Shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU) were surging nealry 6% to $16.45 in Wednesday morning trading after Barclays upgraded the Italian-American automaker to "Overweight" from "Equalweight."

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson argues the company is one of the only traditional automakers with real earnings potential, strategic options and a compelling operating story.

Furthermore, Johnson notes that investors are undervaluing the Fiat Chrysler's potential profit boosts from additional light truck capacity.

He contends that Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who will step down in 18 months from his position, remains open to a range of strategic options to drive shareholder value further.

"At a minimum," Johnson sees Fiat Chrysler getting closer to the 2018 targets than does consensus.

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