The Truth About Cars » Italy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:21:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Italy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/italy-news-blog/ Fiat Sets Date Of Shareholder Meeting For August 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fiat-sets-date-of-shareholder-meeting-for-august-1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fiat-sets-date-of-shareholder-meeting-for-august-1/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858633 Own any shares in Fiat S.p.A.? The automaker just announced it will hold its next general assembly of all shareholders August 1, where the topic of discussion will be the approval of the merger of Fiat with Chrysler Group to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Reuters reports shareholders will also be asked to approve the […]

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A new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sign is pictured after being unveiled at Chrysler Group World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan

Own any shares in Fiat S.p.A.? The automaker just announced it will hold its next general assembly of all shareholders August 1, where the topic of discussion will be the approval of the merger of Fiat with Chrysler Group to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Reuters reports shareholders will also be asked to approve the merger of Fiat with its wholly owned subsidiary Netherlands Fiat Investments N.V. prior to the FCA vote. The meeting would allow CEO Sergio Marchionne to list FCA on the New York Stock Exchange by October at the earliest.

Those who approve FCA’s existence will receive one FCA common share for every Fiat share they hold, while those against will have the right of withdrawal for the next 15 days, with the redemption price set to €7.727 ($10.51 USD) per Fiat share.

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Maserati Sells As Many Units Through June 2014 As It Had For All Of 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/maserati-sells-as-many-units-through-june-2014-as-it-had-for-all-of-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/maserati-sells-as-many-units-through-june-2014-as-it-had-for-all-of-2013/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=847945 Maserati may have had a slow 2013 as far as sales go, but the Italian brand is on pace to sell within the first half of 2014 as many cars as it had in the last year. Reuters reports CEO Harald Wester said that while the United States was Maserati’s biggest market, China, Italy and […]

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Maserati may have had a slow 2013 as far as sales go, but the Italian brand is on pace to sell within the first half of 2014 as many cars as it had in the last year.

Reuters reports CEO Harald Wester said that while the United States was Maserati’s biggest market, China, Italy and Europe as a whole were making big sales waves for the brand, likely helping it move 15,400 units both in 2013 and the first six months of this year. He added that Maserati was on pace to hit its mark of 50,000 units sold annually by 2015, and 75,000 by 2018 as part of parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year plan.

In product news, Wester proclaimed the Levante SUV would head for the showroom late next year or sometime in 2016, followed by the Alfieri in hardtop and convertible forms. Meanwhile, no new factories would be built, with an effort on filling current plants to full capacity in its fight to best the Germans in the sales game.

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Alfa 4C Arrives In 86 North American Showrooms, Brings 342 Pounds Of Luggage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/alfa-4c-arrives-in-86-north-american-showrooms-brings-342-pounds-of-luggage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/alfa-4c-arrives-in-86-north-american-showrooms-brings-342-pounds-of-luggage/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841969 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just released their initial list of dealerships who will have the right to sell the Alfa Romeo 4C to North American customers, while the sports car will bring 342 pounds of luggage for the trip from Modena to the selected showrooms. Autoblog reports all but four dealerships will be in the […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just released their initial list of dealerships who will have the right to sell the Alfa Romeo 4C to North American customers, while the sports car will bring 342 pounds of luggage for the trip from Modena to the selected showrooms.

Autoblog reports all but four dealerships will be in the United States — the remaining four are in Canada — and the majority of those will be concentrated in three of the 33 states on the initial list: California, Florida and Texas. The chosen ones were drawn from a list of existing Fiat and Maserati dealerships, and though expected cities like Los Angeles, Orlando and Austin will be among the chosen, a few big names didn’t make the first cut, including New York, Seattle and Louisville, Ky.

Meanwhile, the chosen dealerships “will have a unique staff dedicated to the brand’s premium market clientele,” per the words of Chrysler Group vice president of network development Peter Grady. The dealerships are undergoing “an intensive curriculum” to ensure the success of the 4C and limited-edition 4C Launch Edition as FCA presses forward toward its goal of over 300 Alfa dealerships in North America.

As for the 4C itself, Jalopnik says the sports car packed on an additional 342 pounds to its 2,153-pound Euro-spec frame for the U.S. market, coming into port at 2,495 pounds. Aside from the usual federalization mandates, some of the weight comes from the standard air-con and radio equipped in the U.S.-spec model.

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Marchionne’s FCA Looks To Sell 6 Million Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/marchionnes-fca-looks-to-sell-6-million-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/marchionnes-fca-looks-to-sell-6-million-units/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=786433 Should Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles be able to deliver on his expectations, the merged automaker will be able to move 6 million units annually, enabling FCA to become a player on the global stage. The Detroit News reports Marchionne met before Fiat’s shareholders in the final meeting at the automaker’s Turin, Italy headquarters before […]

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Should Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles be able to deliver on his expectations, the merged automaker will be able to move 6 million units annually, enabling FCA to become a player on the global stage.

