Fiat Ponders US Production of Alfa Romeo Vehicles
By Kevin Miller
The Financial Times has reported that Fiat has approached domestic US carmakers about production of Alfa Romeos in US factories, as part of the iconic Italian brand’s return to the US vehicle market. Fiat is also contemplating a return by its Iveco trucks division to the US, as well as offering the popular new Fiat 500 here.
In an interview with Financial Times, Sergio Marchionne, Fiat chief executive said “I’ve always had the view that we had to produce in America.” Marchionne hopes to start production of Alfa Romeo vehicles in the US by 2011 or 2012. He also noted that it is the weakness of the US Dollar that is causing this investigation of producing vehicles in the US. “Nobody making anything in Europe is going to make profits in the US,” he told Financial Times. “You can’t. So we need to localize.”
No domestic automakers have been identified, but the Detroit Three carmakers are scaling back production, and production facilities have been idled. Fiat brands could take advantage of the idled plants by having their own vehicles produced in them.
Mr Marchionne said Alfa would distribute and sell cars in the US from next year, selling vehicles at a loss until US production begins. “I can suffer the loss initially, as long as I know I’m going to be producing enough.”
It will be interesting to see how this proposition of Fiat partnering with a domestic US automaker unfolds into production of Alfa Romeos. Such an agreement could be beneficial to both parties, with Fiat being able to produce vehicles for a lower cost, while their US partner is able to use their idled labor force and plants for vehicle production.
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