Metro Detroiters remember Sergio Marchionne, the man who saved Fiat Chrysler

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 19:16:46-04

Fiat Chrysler plant employees expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Sergio Marchionne, just hours after hearing the news that the auto legend, and respected leader, had died.

Just three days ago, the FCA board said 66-year-old auto industry exec would be stepping down in the wake of unexpected complications from a surgery.

Today, reports emerged revealing those ‘complications’ included a stroke and cancer in his shoulder.

But as details emerge about how it happened, many here locally are taking time to reflect on the man with the job-saving plan.

"We’re talking about tens of thousands of families whose lives are better off because he came here and actually took the time to look at the community," said Sterling Heights Mayor Mike Taylor.

In 2009, the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant was on the chopping block.

"That whole time period a cloud was hanging over our city. Nobody knew what was going to happen. So many thousands of jobs and families depended on Chrysler," the mayor said.

But those jobs were spared when Marchionne rebooted and restructured the company. Then in 2016, FCA announced a $1.4 billion cash injection that allowed for the plant to retool and rebuild.

Chrysler's Warren Truck Assembly Plant also reaped the benefits of that rescue, and in 2018, invested over a billion dollars to modernize the plant, adding 2,500 jobs, and relocating operations to Warren from Mexico.

Metro Detroiters say that's how he’ll be remembered, a man with a plan who never gave up on them and never settled for less.  

Jeep/Ram executive Mike Manley will now continue in Marchionne's role, with the goal of turning Fiat- Chrysler into the United State's most profitable global automaker.