Italy

Junkyard Find: 1970 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Since 2007, when I started writing about interesting vehicles in car graveyards, I’ve seen at least a couple of discarded Fiat 124 Sport Spiders per year. In fact, I was finding these cars in junkyards when you could still buy them new, back when I was hitting the yards of Hayward in search of parts for my ’69 Toyota Corona. These days, most Sport Spiders you’ll find at your local Ewe Pullet will be 1976-1980 models (I still haven’t managed to find any junked examples of the Pininfarina-badged mid-1980s Spiders that Malcolm Bricklin sold as Azzurras), so today’s ’70 is quite a rare Junkyard Find.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Fiat Brava Sedan

While an ever-increasing number Americans in the second half of the 1970s felt comfortable buying sporty German and Japanese sedans, the idea of relying on an Italian sedan for everyday transportation made sense to a much more exclusive group. For those Americans who craved a commute packed with Italian passion and artistry but needed something with rear-wheel-drive (ruling out the 128 and the Lancia Beta sedan) and cheaper than the Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan, Fiat offered the 131 on these shores for the 1976 through 1981 model years (changing its name to the Brava starting in 1978). As you’d expect, these cars are about as tough to find in junkyards today as Mitsubishi Tredias or Rover 3500s, but I ran across this ’78 in a Denver yard last week.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati

With The General offering a costlier-than- an-S-Class Cadillac built in Turin and Hamtramck (the two assembly lines connected via custom-built 747 freighters) as well as Italianate Buicks and Oldsmobiles in the late 1980s, Lee Iacocca decided to leverage Chrysler’s investment in Maserati to create a K-Car-based Italian sports car: the TC by Maserati. Like the Allanté, Troféo, and Reatta, the TC hasn’t held its value so well over the decades, and I find the occasional example during my junkyard travels. Here’s a crashed ’91 in a yard near Denver, Colorado.

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Stellantis Merger Now Playing at a Dealer Near You

Stellantis, the merger between Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, became effective on Saturday, January 16th. The world’s fourth-largest carmaker has emerged, a surprise to no one.

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Fiat's 124 Spider Reaches the End of the Road in 2020

Fiat’s 124 Spider is about to receive its curtain call, and unlike the scene in Don Giovanni where Don meets a horrendous fate and is dragged off to hell, the Fiat 124 Spider is going out without emotion and little fanfare.

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Rare Rides: The Stunning 2009 Maserati Quattroporte Wagon Has Passion, Flair, and NSFW Wheels

Our last Rare Ride was a true bespoke vehicle — a one-of-one Rolls-Royce coupe which drew mixed opinions from our readers. But we’ll have none of that today, as I expect only passionate and flair-y discussion once you’ve reviewed this beautiful Maserati Touring Bellagio Fastback.

Prepare yourselves.

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Cash-strapped Volkswagen Thinking of Dropping Ducati: Report

After history’s largest and most expensive automotive scandal forced a sudden pivot at Volkswagen Group — from expansion-minded to profit-focused — the German automaker might let go of a cherished toy.

According to insider sources who spoke to Reuters, VW is exploring the sale of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati as part of a company-wide streamlining effort. After shoveling over $20 billion to the United States in a bid to end its diesel debacle, the company is in full penny-pinching mode.

The revered boutique motorcycle company was a long-awaited feather in ex-VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch’s hat, but after just five years of ownership, it may be time for Ducati to find a new home.

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Sergio Takes the Helm at Ferrari; Confirms Record Profits and a LaFerrari Spider

Sergio Marchionne added another CEO title to his résumé yesterday, taking control of Ferrari, where the Fiat-Chrysler head already served as chairman.

He replaces former CEO Amedeo Felisa, who retired after 26 years with the company. Felisa remains on the independent automaker’s board of directors, where he will serve as a technical advisor.

Marchionne now has full control of the company he spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the beginning of the year. Two years ago, he succeeded former chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who stepped down in protest of Marchionne’s plans for the brand’s future.

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Italy Considers Car Ban To Deal With Smog, No Pizza Either

Milan has banned cars in the city limits for six hours each day for the next three days, and Rome has limited car access via odd/even restrictions, all to reduce smog in those cities. This might sound familiar, as Paris did the same thing for a day this past summer as an experiment, and Beijing and Delhi have been banning cars this month too.

Cars aren’t the only scapegoat, however. According to the BBC, a town has banned wood-fired pizza ovens that aren’t equipped with a particulate filter.

(I’m waiting for the bombshell: Papa John’s gets hit by massive fine after emissions defeat device is discovered on a pizza oven.)

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Report: Alfa Romeo Pushes Back Giulia, SUV At Least 6 Months

Alfa Romeo will delay two models critical to that brand’s comeback and will likely miss its ambitious sales target of 400,000 cars by 2018, according to Automotive News.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said a weakened market in China forced the brand to reassess its sales target, which he initially set in 2014.

