Might Fiat pull up its stakes and abandon its home base? That’s a very serious possibility, some European analysts are speculating, as the maker’s CEO Sergio Marchionne prepares for a meeting to discuss “strategic prospects” with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.
The Canadian-educated Marchionne – who has shown increasing frustration with both the broad European financial crisis and, in particular, the cost of doing business in Italy – has been hinting at such a radical move for several years. Analysts say he is in a particularly good position to hold out that threat because of Fiat’s increasingly strong ties to Detroit-based Chrysler Group, where Marchionne also serves as CEO.
In an interview with one of Rome’s leading papers, the executive downplayed such a radical move but observers continue to wonder what other “strategic prospects” could come up at the planned meeting with Prime Minister Monti on Saturday.