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Fiat CEO says Chrysler target solid despite economy

A U.S. flag flutters in the wind behind a Fiat logo at a car dealership in Alexandria
A U.S. flag flutters in the wind behind a Fiat logo at a car dealership in Alexandria

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Friday that the company's target for Chrysler sales in North America remains at 2 million units, despite a weakening economic outlook.

"We'll be fine," he said after speaking to a business audience at the Spruce Meadows equestrian facility outside Calgary. "I'm confirming both a 2 million (unit) number and a $2 billion profit number."

Marchionne, whose company took majority control of the No. 3 U.S. automaker in July, also said Americans should accept a weaker U.S. dollar if they want to add manufacturing jobs at home. The United States is actually more competitive than it was a number of months ago due to world currency issues, he said.

Over the past year, the Canadian dollar has surpassed the U.S. dollar in value, and that has led to fears among manufacturers of falling demand for Canadian products in export markets.

However, Marchionne said Chrysler's Canadian plants are performing well, as are U.S. facilities, as much of the excess capacity that had plagued the industry before the government bailouts nearly three years ago is gone.

Meanwhile, Marchionne also said that he will get involved in negotiations with the United Auto Workers this weekend.

Chrysler and the union have been in talks to craft a new four-year contract. The current four-year deal on wages and benefits expires on September 14.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Janet Guttsman and Peter Galloway)

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