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Fiat named in Volkswagen-Suzuki spat

by Bill Cawthon on

It’s almost a soap opera for the auto industry: Fiat S.p.A. has now become a point of contention in the ongoing spat between Volkswagen AG and Suzuki Motor Corp. According to Automotive News, VW is claiming the Japanese automaker violated their agreement by buying Fiat diesel engines for Suzuki vehicles built in Turkey.

Like the lovers in a bad melodrama, Volkswagen calls the current situation a “timeout” while Osamu Suzuki, chairman of the company that bears his name, says the two automakers aren’t speaking.

Volkswagen has invested $2.9 billion in Suzuki, hoping to tap into the company’s market-leading success in India, one of the world’s major growth economies.

Writing in a July Nikkei newspaper column Suzuki said it examined Volkswagen technology and did not find anything it wanted. A month later, the Economic Times reported that R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India, Suzuki’s India manufacturing subsidiary, said the company decided to buy the engines from Fiat instead of investing in its own engine capacity.

One can hear the announcer asking, “Will the star-crossed automakers reunite? Will the wayward Suzuki return to the German giant and abandon its dalliance with the Italian powerplant? Tune in the for next exciting episode!”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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