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Fiat spent much of 2011 jousting with Italian labor unions over contracts and plant security. The matter was finally resolved in December when Fiat signed new labor agreements, but a sign of Fiat's take on the matter was its departure from Confindustria, an Italian business group, over concerns that group labor agreements were crippling international competitiveness. Some recent comments by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, though, seem to point the company back to loggerheads with labor.

Fiat claims that it is on pace to earn two billion euros ($2.8 billion in U.S. funds) in 2010. Good news to be sure, but Reuters reports that CEO Sergio Marchionne says that the company's five factories in Italy contribute exactly zero percent of that profit due to the country's rigid unions. In fact, the CEO claims that Fiat loses money in it's Italian factories, saying "Fiat would do more if it took Italy out from its results. We cannot continue to manage operations at a loss forever."