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  #151 (permalink)  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:44 AM
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Chrysler under pressure to offset Fiat losses as bikes outsell new cars in Italy


10/04/2012



As the European economic crisis grows deeper, new-car sales have fallen below bicycle sales in Italy for the first time since World War II, intensifying pressure on Chrysler to make enough money in North America to eclipse the continuing European loss Fiat is expected to report later this month.

Unemployment is now 10.7% in Italy -- far below Spain's 25.1%, but nearly twice Germany's 5.5%, according to Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office.

"The middle class ...is basically disappearing," said Gianluca Spina, dean of the business school at Politecnico de Milano in Italy. "It is something really new for this country."

News this week that Italians bought slightly more bicycles than motor vehicles last year (1,750,000 vs 1,748,000) underscored how bad things are.

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne continues to work on forging Fiat and Chrysler into a single global automaker. But Fiat's strong dependence on one country's consumers -- nearly one-third of all cars sold in Italy are either a Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati or Ferrari -- makes it particularly vulnerable. Italy accounts for about 60% of Fiat's European sales.

In Europe, Fiat's year-to-date sales have declined 17.1% through August, more than twice the industry's 7.1% decline, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

"I do not expect really a surge in car sales in Italy in the next six months at least," Spina said. "And, in this landscape, I would say the position of the Fiat/Chrysler Group is worse than other groups."

Fiat's strength is in small to midsize cars for the European market -- precisely the cars that Italy's middle class buys.

"For the middle class, there is really no money in their pockets," Spina said.

To be sure, other countries -- such as Greece and Spain -- are in worse shape and virtually all automakers are losing money in Europe.

Ford expects to lose $1 billion this year and is cutting several hundred salaried jobs through a buyout program. GM is in the middle of restructuring its Adam Opel unit after GM has lost more than $16 billion in Europe over the last 12 years.

Fiat closed a plant in Sicily in 2011 and has been relying on rotating layoffs at its six other Italian plants. Fiat also is exploring a plan to export cars to the U.S. from Italy, but not without concessions for Italian unions.

On Sept. 22, Marchionne met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to reassure the government that Fiat remains committed to preserving its industrial presence in Italy.

In a statement, Fiat said it will resume investment in new product development in Italy "at the appropriate time."

Marchionne also has promised to update investors on Oct. 30 when it reports third-quarter financial results.

In Italy, Fiat's plants are running at less than 60% of their total capacity. No company can survive running at such a low rate very long. To minimize losses, Fiat has tapped into a government fund that pays laid-off workers 80% of full salary. Fiat's eligibility for that program could expire in 2013, said Pierluigi Bellini, automotive analyst for IHS Automotive.

Fortunately for Fiat, Chrysler has been making enough money in the recovering North American market to more than offset Fiat's red ink.

Chrysler's U.S. market share has risen to 11.5% for the first nine months of this year from 10.6% a year earlier, while Ford and General Motors lost market share to Toyota and Honda. In the second quarter, the Auburn Hills automaker earned $436 million.

For the same period, Fiat lost $302 million, excluding the profit it drew from the 58.5% of Chrysler it owns.

"Without the money Chrysler is making, maybe the situation for Fiat employees would be much worse," Bellini said.


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  #152 (permalink)  
Old 10-26-2012, 09:47 AM
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Oct 26, 2012 by ferrariworld

The Great Ferraris of Sergio Pininfarina exhibition focuses on the years during which Sergio, the son of founder Battista "Pinin" Farina, made a pivotal contribution to the creation of the Prancing Horse's most famous models. A collaboration that started in 1952 and which represents one of the great icons of the Made in Italy
phenomenon.
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  #153 (permalink)  
Old 10-30-2012, 05:23 PM
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Fiat plans to launch 17 new cars in Europe by 2016


10/30/2012


While European competitors close factories and get government bailouts, Italian carmaker Fiat is banking on its under-exposed luxury brands to put idled Italian car plants to work and stem losses in its European operations.

