As we’ve reported in the past, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne really isn’t a big proponent of electric cars. The automaker created the Fiat 500e simply for compliance reasons, and Marchionne begged the public to not purchase the car since each one that is sold actually costs the company money.
When asked during the Paris Motor Show about electric vehicles, he stated that he still thinks that the technology won’t be profitable anytime during this decade. For that reason alone, don’t hold your breath for an electric version of the Dodge Dart or Chrysler 200, let alone the Jeep Wrangler. Such a statement is interesting considering that a fair amount of other automakers have delved a little deeper into electrification technology, most notably Nissan and Renault. Somehow those other automakers seem to be making at least some money from producing EVs, or at least aren’t losing much.
Some might accuse Marchionne of being a wimp when it comes to exploring alternative fuels. Of course, Fiat Chrysler has a lot of fires to put out right now, and that fact alone might be why the CEO doesn’t want to forge ahead into uncharted waters. It’s not easy getting an Italian company together with an American one, considering that people on both sides have complained that the culture and influence from the other nationality is becoming overly influential. Throw in there the financial issues Fiat has been struggling with, plus the fact that the automaker is trying to penetrate some unaddressed market segments, and it’s easy to see how Marchionne would be concerned with the allocation of resources.
Lest you think that this means Fiat Chrysler will never make electrified models, it doesn’t. But for right now, Marchionne says that he sees internal combustion engines as more economical and practical for Americans and Europeans. Until that changes, don’t expect to see the company exploring the technology in a big way.