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Fiat: The New Overlord

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Fiat's Sergio Marchionne

Fiat's Sergio Marchionne

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The rest of the auto industry may be flatlining, but Fiat is going horizontal in a very different way: horizontal integration.

Yesterday the Italian automaker confirmed that in addition to the merger it's arranging with Chrysler, Fiat is also hoping to acquire GM Europe, including the Saab and Opel brands. There's no deal to discuss just yet, but there's talk of creating a new company, which would absorb Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, plus the Chrysler and GM brands. Such a company could sell up to seven million vehicles each year, with annual revenues in the €80 billion range (over $106 billion). Speaking of the potential merger, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said, "From an engineering and industrial point of view, this is a marriage made in heaven". If everything goes his way, he's hoping that a deal can be brokered by the end of this month.

Of course, there are a fair number of hurdles between Marchionne and his angelic partnership--notably, anti-trust legislation and significant opposition from German unions and automakers like Volkswagen. But so far, Sergio has been pretty good at getting what he wants. We're not going to bet against him just yet.

[source: FinancialTimes]

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Comment (1)
  1. "Fiat is Coming to US"

    So it seems that Fiat is on a buying spree! I guess now is the time to get really good deals when you have cash and other companies are loosing their shirts in this market. Heck, Fiat is proving that you don't even need cash to get a good deal. In my honest opinion, I think Fiat ONLY wants access to US markets in the Chrysler deal and wants to expand its influence more in Europe. Wouldn't be ironic if Fiat takes the same $2B it got from GM to buy Opel from GM?? lol Fiat can keep Opel going but I don't think Fiat can help Chrysler in the US. They don't have any cars right now that they could re-badge as a Dodge or Chrysler and import it to the US to give the dying Chrysler dealers something to sell. Nor do I think Fiat cars will sell in the US beyond some busy larger cities on the coasts!!! I think Fiat will just replace Chrysler's line up with its own models eventually and that will be the end of the American brand! No more Challengers with big sweet sounding V8's. We will get some "GT" with four bangers!!! How about the FIAT PANDA coming to the US as a JEEP???? That would be a very sad thing!
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