A Fiat Chrysler investor is urging the company to spin off Alfa Romeo and Maserati to focus on more profitable US brands.
Although still big names in Europe, Alfa Romeo and Maserati have never been FCA’s top performers. They’re sort of the black sheep of the FCA family, selling cars with ultra-thin margins in hyper-competitive spaces.
Meanwhile, 97% of FCA’s profits in the 3rd quarter of this year came from sales of the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler in North America. That’s why a small FCA investor is now urging the board of directors to spinoff Alfa Romeo and Maserati to focus on the highly profitable American brands.
In a letter obtained by Bloomberg News, ADW Capital Management suggests that and other big changes within FCA. ADW is a small but vocal shareholder owned by 34-year-old Adam Wyden.
“While Fiat has premium brands which are secularly growing, the strongest balance sheet and highest growth profile of all U.S. carmakers, the company trades at a significant discount to its closest peers, GM and Ford,” wrote Wyden.
Wyden suggests that Alfa Romeo and Maserati be combined into a single company and either spun-off or sold outright to a potential buyer. The letter goes on to also suggest that FCA change their name to JeepRAM to better identify with their top-selling brands and to also merge with GM in order to save costs.
However, none of these suggestions seem likely to happen. FCA is controlled by the Agnelli family who owns more than 50% of the voting rights. ADW, meanwhile, was formed in 2011 and only began investing in FCA since 2014. Wyden has also written similarly outlandish letters for other companies that ADW invests in.
Fiat Chrysler has yet to comment on the letter, but you gotta admit, “JeepRAM” has a nice ring to it.
However, that doesn’t mean that FCA won’t consider selling Alfa Romeo, Maserati, or both. Although much-beloved brands, they’re not particularly profitable, and FCA has struggled to enhance either’s popularity outside of Europe.