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Fiat’s Alfa Romeo Brand May Shift Production out of Italy

by on Jul.10, 2013

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

He’s already suggesting Fiat might move its corporate headquarters out of Turin, and now Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has fired another shot, telling reporters the Alfa Romeo brand is considering whether to move its manufacturing operations out of Italy, as well.

Raised in Canada, Marchionne has shown an unexpected lack of tolerance for the problems in his family homeland in recent years.  He has repeatedly complained about the high cost, as well as the structural obstacles, to doing business in Italy. And he has been demanding change with the alternative being a hollowing out of Fiat operations in its home market.

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The timing of Marchionne comments, during a meeting with reporters in Turin where Fiat is based, comes as no surprise. Alfa and sister brand Maserati are in the midst of dramatic transformations backed by a flood of new product. And both are putting increasing emphasis on markets outside Europe.

“The relaunch of Alfa Romeo will continue for sure,” Marchionne stressed, adding that, “Italy should decide if they want it to happen in this environment or not, as Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives.”


Fiat Loosens More of its Italian Ties

Sends new signals its HQ could move to Michigan.

by on May.29, 2013

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne continues to signal a move to the US is likely.

Fiat took another step towards loosening its ties to Italy as Fiat Industrial’s board of directors met this week and approved a merger of its principal Dutch and Italian subsidiaries.

The move comes as rumors and speculation continue to mount that Fiat S,p.A. will ultimately shift its headquarters from Turin to the Detroit suburbs once the maker finalizes its acquisition of Chrysler. The fear of losing the company has led Italian government leaders to look for ways to keep Fiat from picking up and moving.

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The Fiat Industrial Board of Directors approved the cross-border merger of the wholly-owned subsidiary Fiat Netherlands Holding N.V. with Fiat Industrial S.p.A, the company said in a brief statement. The merged company is expected to reside neither in the Netherlands or Italy but in England where Fiat officials have said the company will be domiciled for tax purposes.


Could Fiat/Chrysler CEO Marchionne Say, “Ciao” to Italy?

Exec to discuss “strategic prospects” with Prime Minister.

by on Sep.20, 2012

Fiat Chief Executive Marchionne will be meeting with Italy's prime minister to discuss his strategic options over the weekend.

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.

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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.


Fiat Could Close Two Plants if U.S. Return Fails

Marchionne confirms Alfa still coming to the States.

by on Feb.27, 2012

Fiat's revival in the U.S. -- as well as its operations in Italy -- could depend on the reception Americans give to the Alfa Romeo 4C.

Despite a slow start, Fiat is still betting it can stage a successful return to the U.S. market – or else, warns CEO Sergio Marchionne.  The alternative would force the closure of two of the maker’s Italian assembly plants.

The good news for Fiat is that most of its plants outside Europe – and those operated by its American partner Chrysler – are operating at full speed struggling to keep up with demand as the global economy recovers. The problem is Europe, where a weak economy has depressed the automotive market and the only way to justify keeping Fiat’s five remaining plants in Italy open is to build up exports.

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But demand in the U.S. for the maker’s little Fiat 500 sedan barely reached half the initial 50,000-unit target last year and, during a media roundtable last month, Marchionne said he doesn’t expect to see it push much higher than 30,000 in North American this year.  But some analysts think even that will be a stretch and warn Fiat’s attempt to rebuild its U.S. distribution network will fail.


Fiat Signs “Historic” Deal With Workers

Italian plans to see hefty new investments.

by on Dec.14, 2011

Fiat launched production of the new Panda today.

Fiat has reached what it’s describing as a “historic” agreement with its union workers, a deal that could convince the maker to maintain a significant share of its production base in Italy.

The possibility of shifting production has been hanging like a Sword of Damocles over the bargaining table, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne taking frequent shots at the union – and at the work climate in Italy, in general – as becoming increasingly non-competitive.

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But Marchionne – who also serves as chief executive of Fiat’s U.S. partner Chrysler – described the settlement as a “historic development for our company and its workers.”

“Today’s result shows the major steps that can be taken when we work together and all work in the same direction and when there is a real shared intent,” the CEO said in a statement announcing the settlement.


Marchionne: Fiat Would Do Better Without Italy

“Not a single Euro” of profit from Italian plants, sighs CEO.

by on Oct.27, 2010

Fiat might be better off without Italy, suggested CEO Sergio Marchionne.

It may be based there, but Fiat would be better off without Italy, suggests the automaker’s outspoken CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Often critical of the country’s less-than-efficient bureaucracy and its demanding unions, Marchionne warned, on one of Italy’s leading TV shows, that Fiat “cannot continue…forever” to operate in a country where a lack of productivity is considered an acceptable norm.

“Not a single Euro of Fiat’s planned 2-billion Euro profit margin comes from Italy,” Marchionne said during an appearance on the show “Che tempo che fa.”

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Marchionne made his appearance on the show shortly after announcing the company pulled a 236 million Euro profit for the third quarter and outlining the even bigger target for all of 2010, exceeding analysts’ earlier forecast.