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Chrysler and Fiat - Italian-American Flavor?



  • Hello all. I started this thread and I'm amazed how long it has lasted. Indeed, I wonder if the "new" Chrysler will last longer than how long this thread has been in existence. It is my hope they do.

    In reflection, I believe if they had heeded my words, Chrysler would be in a better position product development wise, but even I didn't expect the downturn to be as severe financially.

    I went on the Fiat website to refresh my thoughts and impressions of the current Fiat and Alfa Romeo line-up. And it is my fervent hope that Fiat will go through with resurrecting the Abarth name as a stand-alone brand for premium sports and GT configured Fiat cars like the Grande Punto, the 500 and Bravo. Of course, I expect to see the Abarth marketed and sold alongside their Chrysler branded, but lesser, siblings.

    Anyone wanna make a bet? ;)
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I think the Abarth legacy is probably no longer bankable in the US, as the heyday of the cars was 50 years ago. Of those who might buy, how many remember? Even the Alfa name is alien to a whole generation of American sports car enthusiasts.

    Let me offer an alternative. I've suggested some variation on this scheme before, but here goes:

    resurrect the Neon name as a separate brand, and fill it with "cheap and cheerful" Fiat-sourced vehicles like the 500, Qubo, Multipla, and Panda. The ad campaign could even start with "Hi again."
    make Dodge a truck/van brand only
    introduce Alfa Romeos as direct competitors for the sporty end of the VW line--if you try to pitch them directly against BMW they will not sell well
    keep the Fiat brand name off of US-market cars
    make Chrysler a brand for medium-to-large sedans only, and be prepared to sunset it
    if and only if all this works, bring the Abarth name in as a higher-performance variant of the Alfa line
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    It will be really sweet if we get some U.S.-bound Abarths out of this, but will Fiat be able to shoulder the burden it is taking on here?

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  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    A good question, particularly now that Fiat's bid for Opel appears to have failed. They could still try for Saab, but that would arguably give them exactly the wrong thing--too much exposure in the shrinking upper-middle market. Unlike many here, I think Fiat's small, quirky cars will do well in the US--think of them as alternatives to Scion, or to Kia's more interesting models (Soul, Rondo).

    The wrong strategy would be to go directly into the mainstream--Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai are too well entrenched there, and frankly I doubt Fiat can match their quality. Now might be the exact right time to sell "cheap and cheerful."
  • An interesting proposition, Stephen, but I was only thinking the Abarth name would be new to the American market, the same way Scion, Lexus, Acura, Infiniti were introduced. It would also fit with Fiat's global strategy to use the Abarth name to sell premium small cars against the MINI, the BMW One series, VW GTI, etc.

    Abarth has been traditionally associated with Fiat cars and not Alfa Romeo, and I don't think Fiat would be too keen confuse the rest of the global market on that point. It is the age of the Internet, you know. ;)
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Good point, although there were also other brands used as a base for Abarth specials (Simca comes to mind). Perhaps Abarth could build only two-seaters and maybe a 500 variant.

    My thinking was that "Neon" would work as an entry-level brand, and that Alfa would be the premium/performance brand. Creating a new brand might be more difficult than reviving an old one. Hard to say, though. The US market is really unpredictable right now.

    Either way, I think we may be in for some interesting options by 2011. . .
  • Oh, come on. Let's introduce Lancia into the mix and then we'll REALLY see what happens! :)

    Indeed, it's a toss-up, although with the all the musical chairs, I think it would be a good time to introduce a "new" old brand.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I miss the Lancias from the pre-Fiat days. Elegantly styled, mechanically innovative, and well built.

    Unfortunately Lancia's been on life support for decades, ever since the days of the ill-conceived Prisma and Dedra.
  • That's why I, jokingly, mentioned the Lancia brand. Oh, what I'd do to own a Stratos.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I can understand that, but I'd settle for a nicely kept Fulvia, or maybe one of the big Flaminia coupes.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    "An appeals court Friday upheld Chrysler LLC's plan to exit bankruptcy.

    The new company will be owned jointly by the U.S. government, an autoworker's union retiree fund and the Italian Automaker Fiat.

    The deal will go through on Monday afternoon unless the Supreme Court intervenes, Chrysler attorney Corinne Ball told CNN."

    Chrysler-Fiat nears reality (CNN)

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Ginzburg and the Supremes say NOT YET to Obama plan for Chrysler and Fiat.

    The US Supreme Court on Monday put a temporary hold on the Chrysler plan to exit bankruptcy protection under an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg signed an order postponing the closing of the plan backed by the US and Canadian governments to allow Chrysler to emerge from bankruptcy as a new entity.

    The order calls for a stay "pending further order by the undersigned or by the court."

    The move will allow the justices to consider whether to allow a full hearing of the legal issues -- a delay which Chrysler and US officials say could cause the plan to collapse.

    A group of Indiana pension funds opposed to Chrysler's sale to Fiat filed the emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to halt the sale.

    Thankfully the Court still believes in the Constitution with laws opposing the Obama juggernaut.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    More of the story:

    Chrysler claims the agreement with Fiat is the best deal it can get for its assets and is critical to the company's plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    But a trio of Indiana state pension and construction funds, which hold a small part of Chrysler's debt, have been fighting the sale, claiming that it unfairly favors Chrysler's unsecured stakeholders ahead of secured debtholders like themselves.

    As part of Chrysler's restructuring plan, the automaker's secured debtholders will receive $2 billion, or about 29 cents on the dollar, for their combined $6.9 billion in debt. The Indiana funds bought their $42.5 million in debt in July 2008 for 43 cents on the dollar.

    The funds also are challenging the constitutionality of the Treasury Department's use of money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to supply Chrysler's bankruptcy protection financing. They say the government did so without congressional authority.

