Chrysler Group touts 'Year 1' milestones

By Mike Driehorst
Chrysler Group

(December 28, 2010) Nov. 4, 2009, is a big day in Chrysler Group history. That’s the day CEO Sergio Marchionne and other group execs laid out a five-year plan for the company and the vehicle brands.

During the presidential visit to one of our Kokomo, Ind., facilities in November, Marchionne told a reporter, "We're a long way from fully achieving our plan. We're at step one of a five-year plan."

It is a long process — but Chrysler Group is headed in the right direction.

As Marchionne said an email to Chrysler Group employees and contractors this month, “This has been a foundational year for the company….Every day, pride is being restored and confidence in the future is being rekindled.”

That’s true not only within the company but outside as well. Many people in the various online communities we’re in are rooting for Chrysler Group to succeed. We hear you and very much appreciate it.

So, with 2011 sprouting in a few days, let’s take a look back at what came to fruition in 2010:


In May, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled off the line at Jefferson North Assembly Plant (Detroit). Since then, the Grand Cherokee has earned numerous awards, including the Texas Auto Writers Association “SUV of Texas,” “Four Wheeler of the Year” Award from Four Wheeler magazine, “Best Buy” in the Full-size/Luxury SUV Category by Consumers Digest magazine, and The Detroit News’ “Truck of the Year.”

After the Grand Cherokee, our brands continued the momentum to replace or refresh 75 percent of their product portfolio — with 11 launches in the fourth quarter.

The new Pentastar V-6 engine also launched — and earned its share of recognition.

And, Chrysler Group has begun production on the 1.4-liter, 16-valve Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE), which is set to launch in 2012 Fiat 500.


In the U.S., through the end of November, Chrysler Group has eight consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains, and total 2010 sales (again, through the end of November) increased by 17 percent compared with 2009. Chrysler Canada has had 12 consecutive months of sales growth, and grew total 2010 sales by 28 percent through the end of November.

Since June, sales in Mexico have been up every single month, and international sales increased 3.6 percent over the period on a year-to-year basis.


Chrysler Group exceeded its forecasts through the first three quarters of 2010. We posted an operating profit of $565 million, net revenues of $31.2 billion and a reduction in net loss to $453 million. Cash on hand was increased to more than $8.2 billion at the end of September, up from $5.9 billion at the end of 2009, which brings total available liquidity to more than $10.5 billion, including $2.3 billion that remains available to draw under our loan agreements with U.S. Treasury and Canadian and Ontario governments.

Company management is still considering an initial public offering in the second half of 2011 — if market conditions are favorable.


Chrysler Group announced nearly $3 billion in total investments during 2010. This included adding more than 2,000 new jobs to support two additional shifts at assembly plants and additional production at our Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) facility in Dundee, Mich.

The implementation of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) is playing a key role in improving safety, efficiency, quality and flexibility in Chrysler plants. (We’re working on a post with data on the impact of WCM. Stay tuned.)


The 2010 Dealer Announcement Show in September attracted more than 2,400 dealers from around the world. In November, we announced the selection of 130 U.S. dealers and 58 Canadian dealers to represent the Fiat brand in its return to North America.

While Year 1 looks good, there are four more to go to finish off the plan — and continue beyond.