as Marchionne's successor, Altavilla stepped down recently. The other possible successor was FCA Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer; analysts will be watching to see if Palmer departs as well. Palmer was instrumental in the completion of Fiat's merger with Chrysler in 2014 and is well-regarded by the financial communities in the U.S. and Europe.

Manufacturer images

 

Mike Manley Ram 2018 NAIAS presentation 2 from FCA video 1600 pixels II

Mike Manley Ram 2018 NAIAS presentation 1 from FCA video 1600 pixels II

IMG_8456A II

 

Comments

It's a shame about Sergio illness, but this is a much healthier company than it was five years ago. Their capitalization (stock price for those of you who attended public schools) has gone through the roof during the last three years, and rising stock prices are like vitamins for an automaker's product-development efforts. And it's beginning to show.

Nice profile on Mr Manley. Thanks PUTC

Has anyone actually seen a 2019 Ram on the road? Im on the road hours everyday and i have yet to see one kinda strange and im always looking!

@John

I was at a gun show in Vero Beach yesterday and the guy parked next to me had a brand new maroon 1500 RAM. I let him spend a few minutes telling me about it. It looked great and he said it runs really sweet.

I saw a new ram in Denver. Looks tamed down from previous. I say it's a more mature look than a grouch look. In other words, better.

I have seen several down south here. Mostly Big Horn or Limited.

Oh gawd that new Ram logo is horrendous. Maybe Manley's will get rid of it and go back to the previous version.

GUTS

GLORY

CLASS LEADING CEO

MIKE MANLEY

Junk like always.

@Mark Williams
As I suspected Sergio had a lot more problems than were reported , he is now in a Coma. Very unfortunate indeed
Mike Manley will keep the company growing. Jeep and Maserati are the jewels of the crown for FCA globally.Jeep and RAM are primarily sold in NA, Maserati more globally.

Jeep and Maserati are the jewels of the crown for FCA globally.Jeep and RAM are primarily sold in NA, Maserati more globally. ...Posted by: Robert Ryan | Jul 23, 2018

@Robert Ryan

RAM sold almost a half million pickups in the North American market last year. How many more will they need to sell before you consider RAM to be a crown jewel? I guess I found your characterization a bit curious since Maserati only sold about 14,000 cars in 2017.

CHINGmaricON’s consistently useless comments aside, the 2019 Ram’s improvements seem promising. The ones I’m interested in most are the splayed front frame rails combined with the steel bar behind the front wheels. I’m interested to see how it does in front offset crash testing. And also the etorque system looks very interesting. I’d like to see how hard it is to service because as long as it is positioned correctly, a standard alternator isn’t too hard to swap out. Plus it got bigger and lost weight, so even though most of The drivetrain is carryover, I suspect it will have better on road manners while towing and hauling.

@papajim
Reading comprehension on your part would be nice. I said GLOBALLY. Jeep and RAM are primarily NA

the 2019 Ram’s improvements seem promising. the etorque system looks very interesting. ..Posted by: MLS956 | Jul 23, 2018

@MLS956

Agree on both points! Ford and GM have a new competitor in the rear-view mirror. GM has some new products on the horizon but Ford's only product news is a thinly modified 2011 Global Ranger. In Ford's defense the new Ranger has a 2.3 turbo 10 speed that should be fun, but the rest of the truck is very dated. The F150 has not seen much more than a 10 speed trans and an aluminum body since 2011.

GM and Ford need to beware. The new RAM could surprise them.

@papajim
RAM sold 438 vehicles this year, they hope the inclusion of the 1500, MAY I emphasis MAY get them too 700.vehicles in Australia
I have actually seen more Maseratis in Australia than RAM's and about 3 times that number of Jeeps mainly Commanders

Ok dipsh*t, here's the question for a second time.

You omitted RAM when discussing FCA's so called crown jewels.

RAM sold almost a half million pickups in the North American market last year. How many more will they need to sell before you consider RAM to be a crown jewel?

@papjim,
Globally. That is the word. Big Deal in NA but not anywhere else.
But not Globally

@papajim
Try to be respectful. Otherwise I will start to become just as disrespectful

Robert Ryan is a dipsh*t. The RAM sells 30 times as many vehicles as the Maserati but it's the crown jewel..??

Robert, You are such a P O S!

@John
I did not know if you are another name for papajim. It is no crown jewel.If RAM disappeared none would care here. Jeep yes it has legacy value. Maserati,Lancia they also have legacy value not RAM. RAM is important in NA
By the way they sell 30 times more Maserati is in Australia than RAMs

Anyone else, they sell about 300 Ford and Chevrolet Pickups as well in Australia. I am not picking on RAM, uS Pickups are as popular as Mahindras in the US

Jeep and RAM are primarily NA...Posted by: Robert Ryan | Jul 23, 2018

@Robert Ryan

How many Maseratis do they sell in China. Jeep's a player there. Big player. I'm sorry you have been so rude.

Let me be rude: the sales figures in Australia are a non factor in this discussion. Ask Sergio if he'd rather make a big splash in Beijing or Brisbane...

Name calling is phenomenon of a irrational person.

The best thing to do is get out of any exchange of ideas with irrational person. Irrational person resort to name calling and other bullying tactics when someone disagrees with their point of view.

As we know facts don't change people minds - the best example in the recent US history - September 2009, when congressman Joe Wilson - when he interrupted a speech by US President Barack Obama to the joint session 'You lie'.

Joe Wilson supports arming four-year-old children.

Name calling is phenomenon of a irrational person.

The best thing to do is get out of any exchange of ideas with irrational person. Irrational person resort to name calling and other bullying tactics when someone disagrees with their point of view.

As we know facts don't change people minds - the best example in the recent US history - September 2009, when congressman Joe Wilson - when he interrupted a speech by US President Barack Obama to the joint session 'You lie'.

