Today I will be locked in quiet room listening in on Fiat’s marathon six-hour investor conference.
It’s expected that Fiat will reveal its product plans up until 2014 and, more importantly, the extent to which Fiat and Chrysler operations will be merged.
However, it’s clear that by the end of the conference, Fiat and Chrysler will no longer be separate entities.
If Marchionne gets this right, it could be a game changer. Creating a global mass-manufacturer that it is truly integrated might finally pull Fiat out of its long, slow, spiral of decline.
According to industry reports last night, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne is set to announce that Alfa will build a replacement for the 159 in the US. Apparently, a big Alfa crossover will be built alongside it.
The 159’s replacement will be built on the bigger version of the new platform that underpins the Giulietta and will also be used to underpin future Chrysler and Jeep models.
These early reports also suggest that Fiat could be building as many as 400,000 cars per year in the US by 2014. Does that mean some Alfas could be built in the US and exported back to Europe?
There’s also a hint of an upsized four-door Fiat that looks a lot like the tiny 500.
Closer to home, I wonder if Fiat will create combined Fiat/Alfa/Chrysler dealerships in the UK? It must be only way to give the UK dealer network solid foundations. And without serious dealers, the triumvirate will be lost before they’ve started.
By the end of today we’ll know the shape of this brave new world.