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.
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. Read More >
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. Read More >
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 … Read More >
“It may require a miracle to pull off the Fiat chief’s latest gambit,” Reuters writes. To get Fiat out of its rut, Sergio Marchionne has a risky plan: “Take his sporty Alfa Romeo brand global with more expensive models and triple its sales volume by 2016 – after years of losses.”
That plan, says Reuters, “represents Fiat’s only real hope of combating a collapse in its home market and breathing new life into idled factories.” What if it turns out as a bust? “Should it fail, and the new cars flop, the company that Italians view as a cornerstone of their economy will have little choice but to put thousands of employees out of work and tip entire communities into turmoil.” Read More >
As we all know, TTAC has an occasional thing for pink cars. So has Fiat. Right where I live. Fiat delights Japan with the 500 Fiore Rosa (i.e. “Pink Flower”) limited edition of its Cinquecento. Read More >
Self-concious auto shoppers looking for a cheap, Italian-made vehicle need look no further than Jeep; Fiat announced plans for a $1.3 billion investment in an Italian plant to build a subcompact crossover for Fiat and Jeep.
With the exception of France, European governments offer very little help to their ailing car industries. Fiat hoped that Italy would follow the French example. Today, it received a cold shower instead. Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti “offers car makers sympathy, but no aid,” says Reuters.
Italy has not intervened with financial support for Fiat because its European losses are more than covered by revenue from its Chrysler unit in the United States, the report says.
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Despite previous calls for his ouster, Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne was elected for another year as president of the influential European auto trade group ACEA, Reuters reports. In July, Volkswagen demanded Marchionne’s head after he had accused Volkswagen of exploiting the European crisis to gain market share by offering aggressive discounts. Read More >
Aston Martin won’t be sold to the Indians, nor will it be sold to the Chinese. The low-intensity bidding war for the British boutique sports car maker was won by the Italian private equity group Investindustrial. It is buying 37.5 percent for $241 million via a capital increase agreed with majority Kuwaiti owner Investment Dar, Reuters reports after having received confirmation by Aston Martin. Read More >
Last year, our esteemed Ed in Chief Niedermeyer did intensive research into what was left of then Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s share holdings in Fiat. Fiat denied that the Colonel had any financial interest in Fiat, but he did. The holdings were seized by the Italian government. Read More >
Sergio Marchionne can’t wait to get his hands on the 41.5 percent of Chrysler, which are in the hands of the UAW’s VEBA trust. Once Fiat is in total control, Fiat and Chrysler could be merged, and the cash could be used to … but you know the drill from years back. Currently at stake are 3.3 percent. Fiat has a call option, but the UAW trust doesn’t want to fork the shares over. Read More >