The Detroit News reports Marchionne met before Fiat’s shareholders in the final meeting at the automaker’s Turin, Italy headquarters before FCA relocates to the Netherlands, stating what he expects out of FCA in the post-merger years to come:

By 2018, Fiat will be able to make more than 6 million cars. I don’t want to give any details of the plan, but we are going in that direction.

For 2014, Marchionne stated FCA aims to sell between 4.5 million and 4.6 million units on the strength of United States and Asia markets, collecting some $128 billion in revenues, and between $828.6 million and $1.1 billion in net profit. The goal of selling 6 million units has been an oft-mentioned one by Marchionne, who believes that the volumes necessary to achieve scale will only increase in the future.

Until then, his current goal is to have Chrysler and Fiat completely merged by the end of 2014, with a multi-year business plan to be presented in Detroit by May. Marchionne believes the new plan can be run “by purely financing on debt.”

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Manley: Renegade Will Appeal To U.S. Customers Despite Italian Roots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/manley-renegade-will-appeal-to-u-s-customers-despite-italian-roots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/manley-renegade-will-appeal-to-u-s-customers-despite-italian-roots/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 20:30:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767217 According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, the Italian-built Renegade will appeal to the off-road brand’s United States customer base despite its Italian roots, especially in Trailhawk form. Automotive News Europe reports the main concern regarding the Renegade is its off-road capability, which Manley believes will be resolved once the trail-rated Trailhawk arrives in showrooms in […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, the Italian-built Renegade will appeal to the off-road brand’s United States customer base despite its Italian roots, especially in Trailhawk form.

Automotive News Europe reports the main concern regarding the Renegade is its off-road capability, which Manley believes will be resolved once the trail-rated Trailhawk arrives in showrooms in 2015 along with the rest of the Renegade family. He also noted the design language expressed by the entry-level Jeep, as well as its footprint, echo that of the CJ family:

The Renegade’s footprint is similar to one of the CJs. It’s much more Wrangler. We’re very pleased, and I think it will work well in the United States.

Though Manley remained silent on the subject of sales figures for the Renegade and platform sibling Fiat 500X, supplier sources expect a total of 280,000 units annually between the two, with Jeep moving 150,000 units and Fiat accounting for 130,000. Price of admission will be announced by Jeep in Q4 2014 for the U.S., Q2 2014 for the European market.

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Smaller Jeep To Slot Beneath Renegade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/smaller-jeep-to-slot-beneath-renegade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/smaller-jeep-to-slot-beneath-renegade/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=766177 Though the Jeep Renegade already bowed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, the off-road brand has plans for not only a fullsize SUV similar to the discontinued Commander, but an A segment SUV slotted beneath the Renegade, as well. Auto Express reports the A segment vehicle could possibly be underpinned by the next-generation Fiat 500, […]

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Though the Jeep Renegade already bowed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, the off-road brand has plans for not only a fullsize SUV similar to the discontinued Commander, but an A segment SUV slotted beneath the Renegade, as well.

Auto Express reports the A segment vehicle could possibly be underpinned by the next-generation Fiat 500, though would face greater engineering challenges than those faced by the Renegade — built upon Fiat’s “small-wide” archecture underpinning the upcoming 500X — to make it Rubicon-ready, as Jeep boss Mike Manley explained:

We couldn’t make an SUV off of “small wide” as you can’t get the ground clearance. It was completely changed by Jeep engineers so now it’s “small wide 4×4″ architecture.

The A segment Jeep could also aid in bringing the brand into compliance with increasing CO2 emissions standards, though the improvement drive — much like the vehicle itself — will be a long, hard road to hew:

There’s relentless pressure to reduce CO2 and there’s much more for us to do. We’re trying to stay away from complexity and improvements are slowly coming.

Meanwhile, Manley’s focus is toward the Grand Wagoneer, which will slot above the Grand Cherokee. The fullsize SUV will boast room for seven and “be bigger than the old Commander” made between 2006 and 2010.

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FCA Beginning Maserati SUV Production In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fca-beginning-maserati-suv-production-in-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fca-beginning-maserati-suv-production-in-2015/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:45:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=766289 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced this week production of the Maserati Levante SUV will begin at the automaker’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy beginning in 2015. Reuters reports Marchionne also proclaimed the Alfieri introduced at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show could go into production within 28 months if FCA wanted to make it […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced this week production of the Maserati Levante SUV will begin at the automaker’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy beginning in 2015.

Reuters reports Marchionne also proclaimed the Alfieri introduced at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show could go into production within 28 months if FCA wanted to make it so, noting that “the platforms and motors are there” for the grand tourer, though no word was given on whether the Alfieri will join the Levante at Mirafiori should plans come to pass.

Regarding the financial health of Maserati, Marchionne remained optimistic for what the future holds, stating the Alfieri was “an indication of things to come” for the luxury brand. Maserati’s increased profits also signal a sea change for FCA overall as they prepare for Alfa Romeo’s re-introduction into the United States this summer.

However, an uphill battle still waits for FCA; while Maserati moved 15,400 units last year, the figure is far short of the brand’s goal of 50,000 units for 2015. The brand must also contend with the likes of Audi and BMW, emulating their successes with more affordable vehicles while also avoiding potential damage to its image.