While European competitors close factories and get government bailouts, Italian carmaker Fiat is banking on its under-exposed luxury brands to put idled Italian car plants to work and stem losses in its European operations.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced an ambitious four-year plan Tuesday to ramp up production of Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands in Italy, where Fiat will launch 17 new models to be built in Fiat's five Italian plants from 2013-2016. Fiat, which owns U.S. carmaker Chrysler, also will unveil a new smaller Jeep for production in Italy aimed primarily at Europe, and focus the Fiat brand on the 500 and Panda compact car ranges.

"This is truly not for the faint-hearted," Marchionne said. `'We have not shied away from a fight."

Marchionne said he believes the investments, part of new capital expenditures of(EURO)16 billion ($21 billion) to (EURO)18 billion ($23 billion) in 2013-2014 across the Fiat-Chrysler alliance, could "provide a permanent solution" for the quandary facing his under-utilized European plants, which are running below 50 percent capacity.

Under the plan, Fiat Europe, which lost (EURO)238 million in the third quarter alone, would break even by 2015-2016.

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  #154 (permalink)  
Old 11-12-2012, 09:09 PM
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Fiat Could End Up Paying $342 Mln To VEBA For Chrysler Minority Stake


11/12/2012

Quote:
Italian carmaker Fiat S.p.A (FIATY) could end up paying $342 million for a 3.32 percent stake in automaker Chrysler Group LLC to United Auto Workers healthcare trust, according to media reports on Monday. The amount is more than double the near $140 million being offered by Fiat, which was deemed as being substantially below fair market value by the trust.

Fiat has been trying to buy the stake since July 1, when it could exercise its call option for the stake. However, Fiat and the retiree healthcare trust that is affiliated with the United Auto Workers union or UAW, continued to disagree on the pricing for the minority stake.

In late September, Fiat filed a lawsuit against the Michigan-based retiree healthcare trust also known as UAW voluntary employees beneficiary association or VEBA, for failing to deliver the shares even after call options were exercised.

Fiat has the right to boost its stake ownership in Chrysler by exercising call options every six months, beginning in July 2012 as per an agreement signed in 2009 when Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy.

Fiat currently owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler after it last acquired a 5 percent stake in early January. Fiat was due to further increase its interest in Chrysler after July 1, but disagreements over pricing for 3.32 percent minority stake held by VEBA have stalled the process.

On July 3, Fiat had notified VEBA of its intention to exercise its option to buy a portion of the interest held in Chrysler by VEBA, which holds a total 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler.

Fiat had indicated that the exercise for the initial tranche of Chrysler equity covered by the call option agreement represented around 3.3 percent of Chrysler's outstanding equity, and that it will pay an exercise price in accordance with the parties' agreement. The price is determined based on a market multiple applied to Chrysler EBITDA for the most recent four quarters less net industrial debt.

Chrysler, which was once part of German automotive company Daimler AG, emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2009 and was bought by Fiat in a U.S. government-brokered deal.
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  #155 (permalink)  
Old 11-15-2012, 04:11 PM
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Nov 15, 2012 by fiatusa

Damon has been a FIAT enthusiast for a lifetime and a member of FIAT Lancia Unlimited (FLU) since 1988. An architect by trade, and a fine dining aficionado, Damon's love for his X 1/9 reigns supreme in his heart.
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  #156 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2012, 01:09 PM
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Fiat to stop production of Punto for 20 days; 5000 workers on temporary layoff

November 24, 2012




Quote:
While everyone is familiar about the economic slowdown and sluggish auto market in Europe, it is for the first time that the Italian car maker, Fiat is affected by the slow demands. There are reports coming that the company is planning to completely stop the production of its entry level hatchback, Fiat Punto at their plant in Melfi, Italy for a 20 day period.
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  #157 (permalink)  
Old 11-30-2012, 09:48 PM
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Fiat manufacturing returns to China

27 Nov 2012


Italian car maker Fiat is returning to China five years after a failed joint venture, but now faces entrenched competition and slowing growth in the world's biggest auto market.

