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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.”