While it remains unknown exactly what sparked Marchionne’s sudden cancellation on the eve of the prestigious event, Fiat has stated that business commitments were behind his decision not to appear.
The cancellation comes as the Fiat Group faces delays to its two core business strategies – relaunching the Alfa Romeo brand and taking control of the US-based Chrysler Group.
Fiat has responded to the recent downturn in new car sales in Europe by announcing a range of new Alfa Romeo models. The company hopes the new Alfas will help it claim a larger slice of the luxury car market in Europe and the United States.
However, Reuters says sources from within the Fiat Group have claimed that plans to start building the new Alfa range in Italy next year are likely to face delays.
It is understood that Fiat is also desperate to gain full control of the profitable Chrysler unit, thereby securing access to its much needed cash flow and technology.
However, that deal is currently held up in a contract dispute with Chrysler’s minority shareholder, Veba, over the valuation of the buyout price tag.
It is not all bad news for the Fiat Group. The company is already producing two new Maserati models - the all-new Quattroporte and Ghibli. Meanwhile, the first model from the new Alfa Romeo range, the limited-edition 4C sports car, is already in production with press drives commencing shortly.
Marchionne is yet to sign off on a plant that will be capable of building the main volume sellers of the Alfa lineup - a large sedan and the mid-size Giulia.