Fiat, the world's seventh largest car maker after taking a majority stake in Chrysler when the troubled US firm emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, has been conspicuous by its absence from the critical Chinese market.


But the first sales of its new Viaggio, a compact produced at a $US790 million ($A764.50 million) joint venture plant in Changsha city, come as China's economy stumbles and cities slap limits on vehicles over pollution and congestion.

Fiat-Chrysler's very presence in China also set off a political storm in the recent US presidential election, after Republican candidate Mitt Romney ran an attack ad implying that it would export American jobs.

But the company says future plans to build Jeep brand four-wheel drive vehicles in China are an expansion, not a transfer of operations.

In the first 10 months of this year, China's passenger car sales rose 6.9 per cent from a year earlier, to 12.57 million vehicles.

The increase was a far cry from the 33 per cent rise in the whole of 2010, although slightly up on last year.

Consultancy McKinsey recently forecast average growth of eight per cent a year until 2020 - down from a 24 per cent average over 2005-2011.

"It's really high time that Fiat has come back and launched a locally-manufactured model," said Klaus Paur, Shanghai-based global head of automotive for market research company Ipsos.

"You need to be in China. If you are not here, you are losing out completely."

Fiat will have to build a name for itself among Chinese consumers, set up a dealership network and introduce new models to compete against other established foreign players, he said.

The Viaggio is priced at $US17,300 to $US25,200 to lure buyers in the market's most keenly contested segment.

"Italian design is something that really differentiates us," said Bob Graczyk, commercial director for the joint venture GAC Fiat Automobiles Co.

"It's, of course, very competitive, but there's plenty of room for the Viaggio."

Jack Cheng, GAC Fiat general manager, added: "Our first priority is to get the Fiat right. If we don't get it right, we don't even have a future. That's it".

Fiat's Viaggo design built with new Chinese partner

Fiat exited a joint venture with Nanjing Auto in 2007 after falling out with its partner over its vehicles' disappointing sales.

Once it made the strategic decision to return to China, it found a new partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, and designed the car in 18 months. Production began in June and sales in September.

GAC needs Fiat too after it saw a 60 per cent fall in third-quarter profits as buyers shunned the Japanese-brand vehicles it produces with Honda and Toyota.

One of its previous joint ventures, with French auto group PSA Peugeot Citroen, also failed in 1997.

"If you get divorced, you will appreciate your next marriage and we both are," said Mr Cheng.

With European vehicle sales falling, China represents a major potential market, said Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's chief executive officer.

"In China, now the world's largest single car market, they're still experiencing phenomenal growth and demand," he said last month.

"It's going to give an opportunity to a lot of people ... I just want Fiat-Chrysler to participate."

The GAC Fiat plant in Changsha, in the southwest, currently has an annual output capacity of 140,000 vehicles and the company hopes to lift it to 300,000 units, producing four different vehicle bodies.

But other foreign companies, including General Motors and Ford, have been in China uninterruptedly since the 1990s.

In the first 10 months of this year GM sold 194,357 Chevrolet Cruze cars in China and Ford sold 221,130 Focuses - both of which compete with the Viaggio.


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  #158 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:20 AM
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Fiat to rev up India ops with 9 launches including Jeep

Italian carmaker Fiat, which is struggling with sluggish demand for its Punto and Linea cars in India, plans to shake up the operations here, with 9 new launches planned over next four years.

Italian carmaker Fiat, which is struggling with sluggish demand for its Punto and Linea cars in India, plans to shake up the operations here, with 9 new launches planned over next four years.

This will include the launch of the iconic Jeep brand by Chrysler in the country next year. Fiat had acquired a stake in Chrysler in 2009, when the later was struggling amid the economic downturn.

Jeep's Wrangler and Grand Cherokee SUVs will be imported here towards the end of 2013.

That will be followed up by the B segment SUV in 2015 and C SUV a year later. The B and C SUVs will be localised here.