Along with the aforementioned re-introduction, FCA is crossing its fingers that their two-prong strategy will pay off big by bringing the Italo-American automaker back in the black by 2016, surviving the economic storm in Europe that has all but battered the auto industry as a whole.

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Fiat, Abarth Likely To Receive Mazda-Based Roadster Over Alfa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fiat-abarth-likely-to-receive-mazda-based-roadster-over-alfa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fiat-abarth-likely-to-receive-mazda-based-roadster-over-alfa/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 19:19:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=764089 Long rumored to wear the Alfa Romeo badge, the next-generation Mazda MX-5 may instead don a Fiat or Abarth necklace in 2015 if Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has the last word. Automotive News reports sources close to the project stated product planners from Mazda and Fiat met recently to discuss a roadster based […]

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Long rumored to wear the Alfa Romeo badge, the next-generation Mazda MX-5 may instead don a Fiat or Abarth necklace in 2015 if Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has the last word.

Automotive News reports sources close to the project stated product planners from Mazda and Fiat met recently to discuss a roadster based upon the MX-5. Fiat’s planners are looking for a way to maintain the supply partnership deal with the Japanese automaker, lest the break-up leave Fiat in the red through 2016, when they hope to return to the black in their native Europe.

As for why, Marchionne has proclaimed that no Alfa will be made outside of Italy so long as he is CEO, a statement reinforced as recently as the 2014 Detroit Auto Show; Marchionne plans to head FCA until 2017 at the earliest.

The so-called heir to the throne abdicated by the Fiat Duetto Spider made famous by the film “The Graduate,” the Italo-Japanese roadster may find a home with Fiat or Abarth, too underpowered be paired with Ferrari or Maserati, while Lancia retreats into its home market as a one-model brand by the end of 2014.

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Only Select Fiat Dealers Will Get Alfa Romeo Franchises http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/only-select-fiat-dealers-will-get-alfa-romeo-franchises/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/only-select-fiat-dealers-will-get-alfa-romeo-franchises/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753569 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to bring Alfa Romeo back into the United States market after a two-decade absence with the 4C, but only the best-performing Fiat dealerships will be selected to sell the first new Alfas when the lighweight $60,000 sports car rolls off the dock in June. The Detroit News reports the majority […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to bring Alfa Romeo back into the United States market after a two-decade absence with the 4C, but only the best-performing Fiat dealerships will be selected to sell the first new Alfas when the lighweight $60,000 sports car rolls off the dock in June.

The Detroit News reports the majority of Fiat dealerships who were promised an Alfa wing will not be along for the ride in 2014. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne stated that his company would only allow “the best-performing Fiat dealers to participate” based on “simple dealer metrics” and efficacy in representing Fiat. Though he also added that said dealers knew who they were, FCA spokesman Rick Deneau countered his boss’s statement, saying that those dealers “have not been identified yet.”

While the 4C will be the only Alfa offering available this year, it will be joined in 2015 by the Giulia, Giulietta and a new Spider co-developed with Mazda, which will also underpin the latter’s new MX-5 roadster. The 4C is motivated by a turbocharged four-pot driving 240 horses out of the back gate, pushing the 1875-pound sports car from naught to 60 in 4.5 seconds.

However, follow-through hasn’t been FCA’s strong suit regarding Alfa’s return, with the brand originally promised to Fiat dealers in 2012, then last year before settling upon June 2014. The return was also promised to come with a full lineup to display in showrooms, but only the 4C will be setting the pace this year as it goes up against the Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

According to IHS Automotive, selected Fiat dealers will move 500 4Cs in 2014, with 8,400 more in 2015 once more dealers join the fray. IHS also expects Alfa to move 28,000 units in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

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Moody’s Cuts Fiat’s Rating Down Due To Earnings Worries, Outlook http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/moodys-cuts-fiats-rating-down-due-to-earnings-worries-outlook/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/moodys-cuts-fiats-rating-down-due-to-earnings-worries-outlook/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 16:18:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740041 Citing weak results in 2013 and guidance challenges for 2014, investment ratings agency Moody’s has cut Fiat’s rating from B3a to B1, four notches below investment grade. Automotive News reports that the rating was decided upon by the agency after placing the automaker under review for a possible downgrade back in the opening days of […]

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2014 Fiat 500L Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Citing weak results in 2013 and guidance challenges for 2014, investment ratings agency Moody’s has cut Fiat’s rating from B3a to B1, four notches below investment grade.

Automotive News reports that the rating was decided upon by the agency after placing the automaker under review for a possible downgrade back in the opening days of 2014 just after Fiat struck a deal to take full control of Chrysler for $4.35 billion. In turn, the B1 rating for Fiat means the automaker will have a harder time securing much-needed financing in order to right the ship for their loss-making European operations.

