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菲亚特克莱斯勒向中国寻找出路

更新时间:2017-8-25 9:46:32 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Fiat Chrysler Is at a Crossroads. It’s Looking to China for a Solution.
菲亚特克莱斯勒向中国寻找出路

DETROIT — The event scheduled for Thursday at Fiat Chrysler’s Illinois assembly plant was supposed to shine a light on what the company does best: build high-margin Jeep sport utility vehicles.

底特律——菲亚特克莱斯勒(Fiat Chrysler)原定于周四在伊利诺斯州组装厂举行一个活动,它本来是为了凸显该公司最擅长的事情:生产高利润率的吉普(Jeep)运动型多功能车。

Then, for a second time in two months, Fiat Chrysler abruptly called off the official celebration of the plant being retooled to turn out Jeep Cherokees, where the chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, was to have taken center stage.

但是,菲亚特克莱斯勒突然取消了官方庆祝活动,这已经是两个月的第二次了。公司首席执行官赛尔焦·马尔基翁内(Sergio Marchionne)本来将会是活动上的焦点。举办活动的这家工厂进行过改建,现在专门生产吉普切诺基(Jeep Cherokee)。

Bigger things are on the horizon for Jeep and Fiat Chrysler, however — including a possible breakup of the company.

但是,对于吉普和菲亚特克莱斯勒来说,面前还有更大的事情——包括公司可能解体。

For months, according to two company officials, Fiat Chrysler has been in discussions with a number of Chinese companies about potential equity investments or other deals involving its Ram pickup division and the Jeep brand. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks have not been publicly disclosed.

据两家公司的管理者说,近几个月来,菲亚特克莱斯勒与一些中国公司讨论了涉及公羊(Ram)皮卡部门和吉普品牌的股权投资或其他交易的可能性。管理者们不愿具名,因为这些会谈没有公开披露过。

As early as last year, Fiat Chrysler sent a team specializing in mergers and acquisitions to China, according to the officials, who added that discussions were continuing with various companies. The officials said an investment or partnership involving a Chinese automaker could be a prelude to a larger agreement.

他们说,早在去年,菲亚特克莱斯勒就派出一个专门负责兼并和收购的团队前往中国,还说,该公司目前仍在继续与其他一些公司进行讨论。他们表示,涉及一家中国汽车制造商的投资或合资交易,可能会成为达成更大协议的前奏。

A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman declined on Tuesday to comment on those accounts.

菲亚特克莱斯勒的发言人本周二拒绝对这些说法置评。

One Chinese company, Great Wall Motor, emerged publicly this week as an eager suitor for Jeep, Fiat Chrysler’s fastest-growing and most profitable unit.

一家名为长城汽车的中国公司,本周表示了对吉普的强烈兴趣;吉普是菲亚特克莱斯勒增长最快、利润最丰厚的品牌。

On Monday, after Great Wall said it was interested in buying Jeep, Fiat Chrysler said it had not been formally approached by the company. (Great Wall acknowledged on Tuesday that it had not made contact and cited “big uncertainties” about how it would proceed.) Yet Fiat Chrysler did not specifically rule out a sale, a major signal to other companies that it is intent on exploring deals for Jeep and other divisions.

周一,在长城表示了购买吉普的兴趣之后,菲亚特克莱斯勒说,该公司尚未与它正式接触(长城周二承认,它之前没有与菲亚特克莱斯勒联系过,还提到事情的进展可能存在“很大的不确定性”)。然而,菲亚特克莱斯勒并没有明确排除出售的可能性,这是对其他公司发出的一个重要信号:它会坚持探索吉普和其他品牌交易的可能性。

“There is nobody saying there’s no way we would sell the Jeep brand,” said Thomas W. LaSorda, the former chief executive at Chrysler who helped engineer its merger with Fiat. “That sends a message to boardrooms around the world.”

“没有人说不会出售吉普品牌,”克莱斯勒的前首席执行官托玛斯·W·拉索达(Thomas W. LaSorda)说道,他曾参与谋划该公司与菲亚特的合并。“这是在向世界各地的董事会传递信息。”

The Great Wall overture sent Fiat Chrysler’s shares up almost 7 percent in New York trading on Monday, to their highest point in more than two years.

