Fiat News – Including North American Plans
The internets are abuzz with Fiatitude. Motor Authority reports that CEO Sergio Marchionne fingers distribution, rather than manufacturing, as Fiat's greatest hurdle to selling cars in the U.S. True dat. Setting-up a factory in Mexico wouldn't be impossible. But setting-up dealers and warranty service departments (which Fiat will need to convince people their cars aren't the unreliable rust buckets of yore) will cost serious dough. Wth U.S. car sales on the wane, who wants to buy a franchise from a risky manufacturer? Marchionne says he's shopping for an American partner. You just know it's going to be Chrysler. Maserati TC redux? Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Italians (who already own the Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati names) are considering an additional brand to sell extremely low-cost vehicles in developing countries. Come again? The Fiat name has a lot of equity in the developing world (including Brazil, where the brand is popular). And besides, building cheap and cheerful cars is Fiat's forte. Anyway, my suggestion for a name for the automaker's low cost brand: Fiat.