NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

10.01.2007 FIAT ARE STILL IN TALKS WITH TATA ABOUT BUILDING A NEW LOW COST CAR REVEALS SERGIO MARCHIONNE IN DETROIT

In Detroit for the North American International Auto Show Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that they are still considering building a new low-cost car in conjunction with Tata Motors, an idea that was first mooted by the two carmakers last September. "This is part of the DNA of Fiat going back a number of years and I think Tata is the perfect partner to work with," he told the Reuters news agency in Detroit in Monday. "How, when and under what circumstances that project will take form is still under discussion, so you need to give us more time."

Fiat Auto first revealed that they planned to develop a new low-cost "B-compact" model during the wide-ranging investor presentation held at Lingotto in early November. Marchionne has been impressed by the Logan model, which has been positioned as an affordable market model by Renault. The Logan, which is sold under the Dacia brand name, has been well received across Eastern Europe, as well as with cost-conscious buyers in the more mature Western European markets. The Logan model is also set to be launched in India later this month. "The Logan was designed to be a spartan, limited-choice vehicle by definition," Marchionne told Automotive News Europe during an interview just prior to Christmas. "I think ours have greater potential than that, but I do not want to be derogatory about the Logan. It was a gutsy call to introduce it."

This new B-compact model, Marchionne further told ANE, "is structurally a scaled-down (small architecture), so we are not starting with a clean sheet of paper. It is designed to replace the Palio (world car family) and the Uno in the long term, being built and sold in western Europe and in emerging markets.
 

ROBERTO RONCHI AND SERGIO MARCHIONNE WITH THE MASERATI QUATTROPORTE AUTOMATIC IN DETROIT

In Detroit on Monday Marchionne also responded to analysts concerns that his targets for 2010 were overly ambitious. Photo: Sergio Marchionne with Maserati CEO Roberto Ronchi and the new Maserati Quattroporte Automatic in Detroit this week.

ROBERTO RONCHI AND SERGIO MARCHIONNE WITH THE MASERATI QUATTROPORTE AUTOMATIC IN DETROIT

In Detroit for the North American International Auto Show Sergio Marchionne has said that the Italian carmaker is still considering building a new low-cost car in conjunction with India's Tata Motors. Photo: Sergio Marchionne with Maserati CEO Roberto Ronchi and the new Maserati Quattroporte Automatic in Detroit this week.


"Initially, I rejected the idea of creating our own architecture. Before we go spend a buck, let us find out whether we can join forces with somebody else. I told my guys to talk to other people and they did. We ran the numbers and the volumes; we looked at what the architecture had. But it did not have enough for us to go ahead and provide us with the solidity of a platform that would have allowed us to do what we wanted. Economically, therefore, it was not worthwhile. So we will build it alone, but there is enough volume in that to be profitable." Fiat and Tata Motors meanwhile are this year set to build and jointly-brand a new pick-up vehicle together.

Meanwhile, in Detroit on Monday Marchionne also responded to analysts concerns that his targets for 2010 were overly ambitious.
"I have no intention of moving '07 targets and I have no intention of moving '08, '09 or 2010," he told Reuters. "We set the targets in 2004 for '04, '05 and '06 (and) '07 and we haven't missed one of them yet, and we closed the year 2006 totally in line with those forecasts from '04," he added. Marchionne is aiming to raise profit margins above the industry average to as high as 5.3 percent by 2010 to confront growing competition in Europe from Asian manufacturers, Reuters further reported.
 

Related articles
28.12.2006

Fiat's first 1-ton chassis pickup will be a re-badged version of the brand new Tata TL Sprint which was revealed at the Bologna Motor Show earlier this month, and it is set to be built at their underused plant at Cordoba in Argentina

2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed

http://www.carsfromitaly.net