Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was unsurprisingly frank when asked by reporters about potential investments in Italian manufacturing for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, giving the Italian government the ultimatum, "Italy should decide if they want [Alfa Romeo's relaunch] to happen here or not as Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives." Them's fightin' words.

Fiat's issue with the government stems directly from its courtroom clashes with the Fiom labor union. The two are currently embroiled in proceedings over longer shifts and shorter breaks, as Fiom has so far refused to sign a new contract citing revised labor laws that it says are anti-union.

According to Bloomberg, Fiat will be spending over $2.5 billion on development of eight new Alfas and six new Maseratis, in a bid to wrest some of the luxury pie away from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But that's only going to happen if the government is willing to play ball and make life easier on Fiat.

Marchionne's frankness continued, "The only weapon we have is to get a slice of the high-end market, which we haven't been able to tackle in the past because of laziness or inability – leaving our German friends alone. We want to disturb the idyllic environment they've created for themselves."


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  • 57 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        Any Alfa or Fiat since the mid 90s is no more prone to unreliability than any other product from the mainstreams. Especially the superb JTD kitted models.
        Jake
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yeah, be hard to compete with the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes on that front.
      thatitaliankid321
      • 1 Year Ago
      well there is a nice soon-to-be-closed Ford plant in Walton Hills that could easly converted to assembling cars.and would give Fiat some good brand imaging for investing more in the USA
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let us abuse the workers and exploit them, or we'll pull out of your country and harm you financially. I'd assume they can take a minor loss on their BILLIONS in profit, so some hardworking families can get a break during the workday. Or just cut back on Executive cushy services that clearly are not financially sustainable if workers have to lose their breaks to keep the ship afloat.
        GasMan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Yeah right, Italy's union workers are just as abused as UAW workers. I hear they hold them in a pen where they force them to accept 4 weeks of vacation, gold-plated healthcare plans, generous pensions, and way above-average pay. Get over your class warfare crap and look at the facts.
          Teleny411
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GasMan
          Why don't they deserve those benefits and a living wage? Sergio should take a look at white collar salaries including his own!
          JayH
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GasMan
          teleny411: why do auto workers deserve way more than say, people who work at macy's? this is the problem with unions... they want too much. the business can't afford them. **** hits the fan. car companies have to shut down. look at peugeot/citroen... same thing is happening. they can't close factories because the unions/government can't afford to lose them, but at the same time, the union wants to milk every last dime off the company... money doesn't grow on trees...
          Thomas D Hilton III
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GasMan
          Not to mention 2 hour Breaks.. thats the type of workforce that Ferrari/Maserati has.
        IBx27
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Here's the choice that labor mafias need to understand: give some concessions when your company is trying to survive a bad economy and grow its share, or lose your entire job because the company is unable to pay for all your benefits you feel entitled to.
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love Marchionne. I love how brutally honest he is while presenting a sound argument. He's done this on multiple occassions. Some more public than others. This guy really knows how to play ball. NO non-union employee gets union levels of benefit. No union is as efficient as non-union. Sorry. My best friend works with OEMs and he HATES going to UAW clients because it takes him 10 times longer to get anything done. He needs 10 people to do one person's job because one is only allowed to turn a screwdriver, another is only allowed to open up panels and a third is only allowed to work a shop vac. They also have essentially mandatory breaks so that no matter what you're in the middle of, it gets disrupted. There are no late nights, there is nothing. It's BS. Its wrong. Its almost STEALING! To complain about Marchionne is BS as well. The guy is responsible for everyone under the Fiat/Chrysler umbrella. I know its hard to swallow for some, but that's market rate for a good CEO. He sleeps 3 to 4 hours a night. He also flies to the US to work during holidays in Italy and is in Italy during holidays in the U.S. He does not take time off. Go read up on him, or watch a documentary before you make statements based on what you read in a snippet.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its always a real shame when car companies turn their back on the communities they came from,...I'm looking at 'you" American brands too.
        IBx27
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Blame the liberal labor mafia.
        icon149
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        it's always a shame when the communities that were built by companies try to take advantage of the company and think they are entitled to high pay for poor quality work or even no work at all... I'm looking at you Detroit.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        It's always a real shame when people forget that car companies are not your friends -- they are for-profit businesses. In the US, the publicly owned ones have a legal obligation to try and make money -- even if that means creating a sob story when a plant closes.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      eee gads Fiat and Alfa can make some horrid looking cars
      Myself
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Marchionne threatens to move Alfa production out of Italy" That should help to improve quality and reliability...
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Power corrupts. Unions were formed because management used to work their people to death. Literally. So unions gave workers bargaining power so as not to be taken advantage of. But now the pendulum has swung the other way and they make huge demands. In this day and age very few jobs have pensions and amazing benefits and tons of paid time off. But unions are able to demand these. Which is nice if you are in the union. But if you end up bankrupting your employer because they can't be competitive due to the union demands then you have lost your way and focus and ability to change with the times.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        [blocked]
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Management STILL work people to death. Remember the hundreds of Bangladeshis who got crushed to death just a couple of months ago? Most of them were sewing clothes for our big corporations.
