Fiat currently owns 20 percent of Chrysler and can raise its stake to 35 percent once it satisfies three criteria: builds a plant in the U.S. to assemble fuel efficient engines; builds a 40 mpg car in the U.S. and expands Chrysler's international reach. For each milestone achieved, Fiat gets another five percent of Chrysler. The first hurdle looks like it will be cleared next year, with Fiat committing to building the 500's 1.4-liter, 92-horsepower engine in Dundee, Michigan at what was once the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant.

According to Automotive News, Fiat is putting $179 million into the location. Yet while the powerplants will be built in Michigan, they'll be shipped immediately to Mexico to be placed in the waiting engine bays of the cutest car in the world. That's because 500 production will happen at Fiat's Toluca, Mexico factory. Half of those finished cars will come to America, half will go to Brazil, with sales predicted to begin at the end of next year.

As for what to make of the alliance so far, and recent news like Chrysler's speak-no-evil plans for Detroit Auto Show, Fiat CEO Marchionne said that it is going to take two years "to show some real results. We'll try and do it faster," he said, "but by the end of 2011 and in early 2012, you should be able to tell how our plan is working."

[Sources: Automotive News - sub. req.; Drive.com.au | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]