Fiat itself will launch 4 products, including new Punto hatchback and Linea sedan in 2014 and a compact utility vehicle the same year.

The Abarth sports car brand will also come to India. Fiat says there will be lot more news on that brand next year.

"Our vision for India will revolve around a three-pronged strategy. First, introduction of new vehicles that will soon include the legendary Jeep brand. Second the expansion of our independent dealer network and finally, strong marketing initiatives that will continue to imptove our awareness and brand perception in the market," said Mike Manley, COO for Asia and CEO Jeep Brand.

Fiat manufactures cars at Ranjangaon in a venture with Tata Motors . Company officials denied reports that Tata Motors was planning to shift production of Tata branded cars out of Ranjangaon, to pave the way for assembling Jeeps.

The plant has enough room for expansion so there won't be any issues manufacturing the new products there, said Gurpratap Boparai, CEO Fiat India Automobiles.

Fiat ended its distribution deal with Tatas earlier this year and is now focusing on opening independent dealerships to drive its sales.

It plans to have 120 independent dealers by 2013.

After sales service is another issue often cited by people for Fiat's sluggish sales.

The company says it will completely overhaul all touch points, including a complete new structure of its after sales service, another effort towards boosting its image in the country, which is among the fastest growing auto market in the world. Fiat India only had 0.7 percent market share in 2011 and is aiming to increase it to 5 percent on the back of the new launches and revamped sales and service network.

"We are optimistic about our prospect for growth in the Indian car market, which grew 12 percent in 2011 and is rapidly becoming one of the major markets in the world. With the launch of the Jeep brand, new Fiat products, an expanding dealer network and upcoming marketing initiatives, we will be in a strong position to capitalize on this growth," said Enrico Atanasio, MD of Fiat Group Automobiles India.

Fiat hopes that with the new launches, it will cover over 40 percent of the Indian passenger vehicle market from around 22 percent now.

Apart from new vehicles, the company will launch its Fiat Financial Services in April 2013, which will offer new and pre-owned loans to customers.


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  #159 (permalink)  
Old 12-10-2012, 11:52 AM
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Fiat to invest $1.6 billion in new Maserati models

12/10/2012

NICE, France (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat is investing 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in luxury brand Maserati, hoping technology and dealerships from its tie-up with Chrysler will help it to take on German rivals BMW and Porsche.

Maserati brand chief executive Harald Wester said on Monday Fiat would invest in three new Maserati models in a bid to lift sales to 50,000 cars in 2015.


Continued
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  #160 (permalink)  
Old 12-14-2012, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Fiat Group is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy, with a range of cars starting from small A-segment Fiats to sports cars made by Ferrari. Its car companies include Fiat Group Automobiles SpA, Ferrari SpA, Iveco SpA and Maserati SpA. The Fiat Group Automobiles SpA companies consist of: Abarth & C. SpA, Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA, Fiat Automobiles SpA, Fiat Professional and Lancia Automobiles SpA. Ferrari SpA is owned by the Fiat Group, but is run autonomously.
Official information on the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte released

12/14/2012

Maserati has officially released powertrain and other impressive details for the sixth-generation Quattroporte, expected to enter showrooms for 2014. A perfect mix of power, luxury, and technology.







When people think of Maserati, they usually think of the company's flagship saloon, the Quattroporte. Since its introduction in 1963, the Quattroporte has been the benchmark to which others have striven. Now, Maserati has released full details on the upcoming sixth-generation of the globally acclaimed sloop, which will incorporate a host of new technologies without losing sight of its roots.

Two things have usually set the Quattroporte apart from other high-end luxury sedans: it's powerful performance and its large cabin working together in a perfect 50:50 balance. The new Maserati Quattroporte promises to keep that tradition, adding even more power while becoming the most fuel efficient Quattroporte ever produced.

The long, powerful nose of the model line is still there, accommodating the huge V8 engine from Ferrari that resides beneath. The first thing observers will notice .......

LINK
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