Sergio Marchionne and his Fiat empire have a lot riding on the US return of the Alfa Romeo brand. The endeavor has been in progress for what feels like a lifetime – certainly for as long as Fiat has had the Chrysler brand under its Italian wing.

It's not surprising that Fiat CEO Marchionne needs a perfect first Alfa to mark a return to America. And here's where things get dicey. Nobody would argue with Marchionne's insistence that Alfa Romeo's be powered by Italian engines – as Marchionne himself is quoted to have said at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, "There are some things that are well done in Italy."

If not what he said, then, it's how he said it that has eyebrows raised. "I cannot come up with a schlock product, I just won't. I won't put an American engine into that car. With all due respect to my American friends, it needs to be a wop engine." Wait, what's that?

As it turns out, the term "wop" is a racial slur referring to Italians that is either an acronym for "with out papers" or a play on the word "guappo," meaning thug or bully in Italian. Perhaps, considering that Marchionne carries both Canadian and Italian citizenship, his use of the word is playful. Either way, it's a somewhat surprising choice.

In somewhat related news, Marchionne also touched on the sales success of the Jeep brand and how it's caused hardship within company ranks. "I didn't sell all the Grand Cherokees I could have sold, I didn't sell all of the Wranglers that I could have sold because I couldn't make them. There was a natural limitation to my ability to compete."

That natural limitation lies with suppliers. Jeep set a global sales record last year of 701,626 units, led by strong demand for the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler models, which are built in the United States. Marchionne estimates that Jeep could have sold 70,000 more units had suppliers been able to keep up with demand.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 106 Comments
      BombSquad
      • 1 Year Ago
      The fact that AB feels the need to report this is frustrating. In no way was this meant as offensive, he is giving his Italian divisions props for quality engines. AB needs to focus more on proof reading and fact checking their posts and less on "controversial" fluff like this garbage.
      Larry
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's ethnic, not racial !
      Mark
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like another knee jerk reaction to something that isnt "politically correct", big friggen deal. Do you guys write angry letters everytime a black rapper uses the n-bomb too?
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      Racial epithet? I had no idea Italian was a race.
        Bill Burke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Right Basil, they are an ethnic group as are Latinos and Germans but there are those who seek to divide and create fraudulent racial groups that don't exist to match their thinking and political agenda. Last time I looked, Latinos decended from Spain, which is in Europe, but now they are a racial group other than Caucasian? Alot of European decendants in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean who happen to speak Spanish, reject this misrepresentation, as they and other European ethnics like Italians should. Bad stuff.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        [blocked]
      gregorycalise
      • 1 Year Ago
      Politically correct was a term first coined by Stalin in communist Russia as a control mechanism to get people in line with his ideology. It was a means to censor anyone who was saying anything not completely in line with Stalin. Now it is the big catch phrase in america for the same purpose. That's right, censorship. Say something that is not politically correct and you can see your career ruined. More BS.
        GreenN_Gold
        • 1 Year Ago
        @gregorycalise
        That's quite a stretch. I don't see how using slurs and epithets aligns with or contradicts any type of ideology. Seems the term has evolved to mean something different.
      DyanRucar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Aside from Sergio's apparent sense of humor, what would it take to get this guy nominated for Time's Person of the Year? In all seriousness, I would not hesitate to buy this man a beer should I ever cross his path.
      zackwatt
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope someday soon people stop pretending to be outraged about the smallest things... Not holding my breath though.
        FSLIV
        • 1 Year Ago
        @zackwatt
        Only a white person would think that the use of a racial word was a small thing. Go figure.
          Mason
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FSLIV
          Wasn't racial though, it was an Italian using Italian slang about Italians so...
          Rich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FSLIV
          Italian is not a race.
          Chris
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FSLIV
          Do you not see the irony in your post? And as others have said, Italian is not a race. Sergio Marchionne, himself IS WHITE!! The people I really feel for are ignorant folks, like yourself, who talk out both sides of their mouths, and attach so much to stinkin' words. Get a life bro!!
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      Man, they are trying to make something out of nothing. So he said "wop"!! Big deal!! I happen to be half Italian myself, and could care less about use of the word, or any other so-called "slur" against Italians for that matter. They're just words, that I find more funny than offensive. Black people use the "N-word" all of the time, so what's wrong with what Marchionne said? BTW, Italian is not a race; it's a nationality, so how can what he said be racist?
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where would we be without all this "ohhhh-so-right" political correctness? It's getting under my guinea skin!
      justgoawaymad
      • 1 Year Ago
      So WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! get over it
      prez29
      • 1 Year Ago
      Give it a break, will ya? He's Italian, that's why he said it, and he's allowed. Stop trying to sensationalize.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
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