Aside from the aforementioned reasons cited for the downgrade, Moody’s lead analyst for Fiat Falk Frey added that

“We have downgraded Fiat’s ratings following its weaker-than-expected performance in fiscal year 2013 and our view that the company faces significant challenges in terms of achieving its outlook guidance for the current fiscal year.”

 “We are also concerned that Fiat may not be able to offset any further profitability deterioration in its Latin American operation through anticipated improvements in other regions and in its luxury and performance division,” 

Other factors in the downgrade include Fiat’s overreliance on the European market — still weak from the Great Recession — rising price pressures, a lack of major new models coming down the ramp in 2014, and overcapacity in Fiat’s home market.

Although Fiat and Chrysler merged not too long ago, Moody’s will keep the former duo’s ratings separate for the foreseeable future. The agency also said Fiat’s rating’s outlook overall has improved from negative to stable.

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Marchionne’s Choice of Fiat-Chrysler HQ Weighs Political Realities Against Lower Taxes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/marchionnes-choice-of-fiat-chrysler-hq-weighs-political-realities-against-lower-taxes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/marchionnes-choice-of-fiat-chrysler-hq-weighs-political-realities-against-lower-taxes/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 15:55:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=726994 Now that Sergio Marchionne has succeeded in joining Fiat and Chrysler together, for his next act he’s planning on moving Fiat’s headquarters out of Italy. While such a move has tax advantages, it would present a political and public relations challenge for Fiat and Marchionne in their home country. According to Reuters, the new entity, […]

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Now that Sergio Marchionne has succeeded in joining Fiat and Chrysler together, for his next act he’s planning on moving Fiat’s headquarters out of Italy. While such a move has tax advantages, it would present a political and public relations challenge for Fiat and Marchionne in their home country. According to Reuters, the new entity, dubbed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will be a Dutch-based company with a UK tax domicile, while shares are listed on the NYSE with a secondary listing in Milan.

Marchionne is aware that locating the headquarters outside of Italy, where Fiat has operated for 115 years and has received government funding, or outside the United States, where Chrysler was bailed out by the federal government, could make waves and there is the possibility that the Italian government might intervene. “I’ve seen weirder things happen,” Marchionne said to journalists at the recent Detroit auto show. “So I sincerely hope they don’t create obstacles.”

The deal for Fiat to take complete control of Chrysler after buying the UAW retiree health benefits trust’s stake in the Auburn Hills based automaker was consummated last week and the result is the world’s 7th largest automaker, holding brands that include ,Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep and Maserati along with the two corporate brands.

Marchionne is emulating what he did when he spun off CNH Industrial from Fiat: register the group in the Netherlands with a UK tax domicile. Marchionne has previously said that CNH Industrial will be used as “one of the technical blueprints” for Fiat-Chrysler. CNH is registered in the Netherlands, tax-resident in Britain and traded primarily on the New York Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing in Milan.

Marchionne, who trained as a tax accountant before attending law school by training, will present his plans to the Fiat board of directors today. Publicly he has insisted that moving the HQ and listing on the NYSE reflect “access to funding” more than tax considerations, saying that profits are taxed where they are made with “no impact” on the Italian government’s tax revenue. Because of tax credits for previous years’ losses, Fiat will not have to pay domestic Italian taxes for years to come. Still, to reduce tax burden, manufacturers can adjust the amounts of total profit attributed to the production, export or sale of each vehicle in different countries.

 

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Jeep Aiming For 1 Million Units Sold in 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/jeep-aiming-for-1-million-units-sold-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/jeep-aiming-for-1-million-units-sold-in-2014/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:05:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=701209 Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne threw down the gauntlet for Jeep during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, proclaiming that the Rubicon-rated brand will move 1 million units onto the trails and highways by the end of this year. Global sales of the iconic off-road brand rose 4 percent […]

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Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne threw down the gauntlet for Jeep during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, proclaiming that the Rubicon-rated brand will move 1 million units onto the trails and highways by the end of this year.

Global sales of the iconic off-road brand rose 4 percent in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year, topping out at a record 731,565 units moved. Though Marchionne is confident Jeep will make his stated sales goal, brand president Mike Manley is taking a more conservative stand, stating that the figure might come by 2015 rather than 2014.

However, Manley believes the new Cherokee could bring the remaining 300,000 or so units to the table by the end of the year should the SUV do well at home and abroad. Sales of the Cherokee in the United States, in spite of its face, are 15 percent to 20 percent ahead of Chrysler’s expectations after only two months in the market; total U.S. sales account for 67 percent of Jeep’s overall global sales.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Fiat has plans to build a subcompact Jeep in Italy for sale in Europe in 2014, with arrival in the U.S. due sometime in 2015. The parent automaker also plans to expand production in America, as well as in China and Brazil.

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Fiat Punto to Be Axed, $13.2 billion Spent On 20 New Models Over Next 3 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/fiat-punto-to-be-axed-13-2-billion-spent-on-20-new-models-over-next-3-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/fiat-punto-to-be-axed-13-2-billion-spent-on-20-new-models-over-next-3-years/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:30:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=676138 Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models […]

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Fiat Punto, not long for this world.

