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Auto blogWed, 22 May 2013 14:14:00 EST
Automotive News reports Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has issued a written apology for his comments regarding his decision to stick with an Italian engine for the upcoming Alfa Romeo 4C. As you may recall, back in January, Marchionne was quoted as saying, "I cannot come up with a schlock product, I just won't. I won't put an American engine into that car. With all due respect to my American friends, it has to be a wop engine." The CEO penned an apology to the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition for using the racial epithet, saying that he made the comment in jest. Marchionne also said he realizes his remarks were unacceptable.
ONE VOICE, an organization aimed at fighting discrimination and stereotyping of Italian Americans, thanked Marchionne, Chrysler and Fiat for the apology. Marchionne is an Italian-born Canadian citizen, and he's gotten in trouble for other comments in the past. In 2011, he called high interest rates Chrysler was paying to the Canadian government "shyster rates." He apologized a day later.
It's fascinating the way that one change to a complex system can have all sorts of unintended consequences. For instance, there are hundreds of new Chrysler Town and County and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans built in Windsor, Ontario, sitting in lots on the Detroit waterfront because of the energy boom in the Bakken oil field in the northern US and parts of Canada.
The huge amount of crude oil coming from these sites mostly use freight trains for transport, and that supply boom has resulted in a shortage of railcars to carry other goods. According to The Windsor Star, North American crude oil transport by train has gone from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 434,032 carloads in 2013. Making matters worse, some North American rail infrastructure is still damaged because of this year's harsh winter, and that's slowing things down even further.
Chrysler admits to The Star that it has had some delivery delays due to the freight train shortage. In the meantime, it's using more trucks to deliver its vehicles. Trucking is a far less economical solution, partially because a train can carry so many more units at one time, but alternatives are slim. The Windsor plant alone has a deal for 33 trucks to distribute the minivans around Canada and the Midwestern US.
The merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is targeting October 13 to launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters assembled for a meeting in Rimini, Italy.
"The most likely date for the listing in the US is October 13," Marchionne said, according to Reuters.
Marchionne is trusting that the money made in the IPO will be contribute heavily his ambitious, $64-billion five-year growth plan, which will see FCA reboot Alfa Romeo and Maserati and expand Jeep's global presence. Should the IPO fall short, though, Marchionne has confirmed that "all decision [sic] on any capital increase will be taken by the board of FCA at the end of October."