UPDATE 1-Fiat Chrysler CEO says 2015 performance "at top end" of guidance
DETROIT Jan 11 (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) performance last year came in at the top end of the company's own forecasts, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Monday, helping push the shares up 3 percent.
The world's seventh-largest carmaker has said it would report 2015 adjusted operating profit of at least 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion) and sees net debt dropping to between 6.6 and 7.1 billion euros.
"The year has gone well, above expectations," Marchionne told reporters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.
FCA will report full-year results at the end of this month.
Asked by reporters whether he also confirmed a goal to sell about 7 million cars in 2018, Marchionne said the carmaker would meet the financial targets it set as part of its five-year business plan to 2018, but added that it did not matter how many cars the company was selling to get there.
One of the main targets was to eliminate its net industrial debt, which stood at 7.85 billion euros at the end of September, which would give FCA "the security to face whatever challenge, even if I'm not around", added the executive, who has pledged to step down after the plan is completed.
Marchionne, who has called for mergers in the industry to share the costs of developing more intelligent and cleaner cars, said he had not abandoned his push for consolidation, which he said was fundamental to the future of the car industry.
However, after being repeatedly rebuffed by his preferred target General Motors, Marchionne said he would get FCA into better shape first by focusing on a 48 billion euro growth plan centered around turning Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Maserati into global brands. Continuación...