In driving seat: Jeep chief Mike Manley introduces the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. He is now CEO of the group. Picture: REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST
In driving seat: Jeep chief Mike Manley introduces the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. He is now CEO of the group. Picture: REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST

Washington — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA’s) new CE Mike Manley, who has overseen the effort to turn Jeep into a global brand, now plans to carry out the parent company’s strategy unveiled in June, the company said on Saturday.

The Italian-American car maker said Manley is taking over immediately from CE Sergio Marchionne, who is seriously ill following surgery.

British-born Manley, who also takes responsibility for the North America region, will push ahead with the strategy outlined by Marchionne in June to ramp up sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and invest €9bn in electric and hybrid cars.

Marchionne had been due to step down in April 2019.

"The success of the Jeep brand under Manley and his global background make him the smart choice to be the new head of FCA," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

Manley, an automotive industry veteran, has run the Jeep brand since June 2009 after the company emerged from bankruptcy restructuring following US and Canadian government bailouts and under Fiat’s control.

The fact that there’s already a new plan that the entire senior management team has bought into makes it somewhat easier for Manley as his successor.
George Galliers

Since then, Jeep’s annual sales have risen from about 300,000 — nearly all in the US market — to 1.4-million worldwide in 2017.

Fiat Chrysler, the world’s seventh largest vehicle maker, said in June that by 2022 it expected one in every 12 utility vehicles sold industry-wide to be a Jeep.

Jeep plans to launch nine new products, enter three new segments including large SUVs, and offer four battery electric versions by 2022.

Under Manley, Fiat Chrysler expanded Jeep production outside the US, including in China, India, Mexico and Italy, as the brand has worked to expand global sales.

"The fact that there’s already a new plan that the entire senior management team has bought into makes it somewhat easier for Manley as his successor," said George Galliers, a London-based analyst with brokerage Evercore ISI.

Manley joined then DaimlerChrysler in 2000 and remained at Chrysler after Daimler exited Chrysler. He also assumed responsibility for the Ram truck brand in 2015.

Morgan Stanley analysts estimated in June that the Jeep and Ram brands have annual revenue of $84bn, or two-thirds of the company’s total revenue, calling the brands "pivotal" for FCA’s future.

Manley is known for a dry sense of humour.

At the Detroit automotive show in January he noted all vehicle makers’ excessive enthusiasm. "In this business we’ve become so good at making up accolades I’m just waiting for the best, the most capable black paint ever sprayed on a truck," Manley joked.

Bloomberg