“I still think that Alfa belongs in China,” Marchionne said last week during the company’s announced third quarter earnings call, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.”

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Ferrari Stock Races in First Day of Trading

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne rang the opening bell Wednesday for Ferrari’s first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange and shares of the supercar maker soared.

The stock, which was up as high as $60 per share, leveled off around $57 in mid-day trading.

“This is not really a car, it’s a unique expression of art and technology,” Marchionne told Bloomberg.

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TTAC on The Trading Floor: Ferrari Good, Tesla Bad*

According to The Truth About Cars’ stock exchange bureau chief, Ferrari is good and Tesla is bad today.*

Tesla shares have dropped 10 percent on news today that Consumer Reports would pull its “Recommended” rating from the Model S because of concerns about the car’s reliability. That’s bad.

Also, initial shares of supercar-maker Ferrari may be going for more than expected due to the stock’s appeal on office walls and potential value people may find in owning another Ferrari-branded item beyond overpriced shirts.

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Your First Ferrari (Share) Priced As Low As $48

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Monday finally priced its initial price offering for Ferrari at $48 and $52 per share for 10 percent of the luxury carmaker when its stock goes sale, the Detroit News reported. The pricing values Ferrari at roughly $9.8 billion — less than the $12 billion reported last week — and analysts say the interest in the stock, which will trade under the symbol RACE, is roughly 10 times higher than available shares.

The IPO is part of FCA’s long-term strategy to raise cash for investment in its own vehicles in Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler and Maserati brands. According to paperwork filed ahead of the IPO, 10 percent of the company will remain with Ferrari scion Piero, 80 percent will be distributed among Fiat family ownership.

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Ferrari Reaching For $12.4B Valuation for IPO

The supercar maker may be valued at more than $12.4 billion ahead of its initial public offering, which could happen as early as Friday, Bloomberg (via Automotive News) reported.

Ferrari may price its shares Friday night when it offers 10 percent of the Maranello-based automaker to the public. The remaining ownership of the carmaker will remain largely with the same ownership group, comprised mostly of the Agnelli family and Piero Lardi Ferrari.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said in July that Ferrari would be worth roughly $11 billion, which analysts balked at being a little ambitious. Since then, Ferrari’s value may have climbed as Marchionne told investors that Ferrari wasn’t necessarily an automaker, but rather a luxury brand that could be more profitable than a traditional carmaker.

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German Authorities Say Volkswagen Was Alone in Cheating

German transportation authorities said Friday that Volkswagen can’t phone a friend for help, they’re on their own.

“At this point we have no indication of other manufacturers being involved,” a government spokesman, said according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe).

Being the only automaker embroiled in the scandal — for now — means that Volkswagen will have to face alone the wrath from governments tripping over themselves to charge the automaker with just about anything they want. In the U.S., Volkswagen faces a pending congressional inquiry; in France, prosecutors have opened an investigation for “aggravated deception;” in Italy, the government’s antitrust authority has begun an investigation; in Switzerland — you get the idea.

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Maserati May Have Falsified Monthly Sales Before FCA Went Public

According to a report by Automotive News, Maserati North America may have falsified nearly half their sales in December 2014 and an undisclosed amount for other months through a demonstration car scheme that rewarded dealers for being complicit in the scheme.

A lawsuit filed by Recovery Racing, owner of multiple Maserati stores in the northeastern U.S., claims a program aimed at falsely boosting sales numbers financially disadvantaged its business because of its reluctance to participate.

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Set for November Reveal in Los Angeles

Those really keen on the Mazda MX-5, but undeterred by reliability and resale issues are in luck. The reborn Fiat 124 Spider, built upon the fourth-generation MX-5, will be revealed in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show as expected, reports The Detroit Bureau.

Citing a source within the company, the reborn 124 Spider nameplate will be the home of two flavors — normal and Abarth — with the latter receiving the same 1.75-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine as the Alfa Romeo 4C.

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Fiat COO: 124 Spider Abarth Will Perform, "Otherwise It Is Useless"

Remember earlier this month when Mazda MX-5 Miata program chief, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, said if you wanted to complain about the roadster’s lack of power, you could shove it down the aftermarket hole of your choice? Those were good times, two weeks ago.

It seems Fiat COO Alfredo Altavilla is of a completely different mindset when it comes to their own MX-5-derived 124 Spider, specifically any version of the car wearing a scorpion badge.

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EU Gains Not Enough to Stave Opel Production Reductions

Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants.

According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian market and what the automaker calls “moderate” gains in the rest of Europe.

