Last week Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne expessed skepticism over the upcoming Tesla Model 3, specifically in its ability to generate a profit.

When asked by Automotive News about the nearly 400,000 preorders that the Model 3 has racked up since a pre-production version of the car broke cover, Marchionne didn’t hold back his thoughts on the feasibility of the $35,000 electric car with 215-plus miles range.

“I’m am not surprised by the high number of reservations but you have then to build and deliver them and also be profitable,” said Marchionne on the sidelines of FCA’s annual meeting in Amsterdam on Friday.


To date Fiat Chrysler has been reluctant to get into the EV game, with only one such car on the roster, the 500e. The car is a $32,500 electric version of the 500 with a range of 87 miles, built only to comply with regulations, and has always been a money pit for FCA.

Marchionne seemed perplexed at how Tesla could pack so much more range and space into the Model 3 for nearly the same price.

If Elon Musk “can show me that the car will be profitable at that price, I will copy the formula, add the Italian design flair and get it to the market within 12 months,” said Marchione.

When asked whether FCA is going to be late to the electrification game, Marchionne said “better late than sorry,” further nailing home his misgivings about Tesla’s latest gambit.