Rumormill: Fiat could step in for GM in Europe, Latin America
Forget about letting the ink dry: even while negotiations have been ongoing between Fiat and Chrysler, there have been rumors of potential additional or alternative alliances which the Italian auto group has purportedly been considering. Things may have been put on hold with Chinese automaker Chery and with Nissan, but talks about a tie-in with BMW are afoot, as were rumors of a merger with French auto group PSA Peugeot-Citroen, to say nothing of Fiat's role in Tata's acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover. Recent reports, however, suggest that Fiat may be in the position to take over part of General Motors' organization in Europe and Latin America.
The arrangement would see Fiat take control of Opel and Vauxhall, which are slated to be spun off into a separate unit. The deal would not include Saab or Chevrolet's European operations (which are essentially Bowtie-badged Daewoos), but would include its operations in Latin America. The reports suggest the GM deal would be in addition to Fiat's arrangement with Chrysler. All told, between Fiat, Chrysler and GM's Latin American and European sales, the new group would form the second largest automaker in the world, with sales (based on current levels) coming in behind Toyota's.
With Fiat particularly strong in those two core markets, the deal could make sense, but it would hardly be the first time Fiat and GM were in bed together. Back in 2000, the two automakers brokered a deal to collaborate, which cost GM over $2 billion, and then cost it another $2 billion to get out of again in 2005 when Fiat got back on its feet. For his part, Fiat chairman Luca di Montezemolo has denied the reports, but CEO Sergio Marchionne may have some plans of his own.
[Source: Automotive News Europe - subs. req'd]