It seems obvious that Franco Amadei is hardly able to streamline Fiat-Chrysler Automobile’s China business. The job of coordinating and effectively expanding the operations of FCA’s two brands in China may be comparatively easier for Jack Cheng.
On July 15, FCA announced that Jack Cheng, Magneti Marrelli’s China Region president, would replace Fanco Amadei and become vice president of FCA Asia Pacific, chairman of Fiat China and vice chairman of GAC-Fiat.
If Fiat China’s Amadei is more like a verbal revolutionary, the much more experienced Cheng in the automotive sector is more like a practioner.
Cheng has been well rated for his job whether working as Fiat China’s chief purchasing officer or the first president of GAC-Fiat. But this time he is taking up a much tougher job and faces serious challenges.
Qiche Shangye Pinglun or Auto Business Review believes that with the current executive reshuffle, FCA is finally turning its focus on China after completing the merger in North America. FCA needs to expand both sales and realize profit in China.
While still struggling in the European market, Fiat-Chrysler is depending on the North American market to make up for its loss. Even for Volkswagen, the aggressive automaker operating in Europe relies heavily on profits steadily flowing out of its China operations.
GAC-Fiat sales in China slightly picked up growth last year thanks to its efforts in regional sales and marketing. But such progress is a far cry from the vision of FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.
And for the Jeep brand, the localization process is only beginning.
Magneti Marrelli has been working to realize a sales goal of over ¥1 billion ($163.9 million) by 2018.
FCA sales in China in the first five months of the year were 43,300 units, or 10 percent of its global sales. But the market share in China falls way behind other European and American brands in China.
FCA is in urgent need to change its market position in China.
At an earlier interview with Auto Business Review, Cheng said that GAC-Fiat is FCA’s first step of returning to China. GAC-Fiat is not simply another joint venture. It is an operation that helps Fiat-Chrysler complete its China supply chain and deploy a dealer network based on which the Jeep will benefit in localization and sales.
Cheng is now ready to help FCA implement such a strategy. But the success of such a strategy remains to be seen.
(Rewritten by Wayne Xing based on author’s article on Auto Business Review)