Fiat Punto, not long for this world.

Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda.  A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.

Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory.

Not able to access the profits that Chrysler is banking because it’s not wholly owned by Fiat yet, Marchionne must find a way to staunch the parent brand’s bleeding red ink in Europe. Fiat has previously announced that it hopes to develop about 20 new models for Europe by 2016, including eight Alfa Romeos. Some of those cars are a 500 based SUV along with Italian made Jeeps to be introduced alongside the open version of Alfa’s 4C sports car.

Fiat has lost market share in Europe for the past four years, with deliveries dropping 47% over that period and market share going form 9.3% to 6.2%. The Italian automaker has had almost 2 billion euros in operating losses since 2011, including over 300 million euros in loses for the first three quarters of 2013.

Many of Fiat’s 30,700 production workers in Italy have been furloughed this year, most of them for more than five months.

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Ram to ProMaster the City in Late 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/ram-to-promaster-the-city-in-late-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/ram-to-promaster-the-city-in-late-2014/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 15:57:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=669458 On the heels of “the biggest thing to happen in the commercial world” that is the Ram ProMaster — whose page links back to our review, of course — the Italo-American truck division has announced the introduction of the ProMaster City in late 2014. The ProMaster City is expected to go up against the Ford […]

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Fiat Doblo

On the heels of “the biggest thing to happen in the commercial world” that is the Ram ProMaster — whose page links back to our review, of course — the Italo-American truck division has announced the introduction of the ProMaster City in late 2014.

The ProMaster City is expected to go up against the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200/Chevrolet City Express in the battle for the hearts and wallets of many a florist, caterer and cable installer.

Much like how the Fiat Ducato provided the framework for the ProMaster, the Fiat Doblo will provide the foundation for the ProMaster City as it becomes an Americanized delivery machine. The treatment will include adding more transmission/engine combos, an automatic transmission as an option, and slight changes to the design to appeal to the North American market.

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Fiat Passes on Milano Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/fiat-passes-on-milano-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/fiat-passes-on-milano-auto-show/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:45:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=654162 If you were hoping to celebrate an early Christmas in Milan with Signore Marchionne next year, you’re out of luck: Fiat has declined an invitation to show at the 2014 Milano Auto Show in light of the weakened local market. The Italian half of the Italo-American mashup stated that the shows in Paris, Frankfurt and […]

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Fiat Strada Adventure

If you were hoping to celebrate an early Christmas in Milan with Signore Marchionne next year, you’re out of luck: Fiat has declined an invitation to show at the 2014 Milano Auto Show in light of the weakened local market.

The Italian half of the Italo-American mashup stated that the shows in Paris, Frankfurt and Geneva are enough for all automakers to show off their latest and greatest to the masses and the press alike, and that current economic conditions may not be able to support another auto show, especially one in a market that took only 1.3 million cars out of the showroom in 2013 after a peak of 2.5 million units sold back in 2007.

In response, Chairman Alfredo Cazzola of Promotor, the production company responsible for organizing next year’s show, had this to say to the Italian daily La Repubblica:

Fiat’s business is to build cars, not to organize shows.

Cazzola also said that Fiat would change its mind once they’ve seen what his Promotor has in store for Milan. Previously, Promotor were responsible for the Bologna Auto Show until its reorganization as the Milano Auto Show, where 133 exhibitors displayed their wares in 2012. In contrast, this year’s show in Frankfort held 1,000 under their tent.

As for 2013, the 38th iteration of the Bologna Auto Show was cancelled due to a lack of exhibitors.

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Under Pressure From UAW VEBA, Chrysler Files For IPO, Fiat Not Thrilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/under-pressure-from-uaw-veba-chrysler-files-for-ipo-fiat-not-thrilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/under-pressure-from-uaw-veba-chrysler-files-for-ipo-fiat-not-thrilled/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:30:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=526513 After Fiat and Chrysler’s retired UAW workers’ health care benefits trust were unable to agree on a price for the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association‘s 41.5% share in the Auburn Hills automaker, at the trust’s request Chrysler has filed initial paperwork for a public stock offering to sell part of the VEBA’s stake, about 16% of […]

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vebafiatchrysler

After Fiat and Chrysler’s retired UAW workers’ health care benefits trust were unable to agree on a price for the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association‘s 41.5% share in the Auburn Hills automaker, at the trust’s request Chrysler has filed initial paperwork for a public stock offering to sell part of the VEBA’s stake, about 16% of overall Chrysler shares, the first time in over a decade that the public will be able to own shares in Chrysler, which formerly was wholly owned by Cerberus and before that Daimler. Fiat certainly would rather the IPO not take place now as it complicates Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s plans for the Italian automaker to acquire full ownership of Chrysler. The benefits trust has the legal right to force Chrysler to make the stock offering so the VEBA can cash out on the shares it received in exchange for giving up financial claims against Chrysler during the company’s bankruptcy and bailout by governments in the United States and Canada.

