During World War II, one of Joseph Stalin’s aides told him that the Pope at the time disapproved of some action Stalin had taken. The Russian dictator responded, “How many battalions does the Pope have?”Now the present. We wonder if Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne feels the same after being scolded by Pope Benedict XVI? It seems that the Pope is concerned about jobs being lost in Italy, and Fiat was planning some closures.
There is a major Recession after all and leaders are concerned about their constituency. European governments have been subsidizing their auto manufacturers for some years now. So, when a company tries to make a decision that may be good for its bottom line, the government steps in and encourages them to change their minds. Also, in Europe, a common way for the auto industry to settle disputes is to negotiate with unions and the government. (Try that in the U.S.)
But that may be changing as more companies become global. Marchionne is trying to make Fiat global with that partnership with Chrysler. At about the same time, French President Nicolas Sarkozy actually called Renault chief Carlos Ghosn to the Elysee palace to show his concern that Renault had plans to close plants in France and open them in Turkey. Well, analysts in France are saying that Sarkozy’s ultimatums may have little influence on Renault’s plans.
via Detroit News