2013 was a particularly important year for our Group and I don’t believe there could have been a more appropriate or significant way to launch 2014.
As you know, after a protracted negotiation with the VEBA Trust, on January 1st we reached an agreement that cleared the way for us to acquire 100% of Chrysler’s equity and will soon lead to the formal creation of a single entity.
From the very moment Fiat and Chrysler formed an alliance almost five years ago, we pursued a vision that went beyond industrial cooperation to full cultural integration at the global level.
We worked tenaciously and single-mindedly to transform differences into strengths, to break down barriers of nationalistic or cultural resistance and to create an organization that would be truly unified in practice, even before it was on paper.
That vision is now a reality. We have created a leading global automaker that is the 7th largest in the world. Even more importantly, we have created an organization that is unique and rich with potential at the technical, professional and human level - 300,000 people around the world driven by the spirit and values of an organization intent on distinguishing itself not only in terms of the excellence of its products, but also for the commitment, integrity and transparency with which it conducts its activities.
The coming together of Fiat and Chrysler has enabled us to intensify our sustainability-related activities by sharing best practices and leveraging our respective strengths.
Our strategy for sustainable mobility is focused on achieving a balance between conventional and alternative technologies that will deliver the greatest benefits for the environment now, while also ensuring that we continue to offer customers affordable products.
This includes designing systems and developing new technologies to cut CO2 emissions and improve vehicle efficiency, as well as projects to address emerging mobility needs and customer-focused initiatives to raise awareness on the impact driving behavior has on fuel consumption.
Our commitment in this area and the innovations we launched during the year have received wide recognition at the international level.
Fiat’s Methane Program received the “Ecobest 2013” award for being the simplest and most cost-effective solution, with the lowest environmental impact among fuels available today.
The innovative natural gas/gasoline TwinAir Turbo engine was named “Best Green Engine of the Year 2013” and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 and the Fiat 500e Battery-Electric Drive System were both named to Ward’s “10 Best Engines” for 2014.
The Ram 1500 received Motor Trend’s “2014 Truck of the Year” and Fiat Professional was named “Light Commercial Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year” at the Green Fleet Awards 2013, both for the second consecutive year.
The Group’s Luxury Brands were also recognized for their eco-performance: the new Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte with V6 diesel engines have CO2 emissions levels 35% lower than the V6 gasoline versions and Ferrari launched its first ever production hybrid (LaFerrari) with emissions levels halved compared with the Enzo.
The Group also further reduced the environmental impact of its production processes, mainly through implementation of the World Class Manufacturing program (WCM), which continues to play an important role in terms of competitiveness, as well as being a key platform for ensuring the highest sustainability standards at plants and among our suppliers.
During 2013, energy-related projects developed as part of WCM contributed to a reduction of approximately 180,000 tons in CO2 emissions.
In recognition of these efforts and our focus on quality, the WCM program’s Gold level was awarded to the Fiat plants in Pomigliano d’Arco (Italy) and Tychy (Poland), as well as the Tofaº plant in Bursa, Turkey.
We also continued in our commitment to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for employees in every area of activity at our sites worldwide.
During 2013, we invested a total of €194 million in health and safety improvements, representing an increase of 15.5% over the previous year.
In line with our operating philosophy, the Group also promotes the application of its sustainability principles along the entire value chain.
One initiative involved dealers in Italy, where the introduction of new practices and promotion of environmental awareness generated significant energy savings and reduced the environmental footprint of the sales network.
This project will continue with expansion to our dealer networks in other countries over the next few years.
In the U.S., Chrysler managed the second annual Dealer Environmentally Conscious Operations (ECO) Program, which was designed to encourage environmental responsibility across the dealer network and to recognize dealerships with a demonstrated commitment to eco-friendly business practices.
The Group was recognized again in 2013 by leading rating agencies and other international organizations for its leadership in sustainability.
For the fifth consecutive year, Fiat was included in the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Indices World and Europe, receiving the maximum score in several key areas of evaluation in the economic, environmental and social dimensions.
In addition, for the second consecutive year, we were recognized as the leader in Italy for our commitment to addressing climate change. Our environmental performance together with transparency in disclosure earned us recognition at the very top of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Italy 100 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) and Climate Performance Leadership Index (CPLI).
A forward-looking mentality and commitment to continuous improvement are natural to a group that values and cultivates diversity in individual talent, experience and cultures.
With the combined strength of our two organizations, we now also have the opportunity to play a leading role in the creation of a cleaner, safer planet.
We are all challenged to proactively become a part of the solution to problems that today’s world faces, such as pollution in urban areas, climate change, over-dependence on oil and diminishing natural resources.
We need to put the maximum effort into helping to solve these issues, not just to meet stringent regulatory demands but, even more importantly, to ensure we can be proud of the legacy we leave future generations.
Fiat and Chrysler, united, intend to do their part.
I want to thank everyone in the Group for embracing the culture of sustainability and for their daily dedication to translating it into concrete actions. They are our best and most precious resource.
/s/ Sergio Marchionne
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER