It’s a busy news time at Fiat Spa, with Sergio Marchionne making statements left, right and centre over Bertone production facilities, the Alfa Romeo debut in the US and more on the Fiat-Chrysler partnership. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening recently.
- Fiat now has a 30 percent stake in Chrysler as reported by AutomotiveNews. It’s an important move in terms of the Fiat-Chrysler partnership and enables the Chrysler and Fiat brands to take advantage of various dealership options in the US and Brazil. Fiat will sell both badges in Europe while Latin American dealers will still carry Chrysler models.
- On the Fiat stake in Chrysler, Marchionne says: “We could be ready to increase the stake to 51 percent by June this year, but it will depend on the market and US trade unions.” The aim is to make that target by the end of this year, though, with money already set aside for the purpose.
- After reports that the Alfa Romeo US debut would be delayed until 2013, the guys at Autoblog.it say that the Alfa 2012 US debut date is being held, but for the new Alfa SUV to be developed. While the MiTo and Giulietta remain valid products for the Italian brand, the difficulty over a US debut is with the new Alfa Giulia sedan being developed. Marchionne says: “Americans don’t like the Giulia style and everything depends on whether we can fix the design problem. The MiTo and Giulietta are true Alfa models, we don’t want to get things wrong with the Giulia.”
Meanwhile there is more news about Bertone and its maybe or maybe-not financial worries, too.
- Autoblog.com reports that Bertone is not doing so badly in terms of finances because its manufacturing plant actually belongs to Fiat Auto, meaning that delays in production do not affect Bertone fortunes. According to Autoblog.it, Marchionne wants to use the Bertone plant to produce a Maserati but the usual battle between trade unions and over the Italian industrial and employee relations mentality has ensued. As usual, Marchionne has used clear terms about what he expects from the investment, with various interest groups oscillating between concerns over workers rights and concerns over investment losses.
The busy time for Sergio Marchionne even seemed to call for comments over Luca di Montezemolo and a possible move into politics. He also couldn’t resist a jab at the Germans. The Fiat CEO says:
“Montezemolo is a friend, he has done miracles at Ferrari but when we talk I tell him not to enter politics. I say it for him. [His work at Ferrari is] an incredible job, a real miracle, for the type of car produced, the long waiting list to buy one and the fact that the Germans keep trying to launch luxury brands but can’t get near that level.”
Should we expect a Volkswagen reaction sometime soon…?