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Who is Mike Manley

An interesting article from ANE about the new FCA CEO.

Bit of a read but interesting nevertheless.

Even for an auto executive, Mike Manley has strong views about how a car should look and feel.
Around 2009, the car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the first big product launch since Chrysler had been cast off by Daimler after their ill-fated merger. Manley, who had been in charge of product planning, took a test vehicle to the company’s proving grounds near Ann Arbor, Mich., with Jim Press, then co-president of Chrysler, and a couple of engineers.
"We all felt really pretty good about the car; it’s got everything we wanted," Press recalled. "Mike drove it and said, 'Nope, the steering wheel’s not big enough; it doesn’t feel like a Jeep.'"
A decade later, Jeep has been revitalized in the U.S. and expanded into a global powerhouse. It’s the key sales driver for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as well as the linchpin in the company’s plan to double profits in the next five years. And Manley, a 54-year-old Briton, has been picked by Chairman John Elkann, the scion of Fiat’s founding family, to replace Sergio Marchionne, who died Wednesday after succumbing to complications from recent surgery.
Running a car company requires not just the instincts of a salesman but also the deft touch of a politician. So when Manley makes his debut appearance as chief executive officer on the company’s earnings call Wednesday, he will have to show Wall Street that he is more than just a prolific seller of Jeeps and Ram pickups.
“We have only seen the operational side of Manley,” said Philippe Houchois, an analyst at Jefferies Group in London who has been covering the company for 17 years. “We haven’t seen his ability to take it to a higher level. The job of CEO is quite political and complex.”
Minefields ahead


That means navigating through numerous minefields: President Donald Trump’s trade policy, doubts in Italy about whether the first non-Italian CEO can run the 119-year-old company and the existential questions over whether Fiat Chrysler needs a partner to help with investments in electrification and survive technological disruption from autonomous vehicles.
Manley has been on the list to replace Marchionne for years. At the 2016 Detroit auto show, Marchionne said he was “squeezing out’’ his potential successors, and the “poor *******” who survived would become CEO after his departure.
Asked then if he was ready to take over the legacy of Marchionne, who ran Fiat Chrysler for 14 years and engineered the transatlantic merger that saved both companies, Manley replied: “Sergio says that every day you own your right to live, which means we live in a tough environment, but it’s an environment I’ve very much benefited from.’’
Manley is expected to share the burden of replacing Marchionne with CFO Richard Palmer, who had been Marchionne’s alter ego with investors. After Europe chief Alfredo Altavilla abruptly resigned following the carmaker’s decision to pick Manley, more powers were assigned to Palmer, including mergers and acquisitions.
Marchionne, who defied skeptics by repeatedly setting and meeting audacious profit targets, is almost worshiped on Wall Street for increasing shareholder value by more than 10-fold. On the last earnings call, one analyst begged him to remain in the job past his planned retirement date of April 2019. Another declared on the eve of his final five-year strategy presentation in June that Fiat Chrysler “is not a company: It’s the man.”
But Marchionne made a point of having his executives wear multiple hats to break down silos and help groom them for bigger responsibilities. Manley has worn quite a few.
14 years in dealerships
Born in 1964 in Edenbridge, England, a small town about an hour and a half’s drive south of London, he graduated from London South Bank University in 1985 with a degree in engineering and later earned a master’s in business administration from Ashridge Management College. He spent 14 years working in car dealerships before being hired to run DaimlerChrysler’s UK dealer network in 2000.

