As Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled the new Jeep Grand Cherokee he flashed a smile that said just how far the troubled automaker has come in the last year.
Even more telling is the confidence Marchionne shows in talking about where he's driving Chrysler.
What a difference a year makes.
Let's start with the new Grand Cherokee.
It's a HUGE improvement over the previous model, especially the interiors.
And while Jeep prides itself on selling the attributes of the Grand Cherokee in rough conditions, it's the advancements that will make street driving more enjoyable that will stand out.
How successful will the Grand Cherokee be?
Marchionne is so confident it will be in demand he's adding 1100 new jobs and a second shift at the Detroit plant where the SUV is built.
That's why Marchionne is confident the best is yet to come from Chrysler.
He has a pipeline of new and redesigned models locked and loaded. Now it comes down to executing the plan and the CEO believes he has the people to turn plans into profits. The company turned an operating profit in the first quarter. Marchionne isn't giving specific guidance, but listen to him talk about the future and you can see he expects to turn a profit and yes, go public. That will probably happen next year.
I've long said that Fiat bought a bucket of bolts when it got Chrysler.
But in that scrap heap of a bankrupt company is a ton of potential.
Now Marchionne is starting to reconstruct Chrysler one bolt at a time. So far, he likes what he sees.
No wonder he man is smiling.
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