With the unification of Fiat and Chrysler, we're been expecting major changes in the corporate structure of the two automakers and their various brands. Most recently, Lancia chief executive Olivier Francois was named head of the Chrysler division, leading to reports that the two brands – similarly positioned in the sub-luxury premium segment – will be integrated into one unit. Now similar reports place the Abarth, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands under common leadership.
Take a look at the Fiat auto group. What division (barring Ferrari and Maserati) would you think holds the highest value for the company? If you thought Alfa Romeo, you're on the same page as yours truly, but you'd be mistaken. Horribly mistaken, as it turns out: Alfa has lost Fiat hundreds of millions of euros every year. Its sales have declined sharply, and not just since the global economy collapsed: Alfa sold 203,000 units in the year 2000, but only 103,000 last year. That's a heck of a drop