Sean Nevatte, who worked with Manley at a Lex Vauxhall dealership in the mid-1990s, remembers him as “extremely hands-on” and sometimes “fiery, but very controlled with it.”
“Everyone knew how ambitious he was,” Nevatte said.
Manley moved to the U.S. in 2003, initially to become vice president of dealer operations, with more responsibilities coming later. In 2009, after Fiat had taken control of the post-bankruptcy Chrysler, Marchionne gave Manley the Jeep brand. He joined the company’s General Executive Council, its highest decision-making body, in 2011, and became head of the Asia-Pacific region. In 2015, he added Fiat Chrysler’s other cash-machine, its Ram truck brand, to his portfolio.
It was during those early years in the U.S. that Manley began to earn the trust of Fiat Chrysler’s 2,640-strong dealer body, a group he has consulted frequently to keep his finger on the pulse of the market. They say it’s not unusual to wake up to a text message from him asking how a certain model -- the Jeep Compass or the Ram 1500, say -- is being received in a particular market.
Cass Burch, who owns a handful of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram franchises in southern Georgia, dropped in on Manley at the Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters sometime in late 2014 or early 2015. Manley spent an hour and a half with him in Fiat Chrysler’s high-security design studio in the bowels of the corporate complex, laying out the entire new Jeep product line. At the end of it all, Manley looked intently at Burch and asked what he thought.
“It makes you start qualifying what you’ve got to say, because you realize they’re listening,” Burch said. “You need to be sure that the input you’re giving, you’re willing to go to the wall with it.”
China task
Still, the Jeep guru is not without his missteps. As he was overseeing Jeep’s global expansion in 2011, Marchionne gave Manley another massive task: expand Fiat Chrysler in Asia after more than a decade of failed attempts. Even Manley didn’t manage to meet the targets set for the region. The local production of Fiat sedans in China was a flop, and Jeep itself had a weak start. Manley was replaced as Asia chief in 2017.
The world’s seventh-largest automaker, Fiat Chrysler will have to make great strides in China if it wants to keep up with competitors and make good on its most recent profit and sales goals. A new Jeep Grand Commander, a three-row SUV made exclusively for this market, went into production in China during the second quarter. Another China model will be introduced in the next few years, according to the latest five-year plan.
Jeep inevitably will have to shift more manufacturing to China, especially because of the current U.S.-China tariffs. But production isn’t enough when competitors are ramping up efforts in local research and development for models that cater to fast-changing Chinese consumer tastes and demand for cutting-edge technologies.
Manley also will have to deal with tightening fuel-economy standards, mandates for electric vehicles and a brand that is more popular with Chinese consumers for its merchandising bags and clothing than its vehicles, said Jefferies’ Houchois.
Qualities for success
Press, the Chrysler executive who relied heavily on Manley as the company struggled -- and failed -- to pull itself back from the abyss pre-2009, called him “steady” under pressure. “You don’t know how someone’s going to operate in the next job until he’s in it,” said Press, who also spent more than three decades at Toyota. “But you do know the basic qualities that are required to succeed, and Mike has those.
Nevatte, Manley’s coworker from the Vauxhall dealership, puts it differently: Ambitious and a perfectionist, he still found ways to blow off steam.
His nickname at Vauxhall was “the Iceman,” because one day, frustrated by his unreliable cellphone, Manley coolly placed it on the ground in the parking lot and ran it over with his car.
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I can understand why Alfredo Altavilla resigned, Manley a Vauxhall and Chrysler man? Is he going to have the passion for the Italian brands that Alfredo might have had. Lets be fair, Manleys background has been more with commodity or mainstream products.
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I can understand why Alfredo Altavilla resigned, Manley a Vauxhall and Chrysler man? Is he going to have the passion for the Italian brands that Alfredo might have had. Lets be fair, Manleys background has been more with commodity or mainstream products.
Must have been a John Elkann appointment? Hopefully he will keep a close eye on the Italian side of things..
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I can understand why Alfredo Altavilla resigned, Manley a Vauxhall and Chrysler man? Is he going to have the passion for the Italian brands that Alfredo might have had. Lets be fair, Manleys background has been more with commodity or mainstream products.
Passion does not sell cars and there's been too much of it and not enough business acumen. How good has SM been at the helm when Kia outsell Alfa about 10 to 1 in the UK?

FCA would have possibly been more sensible had they poached the CEO from Kia UK.
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Passion does not sell cars and there's been too much of it and not enough business acumen. How good has SM been at the helm when Kia outsell Alfa about 10 to 1 in the UK?

FCA would have possibly been more sensible had they poached the CEO from Kia UK.
I think its widely agreed that Sergio worked wonders with first Fiat Auto then latterly FCA.

The UK sales figures are a tiny part of the FCA empire.

FWIW when Sergio took over similar misgivings could have been had, he was not a car man at all... (headed up SGS and principly an accountant by trade)
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I can understand why Alfredo Altavilla resigned, Manley a Vauxhall and Chrysler man? Is he going to have the passion for the Italian brands that Alfredo might have had. Lets be fair, Manleys background has been more with commodity or mainstream products.
“You don’t know how someone’s going to operate in the next job until he’s in it,” said Press.
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Passion does not sell cars and there's been too much of it and not enough business acumen. How good has SM been at the helm when Kia outsell Alfa about 10 to 1 in the UK?

FCA would have possibly been more sensible had they poached the CEO from Kia UK.
Thats the whole point, Alfa Romeo, I dont believe, have the aspirations (never have) to be a volume car producer, but that is Manleys pitch. The danger is, he may see Alfa Romeo the way you see it and do a Lancia with it.

Machionne had many critics here, but he did an excellent job in bringing Chrysler and Fiat back from the brink. He revitalised Chrysler, opening up a channel in the USA market to sell the Giulia and Stelvio.

