Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will focus its strategy on revamping its Alfa Romeo brand after its planned merger with Chrysler and will keep production of the brand in Italy as it seeks to boost its European operations and protect jobs.
In an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica, the CEO sought to appease unions and politicians who are worried that the merger with Chrysler could signal a shift away from its home market, where Fiat was founded 115 years ago.
“Just as the Jeep is sold in the whole world but is American to the bone, so Alfa’s DNA has to be authentically all-Italian,” he said. “It will indeed remain at home.”
Marchionne repeated that selling Alfa Romeo to a competitor was out of the question. He said the merger would allow Fiat to channel investments into Italy and help re-instate the thousands of workers on temporary layoff schemes.
“My pledge is: when the plan is fully operational, the Italian industrial network will be (fully utilised), market permitting, of course,” he said. “With time – if the market does not collapse again – all (workers on temporary layoffs) will be reinstated.”
Fiat will present a new industrial plan, outlining new investments and models, at the end of April.