Currently reading: Alfa Romeo overhaul stalls due to Fiat-Chrysler buyout
Delay in Chrysler buyout halts Fiat’s investment in its premium car division
News
2 mins read
10 November 2013

The overhaul of Alfa Romeo has stalled as Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne turns his attention to completing Fiat’s buyout of Chrysler.

These spy shots show a mule of the planned Alfa SUV heading for Fiat’s Balocco proving ground in northern Italy. That this prototype is no more advanced than the one spotted by Autocar in Los Angeles 12 months ago shows that Alfa’s mainstream models are effectively on hold.

Autocar understands that the only new Alfa currently progressing is the Mazda MX-5-based roadster. The Alfa SUV is now unlikely to appear before 2015, a delay which also holds up a planned sister SUV from Jeep. There’s no news either on the planned Fiat 500X and its related ‘baby Jeep’ model.

Analysts say Marchionne cannot fully execute his plans to create a premium car-making division from Jeep, Alfa and Maserati without access to Chrysler’s cash reserves, but Marchionne has failed to hammer out a deal with Chrysler’s co-owners.

Fiat currently owns 58.5 per cent of Chrysler. The balance of 41.5 per cent is held by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, a holding acquired as a consequence of GM’s bankruptcy and government bailout.

The UAW wants to maximise its investment to provide funds for retiree pensions and healthcare costs. It covers ex-Ford, GM and Chrylser workers and has 860,000 people on its books.

However, Fiat and the UAW fund have failed to broker a deal after the Union valued its holding at around £3.1bn, which is perhaps understandable considering the Trust’s responsibilities. 

Last week, Marchionne said talks had failed and he wanted to see the initial public offering executed by the year’s end. One advantage for Fiat is that the move will establish market price for the shares. However, Fiat will have to ensure it ends up as the majority owner of the UAW’s stake or the merger, which is essential to the health of Fiat, will fail. 

Analysts say Marchionne might eventually have to borrow as much as £2.5bn to complete the buyout and finally invest in the much-delayed Alfa-Jeep-Maserati division.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
9
Add a comment…
Scotital 16 November 2013

At least 2 lost decades

Completely agree with you AHA1. I have kept faith with Alfa and Marchionne for a long time, so long that I'm beginning to feel old(ish). I feel that time has run out. I have given up waiting and hoping. It will still be years before anything truly worthy of the Alfa badge appears. How alleged megabrain Marchionne has managed to lay waste to Alfa as he has done is truly beyond me; "saddening" would be an understatement!
AHA1 11 November 2013

Beware of rescuers!

Alfa and Lancia head a saddening list of Italian car brands 'rescued' by Fiat (= acquired on the cheap.) Most of these have either disappeared, consigned to a forgotten lock up in Turin or, terrifyingly, come to back to life as some sort of zombie Frankensteins with the right badges on the wrong bodies. Ferrari is the exception that proves the rule: one assumes the strength of its management, assets and customer base were sufficient to survive the negative cash flow and corporate stagnation Fiat bestows upon its victims (standard big conglomerate behaviour to be fair.) Well done for almost making a success of Maserati (eventually) but grazie per nulla for 3 decades of non-achievement as far as Alfa is concerned. Looking forward to Marchionne's next aggrieved press release knocking back VW again.
SJ19MB 11 November 2013

Geely-Alfa Romeo-Volvo Alliance

Geely should investigate the oppurtunity to acquire Alfa Romeo,they could pump cash into Alfa,while borrowing reliable,high tech platforms from Volvo.Alfa Romeo could be the high performance arm Geely requires & Alfa could be viewed as an Italian BMW (just safer & more reliable).

Find an Autocar car review