Kia, Hyundai, ford, Nissan etc etc are in the pile it high sell it cheap market.
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Kia, Hyundai, ford, Nissan etc etc are in the pile it high sell it cheap market.
So you are saying that FCA aren't really bothered about AR selling more cars? That's nonsense, its about market share and ARs is pathetic.

On a separate query, do all (or most) Fiat & Jeep dealers also sell Alfas on the same site?

If I was Manley all dealers would become multi franchise sites - its gives all marques more exposure to the buying public and there is no real overlap in the ranges, although Alfa could emphasise their sportiness compared to the cooking Fiat models.
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Who is Mike Manley

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Down View Post
I can understand why Alfredo Altavilla resigned, Manley a Vauxhall and Chrysler man? Is he going to have the passion for the Italian brands that Alfredo might have had. Lets be fair, Manleys background has been more with commodity or mainstream products.


Look on the bright - side. It’ll probably mean more GM units under the bonnet.
One for the purist to p:ss, and moan about in the general Alfa discussion section


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So you are saying that FCA aren't really bothered about AR selling more cars? That's nonsense, its about market share and ARs is pathetic.
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Of course thats not what I am saying, but to compare sales of Alfa Romeo with Kia is quite ludicrous. Alfa Romeo have never ever been a volume car manufacture, sure they want to sell more, that is why they have opened up the US market. The UK is unlikely to ever shake off the prejudices which exist, so sales are likely to remain stifled, not helped by poor dealer network and a market now dominated by the German brands, Alfa Romeos natural comparison.

What one has to hope is that Manley continues the work Sergio started.
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Of course thats not what I am saying, but to compare sales of Alfa Romeo with Kia is quite ludicrous. Alfa Romeo have never ever been a volume car manufacture, sure they want to sell more, that is why they have opened up the US market. The UK is unlikely to ever shake off the prejudices which exist, so sales are likely to remain stifled, not helped by poor dealer network and a market now dominated by the German brands, Alfa Romeos natural comparison.

What one has to hope is that Manley continues the work Sergio started.
They are not comparable to Kia because they've never been a volume car maker and changing that is the task Manley has.

If Kia can turn its UK sales around, it's clearly do-able with the right management. Time will tell, but hopefully Manley will bring this level of expertise to AR.
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"Kia, Hyundai, ford, Nissan etc etc are in the pile it high sell it cheap market."
Are they?
Ford pulled out of the daily rental market in a big way and sell a high mix of more profitable derivatives. Kia/Hyundai are after market share so you see lots of them with rental car stickers. Alfa is also unlikely to want to give away their margins especially in turn UK market where dumping them will have serious effects on residuals. Manley worked for dealership organisations in the past and will understand this.
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On a separate query, do all (or most) Fiat & Jeep dealers also sell Alfas on the same site?

If I was Manley all dealers would become multi franchise sites - its gives all marques more exposure to the buying public and there is no real overlap in the ranges, although Alfa could emphasise their sportiness compared to the cooking Fiat models.
They are trying this in the UK to some extent - there are several sites which are Fiat 'Brand Centres', where Alfa, Abarth, Fiat & Jeep are all under one roof (Johnsons/TH White Swindon, Motorvogue Bedford, Mangoletsi & Sturgess Leicester, for example). Formerly these were literally like one big dealership, but under FCAs recent dealership design, the Jeep/Alfa brands are on one side, with Fiat/Abarth on the other.

However the problem is some very good dealerships opperate from sites which are just not big enough to have all four brands under one roof. That's presumably why there are also dealers where Jeep and Alfa are under one roof and the Fiat/Abarth operation is under another, possibly with another company - for example in Doncaster where Pentagon have the Alfa/Jeep franchise but Stoneacre have Fiat/Abarth, or in Oxford where Unity have Alfa/Jeep and Hartwell have Fiat/Abarth.

There are now no Alfa-only dealers left in the UK. There's a lot of standalone Fiat dealers and some standalone Jeep dealerships, many who share sites with other manufacturers. However some of the Fiat ones are from a time before Abarth & Jeep were an active part of FCA and in the case of the Jeep dealers I presume hark back to the DaimlerChrysler days. Dealers such as Hughes of Beaconsfield, Westaway Northampton, Ian Grieve Falkirk & Horsham Car Centre in Sussex are all ones that sell only Jeep from FCA Group. In some cases expanding them would make sense, but this may not be possible either due to space constraints or, as is often the case, the other brands are already represented by well-established Fiat/Alfa dealers, such as Motorvogue Northampton (who have Fiat/Abarth & Alfa near to Westaway) or PDH Garages Sussex who have Fiat/Abarth/Alfa near to Horsham Car Centre.

I think for FCA, in the UK at least, it's a balancing act of having multi-brand sites without getting rid of some of the better perfoming smaller dealerships who have represented the brands individually over a number of years.
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