On January 20, 2009 Chrysler announce they are engaged again, this time to an Italian mate, Fiat. Will this second marriage work? Is it a better match than their ill-fated marriage to Daimler-Benz? Follow the jump for my (second) take.
To be perfectly blunt, I think it might and many think it must, simply because this may be the last opportunity for Chysler to survive.
What can Fiat do for Chrysler that Mercedes could not? Fiat is one of the largest producers of small economy cars in the world. Yes, they own Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia among others but their core business is small displacement economy cars. And not just any old economy cars, some of the best hatchbacks in the world, including the brilliant Fiat 500. Chysler, on the other hand makes larger cars, SUV’s and light trucks that Fiat does not, they sell most of their vehicles in North America, where Fiat does not. Perhaps this marriage has more to offer both parties than the first did.
These two companies are complete opposites in many respects. They manufacture different products and play in different markets. Chrylser could take Fiat product and market it in North America and Fiat could take Chrysler product and market it to the rest of the world. The distribution networks are in place and don’t compete with each other. On the other hand, Chrysler could also make use of Fiat’s expertise in small fuel-efficient automobiles and Fiat could make use of Chrysler’s expertise in SUV’s and larger displacement vehicles. Ha ha who am I kidding? No one needs more expertise in SUV’s in the coming age of environmental and economic responsibility.
Still, there seems to be a lot to look forward to in this pending marriage, if both parties can work together. I wish them good fortune and a happy, productive future together. Mainly because I want a Fiat 500 Abarth esseesse on my driveway. Now.