长城表态之后,菲亚特克莱斯勒周一在纽交所的股价大涨近7%,升至两年多来的最高点。

The Italian-American automaker formally took shape in 2014, five years after the bankruptcy and government bailout of the former Chrysler. Marchionne was showered with credit for blending the companies. But for most of the past two years, Fiat Chrysler has been openly seeking a merger partner to survive as a long-term player in the global auto industry. Several major automakers, including General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen, have disavowed interest.

这家意大利—美国汽车制造商正式合并是在2014年,当时前克莱斯勒破产并接受政府救助已经五年。马尔基翁内因整合这两家公司备受赞誉。但在过去两年的大部分时间里,作为全球汽车业的老牌企业,菲亚特克莱斯勒为了生存,一直在公开寻求合并或者合作伙伴。几家主要的汽车制造商,包括通用汽车、福特和大众在内,都表示对此没有兴趣。

Marchionne has been unavailable for comment on potential deals. The twice-canceled factory event in Belvidere, Illinois, would have been his first public appearance in the United States since the Detroit auto show in January. (Scheduling conflicts were cited for both cancellations.)

目前无法联系到马尔基翁内对交易的可能性进行置评。伊利诺伊州贝尔维迪尔(Belvidere)的工厂两次取消的活动,本来是他自1月底特律车展以来,在美国的首次公开露面(两次取消都声称是时间安排上的冲突)。

Known for his outspoken views on hot-button issues like the potential of electric vehicles and the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Marchionne has been uncharacteristically cryptic in his recent comments about the possibility of selling off Fiat Chrysler in pieces.

马尔基翁内常常对热点问题发表直言不讳的看法,比如电动汽车的潜力和北美自由贸易协定(North American Free Trade Agreement)的优点,但是对于近来有关将菲亚特克莱斯勒可能分拆出售的说法,他却显得异乎寻常的神秘。

“We have an obligation to purify that portfolio,” Marchionne said last month during an earnings call with analysts, referring to whether the company was considering divesting business units.

马尔基翁内上月和分析师开财报电话会议,当谈到该公司是否在考虑剥离一些业务部门时,他表示:“我们有义务净化资产组合。”

Asked whether the European brands Maserati and Alfa Romeo might be sold, Marchionne said he would “reserve judgment” on that possibility, then cut off further questions.

被问及欧洲品牌玛莎拉蒂(Maserati)和阿尔法·罗密欧(Alfa Romeo)是否会出售时,马尔基翁内说他对这种可能性持“保留意见”,然后中断了进一步的提问。

Industry analysts believe Fiat Chrysler is in a weak business position compared with much larger rivals like Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors.

行业分析人士认为,与规模大得多的竞争对手,如大众(Volkswagen)、丰田(Toyota)和通用汽车(General Motors)相比,菲亚特克莱斯勒处于弱势地位。

The bulk of Fiat Chrysler’s global profits are generated by Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups sold in the American market, and the company has lagged far behind competitors in pursuing advanced technology for autonomous and electrified vehicles.

菲亚特克莱斯勒的全球利润中,大部分来自在美国市场上卖出的吉普SUV和公羊皮卡。在追求先进的自动和电动车辆技术上,该公司远远落后于竞争对手。

Sales of its passenger cars, like Chrysler and Dodge vehicles in the United States and Fiat models in Europe, have struggled mightily in a market shifting away from traditional sedans.

随着市场从传统轿车转移,该公司的乘用车,如美国市场上的克莱斯勒和道奇(Dodge),以及欧洲市场上的多款菲亚特,销售都在苦苦挣扎。

To compensate, Fiat Chrysler is rapidly converting its American production facilities, including the Belvidere plant, from building cars to making Jeeps and pickups. By the end of 2017, all six of its assembly plants in the United States will be devoted to SUVs and trucks. Plants in Mexico and Canada still produce the passenger cars the company sells here.

