When Fiat took over Chrysler back in 2009, there were rumblings that the Italian automaker would bring the Pentastar back to Turin. Now, as Italy’s economic turmoil rages on, it appears that Fiat is kicking around the idea of ditching its home of more than 100 years in Lingotto–and its roof-top–track for greener pastures in the United States. It’s no secret that the economy in the United States is in a rebuilding stage, but Italy actually has it worse, believe it or not. Italy is currently going through the longest recession it has seen in two decades, and unemployment is floating around 20 percent. As a result, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne is contemplating a move that, expectedly, would start a political and national backlash.
It would make sense for Fiat to move its headquarters from Turin to the U.S., and more specifically, New York City. Last month, Marchionne expressed interest in a listing in Gotham, but no word yet if it has gone any further than that. Another good reason for Fiat to up and leave Italy is the fact that 75 percent of the automaker’s operating profits came from the states last year. Fiat’s product portfolio in North America has grown exponentially since its reintroduction to the United States a few years ago too. A verdict is expected to come forth once the lawsuit arguing how much Fiat is on the hook for if it wants the remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler. The Italian automaker is currently battling with the UAW retiree health care trust, which owns the remaining share of Chrysler Group, and it’s unsure as to when a resolution will arise.
Once Marchionne and Co. acquire that 41.4 percent though, it’s widely believed that Fiat and Chrysler will become one company, and then turn and sell shares to investors. This move would also give the Italian automaker access to Chrysler Group’s funds, something it can’t do as it currently stands. Where this new automaker’s headquarters continues to be an unknown though, making both countries feel on edge. It’s believed that, with America’s economy in a better place than Italy’s, Fiat will move across the pond. Lingotto wouldn’t be totally abandoned though, as Fiat doesn’t plan on moving any of its 100 employees in the corporate office to New York, nor will cease investing in Turin either. Marchionne is a firm believer that every region needs its own headquarters, including Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe.
“I’ve always seen Fiat and Chrysler as being one entity at some point in time,” Marchionne said to the Detroit Free Press. “So how we get there is…a story that is going to be written.”
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Source: The Detroit Free Press