Marchionne encourages employees to 'dream big' in 2015

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Following a historic year for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, CEO Sergio Marchionne is encouraging employees to "dream big" in 2015.

In an encouraging letter to employees obtained by The Detroit News, Marchionne outlines the company's success in 2014 and lays out the groundwork for what to expect this year.

"This is just the beginning of a new year filled with opportunities for continued growth together with the challenges of an incredibly competitive landscape," reads the letter.

"Let's continue to dream big and take accountability for achieving our targets so that this time next year we, as a team, can look back with pride at the progress we have made as we continue this remarkable journey."

Marchionne writes that the company already has begun this year with the same momentum as 2014, thanks to positive results for the new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X, new jobs and investments in Italy, and its presence at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Last year was a busy one for Fiat Chrysler. It included fully acquiring the former Chrysler Group LLC in January; announcing an ambitious five-year growth plan in May; merging former Chrysler parent company Fiat SpA into Fiat Chrysler; launching the new company on the New York Stock Exchange in October; re-launching Alfa Romeo in the U.S. after a 20-year hiatus; and many other sales and financial accomplishments.

The letter was in connection to Fiat Chrysler reporting a profit of 632 million euros (about $718 million) in 2014, significantly down from 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in 2013 but in line with its full-year guidance.

The decrease in profit was primarily due to aggressive investments as part of a previously announced five-year plan, 650 million euros ($738.6 million) in recall costs for North America and a 495 million euro payment to fully acquire Chrysler Group LLC, now FCA US LLC.

The company's earnings before interest payments and income taxes increased 7 percent from 2013 to 3.2 billion euros ($3.7 billion).

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