Not only does the VEBA have an opportunity to get a windfall of cash, a billion dollars or more, it also gets a chance to let the open market decide on the value of the remaining ~25% of Chrysler it will still own after the IPO, as the trust continues to negotiate with Fiat. Some automotive industry pundits see the request for the IPO as a tactic by the trust to get a higher price from the Italian car company. “It’s a very, very high-stakes battle going on here,” said Harley Shaiken, a professor of labor at the University of California-Berkeley. “Both sides are being quite strategic, and we’ll see how it plays out.” Marchionne told analysts earlier this year, “Fiat remains available to continue the discussion.”

In the background there is also an ongoing court case over the valuation of the trust’s stake, said by Fiat to be worth $3 billion and by the VEBA significantly more than that.

There are risks in an IPO for all three parties, the VEBA, Chrysler, and Fiat. Possible investors might shy away since the logical buyer, Fiat, won’t be participating. That could depress the stock value, which wouldn’t be a good thing for Chrysler, or for the matter, Fiat, which owns the other 58.5% of Chrysler.

The IPO would not change Fiat’s control over Chrysler, but without 100% ownership, Fiat cannot tap into the cash reserves Chrysler has banked on its success since the bankruptcy. In the second quarter of 2013, Chrysler profits were over half a billion dollars, up 16% from the same quarter in 2012. Those revenues have helped offset weakness in Fiat’s main market in Europe.

The JPMorgan Chase bank will be underwriting the I.P.O.

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Fiat turns higher profit as spending cuts narrow European losses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/fiat-turns-higher-profit-as-spending-cuts-narrow-european-losses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/fiat-turns-higher-profit-as-spending-cuts-narrow-european-losses/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 10:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497540 The Fiat Group reported its profits for the second quarter of 2013 and they were better than expected, attributed to strong pickup truck sales at Chrysler’s Ram brand and spending cuts in Europe.   Earnings before interest, taxes and one time items increased by 9% to 1.03 billion euros ($1.37 billion). Revenue was up 4% […]

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Fiat-Group-Logo-400x243

The Fiat Group reported its profits for the second quarter of 2013 and they were better than expected, attributed to strong pickup truck sales at Chrysler’s Ram brand and spending cuts in Europe.

 

Earnings before interest, taxes and one time items increased by 9% to 1.03 billion euros ($1.37 billion). Revenue was up 4% to 22.3 billion euros. Losses in Europe were down 40 million euros to 98 million. The company says that it expects to be in the black in Europe by 2016. The European losses were more than offset by U.S. sales and profits.

Net income for Fiat went up to 142 million euros, an improvement of 110 million from 2012. Without Chrysler, that net income would have been a loss of 247 million euros for Q2 2013.

Fiat’s car sales were down 10% in the first half, performing poorer than the industry average of -7%.

Fiat’s own projections say it is on pace to have a 2013 trading profit of between 4 and 4.5 billion euros, up from 3.81 billion last year. That projection exceeds those of industry analysts, who say that the company will report 3.83 billion euros profit for the entire year.

Fiat Second Quarter 2013 Results

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Marchionne: Fiat-Chrysler Could Be Dutch, Not Italian or American http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/marchionne-fiat-chrysler-could-be-dutch-not-italian-or-american/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/marchionne-fiat-chrysler-could-be-dutch-not-italian-or-american/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496958 Once the merger he plans for Fiat and Chrysler goes through, Sergio Marchionne says that Fiat-Chrysler could be registered as a corporation in the Netherlands, not Italy or the United States. Marchionne wants to have the combined company’s primary stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange and rules for corporate governance in the Netherlands […]

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IMG_9826

Once the merger he plans for Fiat and Chrysler goes through, Sergio Marchionne says that Fiat-Chrysler could be registered as a corporation in the Netherlands, not Italy or the United States. Marchionne wants to have the combined company’s primary stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange and rules for corporate governance in the Netherlands are similar to those in the States.

 

Fiat Industrial is already moving its corporate headquarters to the Netherlands after its merger with its own American unit, CNH, is finalized in a few months, and when asked by Reuters if Fiat-Chrysler could do likewise, Marchionne said, “It’s possible”.

Chrysler is currently in talks with the UAW’s VEBA to buy the remaining 41.5% of Chrysler that it doesn’t yet own. A Delaware court is expected to rule on a price dispute with VEBA, which should resolve not just questions about how much it’s going to cost Fiat but also about the timetable of the two companies’ merger.

Marchionne wouldn’t comment on 2nd quarter earnings which are starting to be reported by automakers. Fiat’s financials will be released next week. Analysts predict a group before tax profit of $1.32 billion and a net profit of $402 million for the quarter, about what they earned in 2012.

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CAR Magazine: Alfa Romeo to Go RWD Only http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/car-magazine-alfa-romeo-to-go-rwd-only/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/car-magazine-alfa-romeo-to-go-rwd-only/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496557 The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.   The new Alfa models will involve collaboration with fellow Fiat stablemate Maserati. According to CAR’s “insider” source, 2015 will see the introduction of a […]

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The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.

