Italian publication La Repubblica has posted an interview with Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, in Italian (English translation linked).
Once Fiat gains control of Chrysler, Mr. Marchionne said they would create a new company with a new name. Fiat is currently listed on the Milan stock exchange, but Mr. Marchionne said, “we’ll go where there is easier access to capital. There is no doubt that the market is more fluid in the U.S., in New York, but the decision belongs to the Board of Directors. I am also ready to go to Hong Kong to fund the effort to Chrysler.” The headquarters will move to the chosen stock exchange, he said, “but let me say that it is a matter that is purely symbolic, emotional. The headquarters of [Fiat] Industrial/CNH moved to Holland, but the production that was here has remained here.”
As for Lancia, which is now the channel for Chrysler sales throughout Europe, “Lancia [will] become a trademark for the Italian market only.” This might indicate that the Chrysler’s 300 and Voyager will be shifted over to Alfa Romeo, or dropped in Europe, or sold as Chryslers, or remain Lancias for the time being.
Mr. Marchionne also confirmed that he had, from the start, worked to create a single company from Fiat and Chrysler, seeing a technology exchange as not being enough. He said Chrysler had recovered faster than expected because the people wanted and did not resist change; “If you bring a new idea, in Italy has just ten objections. America at the same time has a thousand solutions to possible problems.”
When asked if he felt he / Fiat was the owner of Chrysler, Mr. Marchionne replied: “Something more, and better. We have created a new thing.”
Mr. Marchionne also indicated that the plan to bring Alfa Romeo back to the United States and invigorate the brand worldwide was still on course. “Camouflaged around Italy, our teams are preparing the new Alfa Romeo models which we will announce in April and will change the image of the brand, bringing absolute excellence. I needed two things: the ability to pay, and today finally Chrysler as useful as cash and covers my shoulders, and access to the world market. Nowadays if I present you with the Alfa in the U.S. I have a network of 2,300 dealers capable of bring those cars anywhere in America, respecting the Italian DNA. … But as the Jeep is sold all over the world but it is American to the core, so the Alfa DNA must be all authentically Italian, always, it will never become an American. Enough also with Fiat engines in Alfa Romeo. Just as it would be a mistake to produce the Maserati SUV in Detroit.”
Fiat will move to the top of the mass market with the Panda and 500 families, Mr. Marchionne said, leaving the low/mid-range segment.
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