The CEO of Fiat Chrysler said he hopes that people don’t buy his company’s electric car, the Fiat 500e, which he is forced to sell at a loss because of state and federal mandates.
“I hope you don’t buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000,” Sergio Marchionne told the audience at the Brookings Institute during a discussion of the auto bailout.
As head of Fiat in 2009, Marchionne stepped in to help guide Chrysler through the auto-bailout and out of bankruptcy.
“I’m honest enough to tell you that I will make the car, I’ll make it available which is my requirement but I will sell the limit of what I need to sell and not one more,” said Marchionne.
Fiat Chrysler produces two Fiat 500s. The gas-powered Fiat 500 has a base price of $17,300. The electric Fiat 500e runs $32,650, according to Reuters.
In his candid remarks, Marchionne blamed regulations set in place in California and by President Obama.
“Because of California and their mandates which keep on moving the impositions back on car makers to produce cars that are zero-emission vehicles,” said Marchionne.
“The other one is because of the initiative that was put in place by Obama back in 2011 with the new emission rules which are effectively binding the industry until 2025.”
California’s Zero Emission Vehicle standard requires a certain percentage of car makers’ vehicles to have no emissions. That standard is currently at around one percent of company vehicles sold, though it is scheduled to increase to 16 percent of vehicles sold by 2025.
Obama’s plan will force cars and light trucks to meet certain fuel-mileage requirements by 2025.
Marchionne said that the only car manufacturer making money in the electric car segment is Tesla, which sells at a higher price point.
“If we just build those vehicles,” said Marchionne, “we’ll be back…in Washington asking for a second bailout because we’ll be bankrupt by Christmas.”
In an auto industry speech last year, Marchionne broached the topic of electric cars and government regulations, calling them “masochism to the extreme”, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I believe that we could continue to explore the potential of electricity, but without being strong-armed by regulators,” he said at the time.