 

The new Alfa models will involve collaboration with fellow Fiat stablemate Maserati. According to CAR’s “insider” source, 2015 will see the introduction of a Giulia sedan intended to compete with cars like the BMW 3 Series, with a larger Alfetta sedan following in 2016 to go up against the E Class and 5 Series cars. Those sedans will be followed in 2017 and 2018 with a compact competitor to BMW’s X1 and then a larger X3/Q5 competitor. The SUVs will based on the same modular platform as the sedan, developed with Maserati. Those cars will share showroom space with the recently introduced 4C midengine sports car and the upcoming roadster jointly developed with Mazda’s next MX-5. Both those cars are rear wheel drive. It’s apparently thought within Fiat that Alfa cannot compete with brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi without superior driving dynamics and that RWD is the way to achieve those dynamics. Look for ZF’s rapidly proliferating 8 speed transmission and a Maserati V6 in the new Alfas as well as hybrid versions. No word from CAR’s insider on whether or not Fiat owned Chrysler will have access to the same RWD platforms, though the larger Alfetta sedan would be the right size to underpin the next Chrysler 300.

 

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European Car Registrations Fall To Lowest Level In 20 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/european-car-registrations-fall-to-lowest-level-in-20-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/european-car-registrations-fall-to-lowest-level-in-20-years/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:30:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=495508 Though Ford, VAG’s Seat brand, and Renault’s low-cost Dacia posted gains, overall car and light truck sales in June in Europe were down 6.3% compared to June of 2012, weighed down by declining sales at VW, Opel, Fiat and PSA. According to Automotive News, only 1.18 million new vehicles were registered in the EU and […]

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Though Ford, VAG’s Seat brand, and Renault’s low-cost Dacia posted gains, overall car and light truck sales in June in Europe were down 6.3% compared to June of 2012, weighed down by declining sales at VW, Opel, Fiat and PSA. According to Automotive News, only 1.18 million new vehicles were registered in the EU and EFTA, the lowest they’ve been in two decades.

 

VAG sales overall were down 4.4%, with Audi showing the biggest decline at 8.9%. VW branded car sales went down 6.6% and Skoda was off by almost 7%. PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) was down 11%, while Fiat overall sales were down 13.6% with the Fiat brand itself down 6%. GM did not have a good month in Europe, with overall sales down 9.9%. Opel and Vauxhall were down 7.2% and Chevrolet was down 23%. BMW was off by 7.7%. On the positive side were Renault at +0.9%, with Dacia’s 16.4% jump more than balancing a 3.3% drop for Renault branded cars. Mercedes posted a modest 2% gain, Seat was up 11 percent and Ford sales increased by 7%.

Some analysts see a dim light at the end of a dark tunnel. Commerzbank’s Sascha Gommel said, “It’s still a weak car market, and I don’t think that it will get better in the very near future. I wouldn’t expect a recovery in the second half, but rather a stabilization at a low level.”

Others were not as optimistic. Renault and PSA executives repeated projections that showed an overall drop of 5% for the full year, which would make 2013 the sixth year in a row with declining sales in Europe. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said earlier this month that the European car market will probably shrink some more in 2014 and 2015. Fiat head Sergio Marchionne doesn’t expect Europe to improve “for years”. Even BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, who is a little more optimistic, said recently that European markets would not start to improve until the second half of 2014

By country, Germany was down 4.7%, France was down 8.4% and Italy down 5.5% as unemployment and austerity measures have their impact. The UK bucked the trend, with its 16th month in a row of gains, up 13.4%.

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Fiat Owns 68.49% Of Chrysler, Will Soon Own More http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/fiat-owns-68-49-of-chrysler-will-soon-own-more/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/fiat-owns-68-49-of-chrysler-will-soon-own-more/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 18:53:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494579 Fiat bought another 3.3 percent of Chrysler, “bringing it a step nearer to its goal of creating the world’s seventh-largest automaker by sales,” says Reuters. What Fiat really wants is to consolidate loss-making Fiat with profitable Chrysler, and to get “access to some of Chrysler’s cash flow for investments in new models,” the wire says. […]

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Marchionne - Picture courtesy theglobeandmail.com

Fiat bought another 3.3 percent of Chrysler, “bringing it a step nearer to its goal of creating the world’s seventh-largest automaker by sales,” says Reuters. What Fiat really wants is to consolidate loss-making Fiat with profitable Chrysler, and to get “access to some of Chrysler’s cash flow for investments in new models,” the wire says.

With any luck, this time we won’t hear forever “that all they wanted was Chrysler’s cash.” This time, the unions will get a hefty chunk of the cash, and silence is guaranteed once the final price has been agreed.

Fiat was handed 20 percent of a worthless Chrysler in 2009 for free, and has options to increase its stake to 75 percent until July 2014. Fiat can buy 16.6 percent of Chrysler from UAW’s Veba. A court decision on the price Fiat will pay for the shares is still pending, but Fiat said its calculation of the value of the shares is $254.7 million. The UAW probably has a different opinion.