    Consumer groups and individuals with product-related lawsuits also are contesting a condition of the Chrysler sale that would release the company from product liability claims related to vehicles it sold before the "New Chrysler" partnered with Fiat is created.

    Individuals with claims against "Old Chrysler" would have to seek compensation from the parts of the company not being sold to Fiat. But those assets have limited value and it's doubtful that there will be anything available to pay consumer claims.

    The appeals come as Congress intensifies its scrutiny of the Obama administration's government-led restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors Corp. The Senate Banking Committee said it planned to call Ron Bloom, a senior adviser to the auto task force, and Edward Montgomery, who serves as the Obama administration's director of recovery for auto communities and workers, to a hearing Wednesday.

    Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., the committee's chairman, planned to review the use of TARP funds to help the auto companies and look at whether taxpayers will receive a return on their investment.

    GM and Chrysler executives faced questions last week from Congress over the elimination of hundreds of dealerships as part of the companies' reorganizations.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    The order calls for a stay "pending further order by the undersigned or by the court."

    Further review could come as soon as 8 am tomorrow. The Supremes can move pretty fast when they want to, and I suspect in this case they'll just bounce it back to Ginsburg. And my guess is that Ginsburg (or perhaps the entire panel, if they choose to hear it), will find a way uphold the bankruptcy judge - they have to know that liquidation is the only real alternative.

    "The Treasury Department said in a statement that "we understand this to be an administrative extension designed to allow sufficient time for the Court to make a determination on the merits of the request for a stay."

    But Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of auto research firm, said GM and Treasury might not have been as willing to use bankruptcy as a way to reorganize the company if they had known the Supreme Court might slow the process."(CNN)

    "Moments after her order was issued, Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in a telephone interview that the company will “never” walk away from the deal. The company previously set a June 15 deadline for completion." (Bloomberg)

    I think it's a few hours or few days premature to say what the court believes.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    they have to know that liquidation is the only real alternative.

    Yes and even as flaky as Ginsburg is, she knows that the Obama fast track bankruptcy tramples the Constitution something awful. So liquidate and pay those that are due their rightful money. All Obama is doing is pandering to the UAW on both GM and Chrysler. He is also prolonging what is inevitable, Liquidation for both failed companies. Let the auctions begin. The sooner they get done the sooner all concerned can rebuild their lives.

    Who does Obama think he is kidding with selling the tax payers down the river? We are being bought by China. So GM will belong to China under his shady bankruptcy. Obama made it clear during the campaign that the Constitution would be targeted. This is just the beginning. Thankfully we have a separation of power. Bush circumvented the wish of Congress with the original bailout money and Obama figures that makes it fair game for him also. I am glad to see Congress finally doing their job.

    If Fiat wants Chrysler, let them buy it at liquidation auction.

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an order issued late Monday, granted a request for a delay of that approval sought by Indiana state pension funds, which had argued that they and other lenders deserved better treatment by the bankruptcy court.

    I know many here would like to steal the money from the bondholders in both these Bankruptcy cases. It just is not right and it is NOT constitutional. I am sure that Obama knows that and was trying to fast track a deal to protect his UAW constituents.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I think it's a few hours or few days premature to say what the court believes.

    I totally agree. I think when the outcome is made clear it will not be split down ideological lines. This is so basic it should have never been tried by the new hotshot in the WH.

    Amazingly I agreed with the Liberal side of the court on their decision concerning "Judicial Bias" today.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    The new hotshot has a big gun bankruptcy lawyer on the auto task force, so POTUS probably thought they could take on SCOTUS and get a Chapter 11 done.

    Obama's man called shots on bankruptcy (Detroit Free Press - Feldman is the lawyer, not Ratner btw)

    And yeah, electing judges, especially in Texas, is a bad idea. It's bad enough that rich jerks like the guy in WV can buy politicians, much less judges.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    This statement by Obama's person on the ground says it all.

    But in a filing Monday U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, arguing for the administration, said the losses to the Indiana pension funds "cannot outweigh" the potential broader problems a collapse of Chrysler would present.

    Is Obama our next Nixon? Where the "End justifies the Means"? Screw the school teacher retiree in Indiana to save the UAW and their big fat contributions to the Democrats. I hope our Supreme Court does the right thing and sets this bunch straight.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    I wouldn't count on it. Strange things happen in bankruptcy court and the cards are stacked in favor of debtors, or used to be before the laws got changed a while back.

    There are a lot of Indiana citizens wondering what the heck their state treasurer is doing fighting the merger too.

    [Kokomo Mayor] "Goodnight continued, “If the Chrysler-Fiat merger does not take place the services that state and local governments are expected to provide will be severely impacted if not eliminated, due to the economic crisis that will ensue. This will dwarf the losses Mr. Mourdock states a few Indiana bondholders may suffer. I can only hope that Mr. Mourdock has a plan to help the employees, retirees, communities, and supply-chain companies that are all tied to Chrysler and its future.”

    Mayor Goodnight: Mourdock Puts Kokomo in ‘Jeopardy’ (

    Oh yeah, Mourdock is a Republican.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Mayor Goodnight should get a good attorney that can convince the SC to do away with the 5th amendment. The Teacher's Pension trust hired Mourdock to protect their interest from the goons in the Obama auto team. I felt they had a case from the start and still do. If it was my pension I would want him to do his best. Will the Mayor of Kokomo help out the pensioners that lose their money in the faux Chrysler C11? Obama is creating a country of dog eat dog, and this is just the beginning.

    My daughter is living in Indiana and says you have to get to Walmart by 6:30 AM the days their ammunition shipment comes in or it is all gone within a short time. My son in law already had his concealed carry license. My daughter will get hers soon. They don't mess around with criminals in that part of Indiana.
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