Late last year I reported in the magazine that the long-trailed co-operation between BMW and Fiat Auto looked like it was fizzling out before it had started.

The scheme had initially been based around the two working on a new small front-drive platform that would underpin the Mk3 Mini and the next Grande Punto.

Fiat is also desperate to enter the North American market, so it was keen to leverage BMW’s expertise in building cars to meet US regulations and even possibly piggyback the BMW Mini dealer network.

It was even suggested that it might try and licence BMW rear-drive platforms for use under future Alfa Romeos.

Well, according to reports from Italy, it looks like Fiat is poised for a major alliance, but this time with ailing Chrysler. Some reports say the alliance is already in the bag; others, that a deal is still to be signed.