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Ten years ago, a somber Sergio Marchionne stood in front of a crowded Turin press conference in a formal suit and dark tie to say that he would work hard to pull Fiat SpA back from the brink of bankruptcy.


The 500 subcompact is by far the most successful model introduction under Marchionne, with over 1.2 million sold since he brought back the iconic car in 2007.

Brought in by the controlling family hours after chairman Umberto Agnelli had passed away, the chief executive officer faced losses at the automaker that had ballooned to more than 6 billion euros (US$8.2-billion) from 2001 to 2003.
After returning the automaker to profit and completing the acquisition of Chrysler Group LLC, Marchionne, 61, marked his first decade as CEO yesterday and is again at a turning point, with some investors skeptical over his plan to boost sales 61 percent to 7 million cars in 2018. To do so, Marchionne will have to prove that not only is he a talented dealmaker, he also knows how to build cars that will resonate with consumers.
“The turnaround maestro, who saved Fiat and Chrysler helped by his financial skills, must now show, by making the right products, that he's a ‘car guy' too,” said Giuseppe Berta, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan who knows Marchionne personally.
Since taking over on June 1, 2004, Marchionne has tripled revenue, operating profit and the share price. His goal now is to boost net income to about 5 billion euros in 2018 from the 904 million euros earned last year by selling more upscale vehicles, including new Alfa Romeo models built in Italy.
 
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