Italian auto-maker Fiat is once again hinting that it is considering abandoning Italy for the USA, where the company already controls Chrysler.
Ironically, the de-Italianisation of Fiat may help keep Fiat’s Italian operations going – if Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne so wishes.
The USA’s more friendly investment climate may mean income from Fiat USA can be used to keep Fiat Italy running. Will this happen, or will Fiat decide to re-locate its Italian operations to more business friendly nations in Europe? That remains to be seen. Fiat could, of course, decide to dump Europe in favor of Africa. Marchionne will be aware of Africa’s proximity to Europe, and the fact that African nations are not tangled in reams of European red tape.
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If Fiat does dump Italy, and Italy is doing nothing to keep the car maker here, the consequences for Italy’s economy could be disastrous. Fiat employs around 60,000 people in Italy, or did so in 2011. Aside from those directly in Fiat’s employ, there are all the Italy based suppliers who also employ many, many Italians. A move to the USA, coupled with relocation to Africa, maybe, would cost Italy dearly.
So will Fiat leave Italy? Well, unless the political situation improves vastly, and this is highly improbable in the opinion of this Italy watcher, then Fiat’s relocation is not so much a case of “if” and much more a case of “when”.
Italy has been aware of Fiat’s moving thoughts for quite a while, though it has not bothered listening to them. Silly Italy.