Marchionne: 54.5 mpg "very doable" for Chrysler; will step down by 2016

Chrysler's CEO is optimistic about meeting a 54.5 mpg standard... but it won't happen on his watch

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says that his automakers aren't afraid of the United States' plan to increase the federal fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Although the government won't make an official announcement on future fuel economy standards until later this year, officials have indicated that there is strong support for a graduated plan that will wind up at 54.5 mpg. The federal standard isn't quite the same as the EPA's combined figure, which would be somewhere closer to 35 mpg as shown on vehicle window stickers.

Marchionne, speaking with WJR-AM, said that meeting the proposed standard in just under 15 years is "very doable." Pointing to strides the company has made in its flagship Chrysler 300 - which is rated at 31 mpg - Marchionne told the radio station that the automaker would have plenty of time to harness current and future technology to meet the standards.

As part of the requirements set by the government during the automaker's bankruptcy, Chrysler is planning to introduce a U.S.-built car capable of hitting 40 mpg on the highway later this year. Until then, its highest EPA-rated car is the Fiat 500 at 30/38. The highest rated vehicle developed by Chrysler prior to its takeover by Fiat is the Dodge Caliber at 24/32 mpg.

Marchionne's exit date
Although few in Auburn Hills are likely looking forward to Sergio Marchionne's departure from the automaker, the ebullient CEO says that he'll probably step down by 2016.

Marchionne told journalists gathered at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, that the automaker's future plans "will be up to the guy after me - after 2015 or maybe a year later... There will be a Chrysler after me."

1.'Marchionne says he'll...' view

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