Later this week, hundreds of stock analysts and journalists from all over the world will gather in Balocco, Italy, to hear that Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and his top lieutenants are designing the automaker's next five-year plan Plan this will be the first one performed without Marchionne at the top.
The June 1 incident – still an anomaly in an industry otherwise over-cautious to make promises – will Marchionne be the fourth since he took over as CEO of then-fighting Fiat SpA in 2004, and the third, since he took control of the bankrupt Chrysler in 2009.
But if experience has taught us about these events, analysts and industry observers should pay close attention to the financial goals that do not pay as much attention to how exactly FCA wants to reach them.
Skeptical analysts mocked in November 2009 when Marchionne promised he could get out of high-inters est government loan, returning Chrysler to profitability and improving its products by 201
The goals for 2014 have been largely achieved, albeit with some adjustments. Marchionne's aggressive financial forecasts for the FCA in 2018 also seem to be on the right track.
For shareholders – including Marchionne, which owns more than 16.4 million shares of FCA – that's good news Shareholders benefited most from FCA's strong financial performance.
But for the dealers of the FCA, the performance of the FCA is only of medium interest. Instead, traders have rightly focused their attention on the products and strategies contained in previous business plans to find out what might come into their showrooms. Often they have been disappointed because the promised products either do not show up or retard while the brand strategies are scaled back or even abandoned.
On Friday, the FCA will undoubtedly pursue a series of ambitious goals. It may be best to consume at least the product parts of the presentation with a large portion of salt.