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Opinion
Edward Niedermeyer

Fiat Chrysler's Five-Year Road to Ruin

 A day-long onslaught of information and projections turned out to be an reliable way to maintain the illusion that one of the most marginal of automakers is a viable player in the brutally competitive global marketplace.
How many journalists would have traded their free tablets for just a ride in this? Photographer: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
How many journalists would have traded their free tablets for just a ride in this? Photographer: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler Automobile gave its latest Five Year Plan journalists and investors on Monday in a presentation that, according to the tweets of exhausted attendees, lasted more than 11 hours. Having attended the 2009 version of Chrysler's quintennial Powerpoint deathmarch, emerging more dazed by the ordeal than enlightened, I was a little surprised to see another Ironman Marathon rolled out for analysts.

But as tweets of despair turned to stories credulously reiterating the day's slides, it became clear that the tactic was once again basically successful. A day-long onslaught of information and projections, directed by the company's mercurial Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, has turned out to be an reliable way to maintain the illusion that one of the most marginal of automakers is a viable player in the brutally competitive global marketplace.