Much of the speculation in the leadup to Fiat’s five year plan announcement centered on a long-rumored spin-off of Fiat’s auto business from the rest of the industrial conglomerate. Speculators even drove up Fiat’s share price considerably yesterday on hopes that the long-awaited spin-off would be announced today. And sure enough, Fiat did announce today that it would be spinning off part of its business. The only problem, according to Automotive News [sub], is that the newly-formed unit isn’t made up of Fiat, Alfa and Lancia, but Iveco and New Case Holland. Instead of its car operations, Fiat is bundling off its heavy commercial truck and tractor business into a new entity known as Fiat Industrial S.p.A. (Fiat-branded light commercial vehicles and Fiat Powertrain will remain behind).
The Christmas season would be a reason to be merry, would it not be for Hugo Chavez. More details about his expropriation threats emerge. Turns out, Chavez did not just threaten to kick out Toyota for being lackadaisical in the production of “rustic” vehicles.
“President Hugo Chavez told foreign automakers Wednesday to share their technology with local businesses or they will be told to leave the country,” writes the Boston Globe. Chavez gave the ultimatum in wholesale fashion to Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Fiat. Implied, the ultimatum is also meant for Fiat-controlled Chrysler, for Mitsubishi, Mack and Fiat-owned Iveco. All of the above have production facilities in Venezuela. All are at risk of instant deportation.