However, within the EU, overall sales for all automakers are up 8.2 percent in the first six month of this year and 14.6 percent in June, according to ACEA.

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Mahindra-Pininfarina Deal Rejected By Creditors

Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors.

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SPIED: Fiat 124 Spider Sports Long Hood for Small Motor

This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work.

Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose.

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OFFICIAL: 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Revealed, Detailed

Today, at the Alfa Romeo Museum near Milan, was the first day for a completely new design language from the fabled Italian automaker. The Alfa Romeo Giulia will also mark the return of the brand to North America for those of us needing a bit more practically than what’s offered by the 4C.

Best of all, the Quadrifoglio will be available right out of the gate with 510 horsepower from its Maserati-derived six-cylinder engine.

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Lamborghini Officially Enters High-End SUV Game

It’s official: Lamborghini is entering the high-end luxury SUV game with a model set to hit showrooms by 2018.

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Italy Falling Out Of Love With Mopeds, Scooters Due To Changing Trends

Like France falling out of love with diesels, Italy is falling out of love with mopeds and scooters due to changing trends.

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The End of Italy

As FCA holds their first annual general shareholders meeting in Amsterdam (after 114 such meetings in Turin), Pirelli has been sold to the Chinese. Pininfarina negotiates its sale to Mahindra. The Italian automotive industry as a whole is in a sad state. The reasons for this are many, but the process of “de-Italianization” of the country’s auto industry continues. In the end, all there could be left is a memory and many homeless ghosts.

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De Tomaso Under Chinese Ownership

After being purchased over a month ago, De Tomaso once again finds itself with a new owner.

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De Niro To Play Enzo Ferrari In Upcoming Biopic

Nearly three decades ago, Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari passed from this mortal coil. Now, actor Robert De Niro will play him in an upcoming biopic.

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Mahindra & Mahindra In Negotiations To Buy Pininfarina

Pininfarina designs many things: Ferraris, scissors, Coke machines. Now, Mahindra & Mahindra wants the Italian house’s talents.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

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Alfa Romeo To Build Spider On Own Platform, Mazda MX-5 To Fiat-Abarth

Alfa Romeo will be going its own way for its upcoming Spider, directing Mazda to take its 2016 MX-5 over to Fiat-Abarth instead.

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Ferrari May Follow FCA Out Of Italy For Fiscal Reasons

Just as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles left Italy to escape the tax man, Ferrari is considering the same as it moves closer to leaving the nest by next October.

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Mercedes-AMG Buys Stake, Enters Partnership With MV Agusta

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG high-performance luxury brand has decided that two wheels aren’t so bad after all, putting down an undisclosed sum for 25 percent of Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta S.p.A.

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Marchionne: Alfa Romeo Still Not For Sale

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is open to forming new alliance with other automakers as far as cost-savings are concerned, but he maintains that Alfa Romeo is not for sale.

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Fiat Sets Date Of Shareholder Meeting For August 1

Own any shares in Fiat S.p.A.? The automaker just announced it will hold its next general assembly of all shareholders August 1, where the topic of discussion will be the approval of the merger of Fiat with Chrysler Group to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

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Maserati Sells As Many Units Through June 2014 As It Had For All Of 2013

Maserati may have had a slow 2013 as far as sales go, but the Italian brand is on pace to sell within the first half of 2014 as many cars as it had in the last year.

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Alfa 4C Arrives In 86 North American Showrooms, Brings 342 Pounds Of Luggage
Marchionne's FCA Looks To Sell 6 Million Units

Should Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles be able to deliver on his expectations, the merged automaker will be able to move 6 million units annually, enabling FCA to become a player on the global stage.

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Manley: Renegade Will Appeal To U.S. Customers Despite Italian Roots
FCA Beginning Maserati SUV Production In 2015

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced this week production of the Maserati Levante SUV will begin at the automaker’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy beginning in 2015.

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Smaller Jeep To Slot Beneath Renegade

Though the Jeep Renegade already bowed at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, the off-road brand has plans for not only a fullsize SUV similar to the discontinued Commander, but an A segment SUV slotted beneath the Renegade, as well.

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Only Select Fiat Dealers Will Get Alfa Romeo Franchises

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to bring Alfa Romeo back into the United States market after a two-decade absence with the 4C, but only the best-performing Fiat dealerships will be selected to sell the first new Alfas when the lighweight $60,000 sports car rolls off the dock in June.

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Moody's Cuts Fiat's Rating Down Due To Earnings Worries, Outlook
Marchionne's Choice of Fiat-Chrysler HQ Weighs Political Realities Against Lower Taxes

Now that Sergio Marchionne has succeeded in joining Fiat and Chrysler together, for his next act he’s planning on moving Fiat’s headquarters out of Italy. While such a move has tax advantages, it would present a political and public relations challenge for Fiat and Marchionne in their home country. According to Reuters, the new entity, dubbed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will be a Dutch-based company with a UK tax domicile, while shares are listed on the NYSE with a secondary listing in Milan.