Joe Wilson supports arming four-year-old children.

Elizabeth Warren 2020

Jeb Bush 2020

@papajim
Jeep is NOT a major player there. FCA has a tiny prescience. GM is the major US presence in China. Do not know where you are getting your info from

Now I know why BMW does not want Tariffs No Jeep has a modest stake in China
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/04/10/chinese-auto-tariffs-xi-jinping/503470002/

US sales of Automobiles overall,represent less than 1% of the Chinese market and the bulk of those are from transplanted European vehicles in the US

"As I suspected Sergio had a lot more problems than were reported , he is now in a Coma. Very unfortunate indeed"

-Robert Ryan

There was a report from an Italian news source that claims that doctors discovered that he had some sort of cancer in a very advanced state. He's being kept in a coma while the family and doctors decide what to do. Brick posted a link in the comments on TFLT.

@Rammins
That is my suspicion too. Reason he is in a Coma,it has progressed to his brain. Terrible really

Robert R,
Sorry from the USA, about the likes of LittleJimmy, he only hears, reads and sees what he wants, not what is reality or what you actually posted.
You gave him a chance to grow into a real man,
@papajim
Try to be respectful. Otherwise I will start to become just as disrespectful
He just does not want to,
From LittleJimmy,
Let me be rude: the sales figures in Australia are a non factor in this discussion. Ask Sergio if he'd rather make a big splash in Beijing or Brisbane...
He’s had many opportunities but none seem to be welcome.
Especially bringing up the “ask Sergio”, a man whom we know to be seriously ill.......LittleJimmy is on an island.

BACK to the topic at hand, Manley. We will see if he has been a puppet or a leader, time will tell. If he has the reigns fully in his control, and he is for real as his track record indicates....it may be the best thing for FCA.

Congressman Joe Wilson interrupted a speech by US President Barack Obama to the joint session 'You lie'...Posted by: David Robertson | Jul 23, 2018

@David R

Two people were talking that night and one was telling the truth. Obama swore that his health care law would not cover illegal immigrants. Wilson was right.

I'd personally rather have Joe Wilson in a Yugo than Barack Obama on a Rolls Royce.

@nocoteddy

What part of Australia are you from? There's something familiar about your potshots and your low-rent form of hostility.

@LittleJimmy,

I am a US citizen.

Did getting American citizenship mean that you had to forgo getting NHS benefits, or were you born here and late moved to Australia?

@LittleJimmy,

Born in NJ and raised in NY!

#1 A similar equipped F-150 averages $8000 LESS than Ram
#2 The F-150 with the 2.7 Eco-Boost gets the best MPG
#3 The F-150 Eco-Boost has the most power and torque
#4 The F-150 has the best payload and towing
#5 The F-150 is best in crash tests
#6 The F-150 has the best resale value in full size pickups

not only are you paying MORE for a Ram but you're getting LESS
The F-150 is a much better value plus the prestige and bragging rights owning one. Your friends and co-workers will be impressed with you for owning a F-150, especially an F-150 with the Eco-Boost

@nocoteddy

When did you quit going to Australia?

Big Al is a proud US citizen living in Australia. He will be moving to Florida if Donald T. loses in 2020.

It means it a bit that FIAT along with Alfa will be sent back home and Jeep will be split off and sold off to the highest bidder. The rest of the Chrysler/Dodge line will die. The only thing remaining from RAM line will be the underpinnings to form the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer.

Robert R,
Sorry from the USA, about the likes of LittleJimmy, he only hears, reads and sees what he wants, not what is reality or what you actually posted.
You gave him a chance to grow into a real man,
@papajim
Try to be respectful. Otherwise I will start to become just as disrespectful
He just does not want to,
From LittleJimmy,
Let me be rude: the sales figures in Australia are a non factor in this discussion. Ask Sergio if he'd rather make a big splash in Beijing or Brisbane...
He’s had many opportunities but none seem to be welcome.
Especially bringing up the “ask Sergio”, a man whom we know to be seriously ill.......LittleJimmy is on an island.

BACK to the topic at hand, Manley. We will see if he has been a puppet or a leader, time will tell. If he has the reigns fully in his control, and he is for real as his track record indicates....it may be the best thing for FCA.

The FAKE big al.

@LittleJimmy
Who is this Big Al that you speak of? I do not know of any such person. Perhaps you are off your meds again.

BACK to the topic at hand, Manley. We will see if he has been a puppet or a leader, time will tell. If he has the reigns fully in his control, and he is for real as his track record indicates....it may be the best thing for FCA.
Posted by: Team Big Al | Jul 24, 2018 10:43:29 AM

The FAKE big al.
Posted by: papajim | Jul 24, 2018 10:50:57 AM

@LittleJimmy
Who is this Big Al that you speak of? I do not know of any such person. Perhaps you are off your meds again.
Posted by: Nocoteddy | Jul 24, 2018 10:55:23 AM

@BAFO

Like shooting fish in a barrel. It's not even fair. He could not resist the bait.

papajim,
You use language like Donald T.

I will not stoop to your level.

'ave a nice day chump.

@Big *** from Oz

Say hi to Christine LeGarde for me.

Last I heard she was still predicting the collapse of the US economy along with a certain jerk from one of the Crown's colonies in somewhere in the far east.

Things seem to be going well at Fiat as long as you're not in the market for one of their very crappy cars. Trucks and SUVs and Crossovers are GREAT until gas prices rise, and or the economy cools (or worse). But hey there is always federal money and or foreign takeover when that happens.

I thought this article was about Mike Manley and not cheap shots. I am sorry to hear about Sergio. Hopefully FCA can keep on track and grow.

WORST TRUCK EVER MADE, TIED WITH GARBAGE MOTORS
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