For the second straight year, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has declined his annual salary and bonus as the Detroit-based automaker works to nurse itself back to full-strength once again. Don’t worry about Marchionne. He’s also in charge of running Fiat S.p.A.—Chrysler’s parent company—and as head of the Italian automaker he still received his $4.5 million salary in 2010, although no word on what he got from Fiat in 2011.
Marchionne recently purchased a condominium close by Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills Michigan so he can oversee more of the company’s daily operations. Chrysler did however pick up the tab for cleaning and security among other things for Marchionne’s new stateside condo. The Fiat-Chrysler CEO also has a home in Turin, Italy close to Fiat’s headquarters and shuttles himself back and forth. Chrysler claims it would cost around the same amount to house Marchionne in a local hotel as it would cleaning and securing his new condo.
Since Fiat acquired Chrysler in 2009, Marchionne has played a vital role in making the Detroit automaker relevant on Wall Street once again. Chrysler closed out 2011 netting $7.5 billion in profit and was able to repay the U.S. and Canadian governments for the bail-out money both provided back in 2009. That’s a 56 percent gain from 2010′s profit of $4.8 billion. After refinancing its loans in May of last year and repaying its debt to both governments Chrysler was left with $183 million in profit for 2011 which sounds like a staggering loss after being up $7.5 billion beforehand. However, many forget Chrysler was bleeding out in 2010 to the tune of $652 million in losses so any profit gain is a good one.
Fiat can be credited with saving Chrysler from the clutches of bankruptcy and two years later the Detroit automaker has become its strongest source of income. Now Fiat controls 58.5 percent of Chrysler with the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart achieving 40 mpg in EPA fuel-economy evaluations.
Last year Chrysler had to rely on fleet sales to stay afloat, with the low-profit sector accounting for 27.6 percent of all U.S. sales last year. As February 2012 came to a close Chrysler reported a sales gain of 40 percent, the second highest of any automaker for that month. The only automaker to finish above Chrysler’s percentage increase in sales for February 2012 was Volkswagen, which reported a 42-percent spike in sales. As gas prices continue to climb around the country, the demand for compact cars is expected to go up as well. This is good news for Chrysler as it readies the 2013 Dodge Dart for its release later this year. Chrysler has also said it will be retooling the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 with more Fiat and Alfa Romeo parts to take on rising gas prices. Overall Chrysler appears to be heading in the right direction and many are pointing to Marchionne’s leadership when asked how the turnaround happened. Chrysler’s definitely not out of the woods yet, but the future looks bright for Marchionne and the rest of his newly-acquired business.