FIAT: The Newest Domestic Automaker?

American FIAT 500

Let’s make FIAT American!

Remember the controversy that surrounded an Italian brand buying an American car company? When Chrysler went into bankruptcy and was gobbled up by FIAT, the question arose of whether the storied American brand would remain, well, American.

The Italian carmaker’s stake in Chrysler has grown steadily since 2009, and now FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to buy the rest and take full ownership. That means the once-American Chrysler would be fully under the control of a foreign entity that also owns Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari.

But what if the tables turned, and instead of Chrysler going foreign, FIAT comes stateside?

Rumors abound that Marchionne will consider moving his FIAT headquarters out of Turin, Italy, to the U.S. Last week, Bloomberg News quoted three unidentified officials speaking of the possibility, which prompted outcry in Italy.

This week, Marchionne himself addressed the rumors, saying,

I don’t have any news. I understand your concerns. We haven’t even discussed it in the sense of the issue being on the agenda, mine, the board’s or the shareholders. Until we get there, you can speculate on a lot of things—it’s possible, that I can tell you.

In the words of the great Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…”

As long as the CEO doesn’t outright deny the rumor, the possibility exists that FIAT could very well become a U.S. citizen. Which might be a good idea, considering the Italian auto industry has sunk to its lowest point since 1966.

To quote another article,

The plummeting deliveries are upending Italy’s auto industry and will hit Turin-based FIAT SpA (F) especially hard. Hundreds of dealerships are closing and factories are running at half capacity.

So why not leave Italy and come to a market that’s growing while being able to consolidate Chrysler and FIAT business operations? If FIAT really wants to control all of Chrysler, it makes sense to take the leap across the Atlantic and live here, too.

Should FIAT relocate its headquarters from Italy to the United States?

-tgriffith

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  1. Randy
    June 3rd, 2013 at 06:05 | #1

    Fiat’s nosedive in Europe is because they are not making the cars customers want to buy and the ones that do buy are not happy with the quality. (In some ways a parallel to Chrysler, whose sales gains are due mainly to lowball prices and heavy incentives.)

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