Although the German side did not embrace too quickly this idea, Fiat, barely out of a 30 days shutdown of production, keeps all options on the table. It would appear that other partnerships in the small car class of the two builders are not entirely out of the picture. Given the circumstances, these latest rumors are a bit strange, to say the least.
In a statement made in the last days of 2008, President Jim Press said Chrysler could become a worthy opponent for both BMW and Mercedes Benz. “If there’s one company in America that can build high-craftsmanship, innovative vehicles, it’s Chrysler,” Press said in an Automotive News interview.
The Chrysler-Fiat alliance will allow the American side access to “competitive, fuel-efficient vehicle platforms, powertrain and components to be produced at Chrysler manufacturing sites,” In addition, Fiat will help the American company evolve in certain markets by providing “distribution capabilities plus management services.”
As for Fiat, they will receive an initial 35 percent equity interest in Chrysler, and the introduction of several models designed by the Italian company in the United States. Set to debut sometimes this year, the 149's unveiling was postponed. Fiat fears that launching a new model in the middle of an economic crisis will be nothing than a grand presentation followed by very low sales.