作为弥补,菲亚特克莱斯勒正在迅速把美国的生产设施,包括贝尔维迪尔的工厂,从制造汽车改造成制造吉普和皮卡。到2017年年底,该公司在美国的六家装配厂将全部专门生产SUV和卡车。墨西哥和加拿大的工厂依旧制造面向本地销售的乘用车。

It is almost unprecedented for a large automaker to abandon entire segments like compact cars, and the move has been challenging for dealers who have to adjust to smaller lineups in their showrooms.

大型车企完全放弃像小型汽车这种市场的情况几乎史无前例。对不得不适应展厅阵容变小的经销商来说,此举颇具挑战。

“It’s tough,” said Brett Saslow, who owns a Fiat Chrysler dealership in St. James, New York, on Long Island. “Car sales are down but they’re not going away. It’s still a big segment, so it would be nice to at least have some representation there.”

“难熬,”在纽约长岛的圣詹姆斯一家菲亚特克莱斯勒专卖店的老板布雷特·萨斯洛(Brett Saslow)说。“轿车销量下滑,但也不会完全消失。依然是一个很大的市场,所以最好还是至少留下一些代表。”

The increased emphasis on trucks and SUVs has only fed speculation that the company is beefing up its most attractive assets for sale.

更重视卡车和SUV只是加剧了外界的猜测,认为该公司正在增强最有吸引力的待售资产。

In the past couple of years, Fiat Chrysler’s chairman, John Elkann, has talked openly about the possibility of a partnership or merger with another automaker. Elkann is the leader of the Agnelli family, which has a controlling stake in Fiat Chrysler though a holding company.

过去几年里,菲亚特克莱斯勒的董事长约翰·埃尔康(John Elkann)曾公开谈及与另一家车企合作或合并的可能性。埃尔康是阿涅利家族的领袖,该家族通过一家控股公司,持有菲亚特克莱斯勒的控股权。

Early last year, Fiat Chrysler completed a spinoff of its luxury-car brand Ferrari, and its shares have since soared.

去年年初,菲亚特克莱斯勒完成了旗下豪华车品牌法拉利(Ferrari)的剥离。之后,其股价飙升。

Giuseppe Berta, an economic-history professor at Bocconi University in Milan and a longtime consultant on Fiat’s historical archives, said that Elkann might be pushing for a larger deal before Marchionne’s expected retirement next year.

米兰博科尼大学(Bocconi University)的经济史教授、长期担任菲亚特历史档案顾问的朱塞佩·贝尔塔(Giuseppe Berta)说,马尔基翁内预计明年退休,埃尔康可能是在推动于马尔基翁内退休之前达成一项更大的交易。

“What we see now is a strong desire by the ownership to sell FCA,” Berta said. “I think there is only one chance, and that is to break the company up.”

“我们现在看到的是,所有者出售菲亚特克莱斯勒汽车公司(Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,简称FCA)的愿望强烈,”贝尔塔说。“我觉得只有一种可能,就是拆分公司。”

The possibility of selling Jeep to a Chinese buyer could be problematic. Any deal would probably be subject to government review in China and in the United States. And Fiat Chrysler would have trouble replacing the profits and market share generated by its prized SUV division.

把吉普业务卖给中国买家这个可能性可能存疑。任何交易都可能受到中国和美国政府的审查。菲亚特克莱斯勒在取代备受其重视的SUV部门创造的利润和市场份额的过程中,可能会遇到困难。

Marchionne cautioned in the recent earnings call that the company could not simply sell off its choicest parts to the highest bidder.

马尔基翁内在最近的财报电话会议上警告称,公司不能简单地把最优质的业务卖给出价最高的人。

“We do have to worry about the stump that’s left behind,” he said. Otherwise, he added, Fiat Chrysler will “end up with a suboptimal business that cannot run.”

“我们必须考虑后续事宜,”他说,并接着表示,否则菲亚特克莱斯勒“最后只剩下无法持续的次优业务”。

LaSorda thinks the recent expression of interest by Great Wall will ignite enthusiasm among other automakers. “There isn’t a major company that wouldn’t want Jeep,” he said. “The question is, what is the cost to get it?”

拉索达认为,长城最近表现出的兴趣会激起其他车企的热情。“没有一家大公司不想要吉普,”他说。“问题是,花多少钱拿下它?”

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