The idea of Fiat moving its headquarters to the US sparked concern among politicians and labor unions in Italy.
Fiat was founded in 1899 in Turin, Italy, but now, as the merger of the automaker with Chrysler gets closer, it is said that CEO Marchionne plans to move headquarters to the US. North America would be the expected choice, taking into consideration that last year 75% of Fiat’s operating profits came from this market.
“It wouldn’t be good news,” Carlo Dell’Aringa, a labor ministry undersecretary, said in a televised interview with Sky Tg24 yesterday. “Even if moving the headquarters to the U.S. doesn’t mean abandoning plants and production, it would be a step that will harm the future of the company in Italy.”
Fiat’s headquarters shift would be a heavy blow for Italy, which already struggles with recession and the highest unemployment level for the past two decades. Since 2009, when Fiat took control of Chrysler, the Italian automaker’s dependence on Europe has been continuously reduced and last year the region accounted for 24% of the company’s 84 billion euro revenue.
“An eventual move of the headquarters is a consequence of Marchionne’s strategy since the acquisition of Chrysler,” said Federico Bellono, head of the Fiom union in Turin. “The real problem for us is that this may imply a less strategic industrial presence of the group in the country, while we still have thousands of workers still on temporary layoff.”