Italy To Fiat: Please, Please, Please Don't Go, I'm Beggin You To Stay, I Love You So

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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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  • Thegamper Thegamper on May 24, 2013

    I think Sergio has a pretty realistic view on his company and its place in the automotive landscape. He has on numerous occasions tried to form partnerships, sought mergers, etc in the name of increased scale. Even Fiat with the addition of Chrysler is not a huge player on a global scale the likes of GM, Toyota, VW, Ford and others. As a mainstream auto maker (primarily) they cannot survive competing against the global giants without gaining volume and or footholds in additional markets. Niche players may be able to turn a profit indefinitely on small volumes, but I dont think the same would hold true for mass market manufacturers. Eventually economies of scale will push smaller players out of the market. The Chinese are coming, who knows who else will eventually appear on the global stage to challenge to western automakers. Sergio knows he needs every advantage if his company is to survive and thrive. Italy, in its present state, is far from an advantagous place to manufacture. I am sort of hoping the agreement with Mazda to supply a roadster blossoms into expanced relationship. Both companies would benefit from the scale, parts bin, markets, platforms, etc. I dont think Mazda is long for this world either without help from a larger automaker.

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    • Th009 Th009 on May 27, 2013

      @Marcelo de Vasconcellos BMW and Mercedes are really a different story. Their margins are far higher than those of volume manufacturers, so that magical 6M threshold really doesn't apply to them -- or to JLR, for example.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 24, 2013

    What is the point to move headquarters to US - to pay higher corporate taxes, healthcare and get constantly harassed by Obama's tzars, IRS and Congress? How about Russia - same treatment from Government but much lower corporate tax or even better - to Ireland.

  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on May 25, 2013

    he's not called internally, 'il americano' for nothing.

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    • GTAm GTAm on May 27, 2013

      @Lorenzo The Dart auto is coming. Look at when the Dart was launched and the delay in getting the 9 speed ZF auto plant going. The Jeep Commander a RR competitor?? Seriously? Don't make me laugh. It was a piece of junk. Jeep is not a "pure off-road vehicle" anymore and people will get used to it. Jeep is a global brand now, which means it has to have a broader appeal than being just a mud-plugger. "Fiat’s engineering expertise in A and B segment cars with small high-revving engines" ??? You seem to be stuck in the wrong decade. Can you name me one such engine? The current Multi-Air Gasoline engines produce torque figures bordering on turbo diesels. FPT engines are class leading at almost every level. Just compare the numbers. And can't a finance guy also be a car guy? I wonder why he drives his Ferrari 599 SA Aperta from Italy to Switzerland to see his family instead of taking a flight..... Would he have had a custom made Challenger if he wasn't a car guy?

  • GTAm GTAm on May 27, 2013

    If Fiat wants to be competitive and grow Italy needs to change or Fiat needs to get out of there. It's not just tax, it's militant unions and generally unacceptable labor laws. Ask yourself why no foreign car manufacturer is not present in Italy? There are foreign manufacturers in many other EU countries - Germany, France, UK, Belgium, Spain etc yet no one comes to Italy. Why?