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Pedja's 1968 Firebird

2019 March
of the Month

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Car and Driver: Sergio Marchionne Skeptical of Tesla Model 3’s Profitability

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SergioMarchionne

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Unlike many prominent CEOs, Fiat Chrysler boss and crew-neck sweater enthusiast Sergio Marchionne says whatever the hell he wants. Typically it’s very entertaining, and his recent comments about the just-revealed Tesla Model 3 are no exception.

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Marchionne spoke to Automotive News Europe at an FCA meeting in Amsterdam Friday. It turns out, he’s not all that enamored with the Model 3.

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“I am not surprised by the high number of reservations but you have then to build and deliver them and also be profitable,” said Marchionne, perhaps hinting at Telsa’s history of production delays: Tesla Model X production was repeatedly postponed almost two years from Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s original 2013 target.

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Marchionne says he doesn’t think Tesla will make a profit on the Model 3 at its expected $35,000 base price. Or at least, he’s very interested in finding out how Tesla plans to make money on the car. As he told Automotive News, if Musk “can show me that the car will be profitable at that price, I will copy the formula, add the Italian design flair and get it to the market within 12 months.”

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A $35,000 electric car with Alfa Romeo Giulia styling? We’d be into that.

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Fiat Chrysler has been criticized for its blasé attitude toward electric and hybrid vehicles. Up until the debut of the new Pacifica minivan (with plug-in hybrid option), the only hybrid FCA offered was the $1.3 million, 949-horsepower LaFerrari. Currently, the only all-electric car in the automaker’s portfolio is the Fiat 500E, a car Marchionne openly encourages people not to buy.

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Marchionne doesn’t seem worried by FCA’s late-to-the-game strategy, telling Automotive News, “better late than sorry.”

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This story originally appeared on Road & Track.

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