Fiat Denies Seeking Asian Bride, Alfa Sale
Cross-cultural alliances are the craze of the moment in the auto industry, particularly in the form of Europeans hooking up with Japanese partners. Renault & Nissan, PSA & Mitsubishi, Volkswagen & Suzuki and Bertel Schmitt & Tomoko (sorry, couldn’t resist it!) are just a few examples. Fiat, on the other hand, is not following the crowd. Moneycontrol.com reports that Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman of Fiat, is saying no ad un socio giapponese. “The others are doing what we have (already) done,” Montezemolo says. “This is a time when we have to be careful not get indigestion.” Is the Chrysler merger not sitting well on the stomach?
Fiat believes that it has a decent enough footprint in the East. It is building a plant in China with Guangzhou Automobile, has a joint venture with Tata motors and has close relations with Tata (Ratan Tata sits on Fiat’s board of directors). Luca di Montezemolo also believes that its stake in Chrysler will be sufficient to give Fiat a good presence in the Orient, with Jeep to be pushed hard in China.
In further developments, Mr Montezemolo took the opportunity to dismiss claims that Volkswagen would buy their Alfa Romeo marque after it was suggested by an analyst’s report. Bernstein analysts reckon that “Alfa may not be expensive and can sit on VW’s platforms.”. Mr Montezemolo dismissed this report by laying out plans for Alfa Romeo, “We will present the new Alfa … that substitutes the 147, and we think there are also very important opportunities for Alfa Romeo in the United States,” he said. “We have done everything that we said we would do. So give us a bit of time and we will do this,” Montezemolo pleaded. “There are big synergies with Chrysler that will allow us to cover market segments we are not present in.”. Fiat have laid out some mighty big plans and have Chrysler deep in the heart of them. But it is one thing having big plans and another thing executing them correctly. Let’s hope it goes well for Fiat and they they don’t end up with an embarrassing broken nose. At least, I can resist that joke.
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If Alfa are to make their global sales quota and remain viable they must sell in at least one of the two largest car markets: China or North America.