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Overgrown Fiat 500 Launched http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/overgrown-fiat-500-launched/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/overgrown-fiat-500-launched/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 16:20:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494329 Fiat launched a seven-seat version of its Fiat 500, a car that used to be known for its cramped space in the original model. Called the 500L Living (as in Living Room …), the seven seater “is about a meter longer than the classic 500,” writes Reuters. The car gained 20 centimeters on the Fiat […]

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500 L living - Picture courtesy Fiat

Fiat launched a seven-seat version of its Fiat 500, a car that used to be known for its cramped space in the original model. Called the 500L Living (as in Living Room …), the seven seater “is about a meter longer than the classic 500,” writes Reuters.

The car gained 20 centimeters on the Fiat 500L, on which it is based. The MPW is “essentially a stretched version of the 500L,” writes Autoexpress. “That allowed engineers to squeeze in a third row of seats, but don’t expect acres of space back there.”

Other expectations are pretty big: “We expect to sell about 20,000 to 30,000 of them in Europe in the next 12 months,” Gianluca Italia, Fiat brand chief for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Reuters.

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Fiat To Merge With Chrysler When VEBA Case Solved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/fiat-to-merge-with-chrysler-when-veba-case-solved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/fiat-to-merge-with-chrysler-when-veba-case-solved/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 12:35:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=490020 Fiat can’t wait for a full merger with now again cash-rich and profitable Chrysler, but it will wait until its legal dispute with the UAW’s VEBA healthcare trust has been resolved. “We intend to wait for the Delaware verdict before moving forward on the merger” with Chrysler, Fiat Chairman John Elkann told Reuters. “The verdict […]

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Picture courtesy autoedizione.com

Fiat can’t wait for a full merger with now again cash-rich and profitable Chrysler, but it will wait until its legal dispute with the UAW’s VEBA healthcare trust has been resolved. “We intend to wait for the Delaware verdict before moving forward on the merger” with Chrysler, Fiat Chairman John Elkann told Reuters.

“The verdict is due 90 days from the April 25 hearing,” Elkann told Reuters. Elkann did not rule out an out of court settlement with VEBA ahead of the verdict, which will help determine the price of the 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler held by the trust.

Elkann said Fiat was not planning to spin off luxury sportscar maker Ferrari to finance the takeover. He did not mention Alfa. Elkann said the new company’s name would include both Fiat and Chrysler (FiatChrysler anyone?), and that Sergio Marchionne will stay on past 2015 to run the combined group.

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Italy To Fiat: Please, Please, Please Don’t Go, I’m Beggin You To Stay, I Love You So http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/italy-to-fiat-please-please-please-dont-go-im-beggin-you-to-stay-i-love-you-so/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/italy-to-fiat-please-please-please-dont-go-im-beggin-you-to-stay-i-love-you-so/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 11:04:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489485 Says Reuters: “Italian Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said he asked automaker Fiat to stay in Italy after its planned merger with Chrysler, which has led labor unions to fear it plans to move its headquarters to the United States.” Zanonato said earlier this week he would seek a meeting with Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne: […]

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Says Reuters:

“Italian Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said he asked automaker Fiat to stay in Italy after its planned merger with Chrysler, which has led labor unions to fear it plans to move its headquarters to the United States.”

Zanonato said earlier this week he would seek a meeting with Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne: “I’ve spoken to Marchionne. It was a friendly phone conversation and I told him what I will tell him when we meet face to face: I will ask him for Fiat to stay in Italy and continue being an Italian company,” Zanonato said on Thursday on the sidelines of an annual meeting of business lobby Confindustria.”

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Fiat May Soon Be Able To Drain Chrysler’s Cash Raise The Cash For Chrysler http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/fiat-may-soon-be-able-to-drain-chryslers-cash-raise-the-cash-for-chrysler/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/fiat-may-soon-be-able-to-drain-chryslers-cash-raise-the-cash-for-chrysler/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:28:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486023 Fiat could be close to raising the cash needed to buy the rest of Chrysler, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Apparently, the money will not come from a sale of Alfa to italophile Volkswagen, as previously surmised, but from banks. But knowing banks, they probably won’t simply move the $4 billion across […]

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Fiat could be close to raising the cash needed to buy the rest of Chrysler, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Apparently, the money will not come from a sale of Alfa to italophile Volkswagen, as previously surmised, but from banks. But knowing banks, they probably won’t simply move the $4 billion across the counter. These days, they often just find a willing buyer for a hefty fee …  

The talks with the banks are expected to conclude next month, and should lead to raising the money needed to buy the 41.5 percent of Chrysler which are held by VEBA, the United Auto Workers’ retirees’ healthcare trust.

Marchionne wants to merge Fiat and Chrysler to use Chrysler’s cash to offset Fiat’s losses. This sounds very familiar to the old DaimlerChrysler lore, usually told with a “merger of equals” tossed in to sound witty. Amazingly, this is yet to be brought up. Perhaps this is because this time, the UAW will be the recipient of the cash. Once they have it, the sermon of “they just drained Chrysler’s cash” can commence anew.

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