          Teleny411
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          And don't forget about the management salaries, perks, stock, pensions, etc. My friend worked for a corporation where her boss got a 45k Christmas bonus. The Secretaries who actually ran and managed things got nothing.
          montoym
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          Last I checked, even at the corporations with union labor, those executives still get lavish bonuses. The unions don't stop that. The difference is, a few people may get those large perks (and we can argue about the necessity of that), but if instead you took those bonuses and spread them out across the company, each employee would get a few hundred dollars a year more. it's small potatoes effectively, even if it doesn't seem so. But, on the other hand, every time the union jacks up the price of labor, the cost to the company is huge because it's multiplied by all of those employees. It's not even remotely the same.
        jaydc1388
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        The pendulum has swung the other way and shows how power corrupts as well, just not how you think. How long has it taken for companies to do away with those benefits that were once a basic part of an employee's total compensation package once they didn't have to deal with those "pesky unions" And what happened to wages and the economy during this time as well? The goal should be to find ways to bring employment standards to a higher level for all instead of dragging them down for a race to the bottom....
          Greg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jaydc1388
          My company is not unionized, but they increased vacation time and improved health benefits - because of competition with other companies to land the best workers. They did drop pensions for new employees because the program is too expensive to administer, though. The point is, no one here is pure evil - not unions, not management. There definitely is greed, though.
      turkeythundergod
      • 1 Year Ago
      An automotive labor union asking for too much, making it impossible for the company to compete with their global competitors? *Gasp* Who would have thought?
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @turkeythundergod
        Actually their german competitors are all unionized as well.
        CSM101
        • 1 Year Ago
        @turkeythundergod
        I wouldn't at all give all the blame to the labor union. I would blame mostly italian taxes. Even a very small family-driven company (say earning 200.000 euros/year) in italy pays a total tax rate of 68%. The average employee in italy earns a net income of 1300€/month... but it costs in taxes to the company who assumes it about 3500€/month (taxes on employees are being held at the source: the employee gets directly the net income). Under those conditions it is very difficult to produce something in italy at lower costs than in any other country. This is slowly killing the all the local industries, starting from the smaller ones. Italy is a place where you can earn 80.000€/year, and have to pay 55.000 euros in taxes. If you could work elsewhere (like in switzerland, for example, where you would pay just 20.000 euros), wouldn't you do it?
      Bill Burke
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is not a mainstream union, but a decidedly radical organization with strong anti- management, anti-capitalistic objectives. Their demands are not grounded in reality, their methods not grounded in civility and their objectives not productive for the majority of Italians and certainly not Fiat. They may have some support among the Socialists and Communists, but Fiom has clearly ostracized themselves from most mainstream Italians. Their exclusion from the Fiat labor pool is logical and necessary. Their members are the real victims here.
        montoym
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bill Burke
        Strange, sounds exactly like a mainstream union to me.
          Bill Burke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @montoym
          Actually they are not because they represent a political ideology and movement under the cloak of a union. As I stated, sadly, the membership is being victimized by a radical and frankly extremist politically driven organization totally removed from representing the economic needs and protection of average workers, the fundamental and traditional purpose of a union. An organization that would effectively destroy the free market system that provides the jobs and sustains their members is no labor union, it's a cancer.
          montoym
          • 1 Year Ago
          @montoym
          Yeah, didn't help. Still sounds pretty much exactly the same.
      nassau
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like the auto workers unions are the same the world over. Refuse to enter into a contract because the government passed laws that the union says are anti union. Wow. No contract with a private company because the government passes laws. Hard to negotiate with that position.
      ammca66564
      • 1 Year Ago
      Give ol' Sergio credit for playing the long game. He didn't want Chrysler because he thought he take over the auto business selling Sebrings. He needed a business platform he could move Fiat over to, or at least use the threat of moving the business to, in order to get a more rational deal with his Italian unions. Well done.
        Bill Burke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ammca66564
        You sell the man short. He astutely realized that Chrysler was a decidedly perfect partner with huge potential and a rich automotive/industrial legacy. With adequate resources, Chrysler could actually drive the future of Fiat and establish the duo as a dominate global automotive corporation. With typical Italian genius, Sergio set his mind and yes, his heart, to work on creating the idea as reality. Chrysler doing large cars, trucks and SUVs like only Chrysler can do and branding them for the global market. Fiat doing small cars and Alfa doing RWD mid-sized cars in many variations for all the brands. Add in Viper,Maserati, Ferrari and SRT and you have a symphony of automotive variety to put Marchionne into the ranks of Henry Ford for shear vision and execution. Keeping unions at bay, navigating the pitfalls of multiple government interests and understanding the pulse of the public for great product and keeping international air provides solvent is only part of the picture. This guy is special.
          TONY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bill Burke
          In reply to CSM101, The whole point of the next thrust in Alfa Romeo is to have rear wheel drive platforms to compete with the Germans. Current Alfa's are not rear wheel drive, the generation to be created in the future will be. But Marchionne needs right environment to do this in Italy or will produce them elsewhere. Most likely America.
          CSM101
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bill Burke
          Alfa is not producing RWD cars since the 80's. The last RWD Alfa was the Alfa milano (with the exception of the 8C, which is actually a maserati). After Alfa Romeo merged with Fiat, FIAT, killed the alfa romeo knowledge and based all successive cars on FIAT sourced tecnology. And fiat does not do RWD vehicles at all (trucks, ferraris and maseratis excepted)
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