Marchionne is aware that locating the headquarters outside of Italy, where Fiat has operated for 115 years and has received government funding, or outside the United States, where Chrysler was bailed out by the federal government, could make waves and there is the possibility that the Italian government might intervene. “I’ve seen weirder things happen,” Marchionne said to journalists at the recent Detroit auto show. “So I sincerely hope they don’t create obstacles.”

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Fiat Punto to Be Axed, $13.2 Billion Spent On 20 New Models Over Next 3 Years

Fiat Punto, not long for this world.

Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda. A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.

Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory.

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Ram to ProMaster the City in Late 2014
Fiat Passes on Milano Auto Show

If you were hoping to celebrate an early Christmas in Milan with Signore Marchionne next year, you’re out of luck: Fiat has declined an invitation to show at the 2014 Milano Auto Show in light of the weakened local market.

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Under Pressure From UAW VEBA, Chrysler Files For IPO, Fiat Not Thrilled

After Fiat and Chrysler’s retired UAW workers’ health care benefits trust were unable to agree on a price for the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association‘s 41.5% share in the Auburn Hills automaker, at the trust’s request C hrysler has filed initial paperwork for a public stock offering to sell part of the VEBA’s stake, about 16% of overall Chrysler shares, the first time in over a decade that the public will be able to own shares in Chrysler, which formerly was wholly owned by Cerberus and before that Daimler. Fiat certainly would rather the IPO not take place now as it complicates Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s plans for the Italian automaker to acquire full ownership of Chrysler. The benefits trust has the legal right to force Chrysler to make the stock offering so the VEBA can cash out on the shares it received in exchange for giving up financial claims against Chrysler during the company’s bankruptcy and bailout by governments in the United States and Canada.

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Fiat Turns Higher Profit as Spending Cuts Narrow European Losses

The Fiat Group reported its profits for the second quarter of 2013 and they were better than expected, attributed to strong pickup truck sales at Chrysler’s Ram brand and spending cuts in Europe.

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Marchionne: Fiat-Chrysler Could Be Dutch, Not Italian or American

Once the merger he plans for Fiat and Chrysler goes through, Sergio Marchionne says that Fiat-Chrysler could be registered as a corporation in the Netherlands, not Italy or the United States. Marchionne wants to have the combined company’s primary stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange and rules for corporate governance in the Netherlands are similar to those in the States.

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CAR Magazine: Alfa Romeo to Go RWD Only

The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.

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European Car Registrations Fall To Lowest Level In 20 Years

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, o nly 1.18 million new vehicles were registered in the EU and EFTA, the lowest they’ve been in two decades.

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Fiat Owns 68.49% Of Chrysler, Will Soon Own More

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.

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Overgrown Fiat 500 Launched

Fiat launched a seven-seat version of its Fiat 500, a car that used to be known for its cramped space in the original model. Called the 500L Living (as in Living Room …), the seven seater “is about a meter longer than the classic 500,” writes Reuters.

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Fiat To Merge With Chrysler When VEBA Case Solved

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.

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

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.”

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Fiat May Soon Be Able To Drain Chrysler's Cash Raise The Cash For Chrysler

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 …

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Marchionne's Risky Gambit: Bet Everything On Alfa

“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.”

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Audiacious Targets: Alfa Wants To Outsell Fiat In America

Alfa Romeo will outsell Fiat in the United States once the sporty brand gets a foothold in its new market, according to Peter Grady, head of network development for the Chrysler Group, in an interview Reuters.

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Only In Japan: Pinkquecenti

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.

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Get Ready For Italian Jeeps

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.

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  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.
  • Jeff S We all have issues some big and most not so big. Better to be alive and face the issues than to be dead and not have the opportunity to face them.
  • NJRide Now more than ever, the US needs a brand selling cheaper cars. I know the old adage that a "good used car" is the best affordable transportation, but there has to be someone willing to challenge the $45k average gas crossover or $60k electric one that has priced out many working and middle class people from the market. So I think Mitsu actually may be onto something. Call me crazy but I think if they came up with a decent sedan in the Civic space but maybe for $19-20k as opposed to $25 they might get some traction there's still some people who prefer a sedan.However, I just compared a Trailblazer on Edmunds to an Outlander Sport. Virtually same size, the Trailblazer has heated seats, keyless ignition and satellite radio and better fuel economy for almost same price as the Mitsu. Plus a fresher body and a normal dealer network. This has always been the challenge off brands have had. Mitsu probably would have to come in $2-3k less than the Chevy unless they can finance more readily to the subprime crowd.
  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.