Changes are coming to the family as the Fiat automotive empire alters its structure to give several of its divisions more autonomy. While the Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat auto and Fiat light commercial vehicles have all been divisions within the same corporate hierarchy (not unlike the structure at its one-time potential partners at General Motors), each of those brands is now being spun off and individually incorporated.

The result is the creation of four new companies: Lancia Automobiles SpA, Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA, Fiat Automobiles SpA and Fiat Light Commercial Vehicles SpA. This also means that the executives who were simply brand managers before are getting promoted to chief executive officer of their new corporations. All four will still be fully owned by the parent company, which is changing its name from Fiat Auto to Fiat Group Automobiles SpA. For those Tifosi left wondering, Fiat's precious baby Ferrari remains unaffected by the restructuring since it was already separately incorporated and is partially owned by Fiat with some shares owned by other interests.

What practical implication does this have? None to the American market where, until Alfa Romeo returns to the US, none of these brands are sold. Meanwhile, Fiat insists the restructuring will actually enable each unit to cooperate with the others more effectively. We'd bet this gives each of the brands the freedom to make independent strategic decisions, including the Fiat brand itself. The move comes shortly after Fiat Group head Sergio Marchionne stepped down as chief of the Fiat brand to concentrate on managing the group. With sales up and its financial health looking better than ever, the Fiat empire -- or whatever you want to call it -- looks poised to continue its climb upward.

[Source: Fiat via Italiaspeed]

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