Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Marchionne's Silence Speaks Volumes


It's a regular question around Detroit and in the auto industry: When will we finally hear from new Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne?

Since taking over the Detroit auto maker a couple weeks ago, Marchionne has said little publicly about his plans for reviving the once bankrupt auto maker. While I understand the desire people have to hear from the new man in charge, I think Marchionne's silence is the right way for him to start his tenure in Auburn Hills. This company has been through so much and has lost so much momentum, it doesn't need false promises, it needs to get back to "blocking and tackling".

Don't mistake Marchionne saying little "publicly" to mean he's being quiet inside Chrysler headquarters. Everyone I've talked with inside Chrysler, says Marchionne and his top lieutenants are moving quickly to get the auto maker product development pipeline flowing again. It was left to wither under former owner Cerberus Capital. Marchionne and his team are also re-organizing Chrysler's executive ranks. "Flattening out" the leadership structure. Stripping out the bureaucracy. Getting the cripple company back on its feet.

At some point, we will hear from Marchionne. We will hear about the steps he's taking to change Chrysler. But for now, he's focused on fixing the auto maker, and not making public promises. Chrysler employees and fans have heard enough promises. They want a fresh start, and Marchionne is moving fast to make it happen with more than just words.

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