reports today citing a secret internal Fiat document claim
that the consequences of a merger between Fiat and Opel will
be 18,000 job losses, the closure of ten factories, at least
two of them in Italy, and the discontinuation of the
103-year-old Lancia brand.
morning's edition of national German daily newspaper
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes from a top secret
103-page internal Fiat document called "Project Football"
which reveals that a merged Fiat-Opel entity will preserve
the bulk of the jobs in Germany with the brunt of the cuts
coming in Italy, Belgium and the UK.
German economy ministry spokesman, Steffen Moritz,
while not denying the existence of the Fiat report, stated
that it wasn't up-to-date anymore, saying: "The model which
has been reported is from the beginning of April and is
therefore no longer up to date or at least not the model
which has been part of the last talks."
was also very quick to deny the report, issuing a very brief
statement of 'clarification' this afternoon in Turin that
read: "With reference to the Reuters report which cites the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the Fiat-Opel plan,
the Fiat Group clearly states that it is not information
generated by Fiat and does not form part of any plan
prepared by Fiat."
report, which Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says is
titled 'Operation Football', foresees around 18,000 jobs
being shed and ten factories closed if the Fiat-Opel merger
goes ahead. As has been promised this wek by Fiat CEO Sergio
Marchionne none of Opel's vehicle manufacturing factories in
Germany will be closed, although several component sites as
well as engine and transmission production facilities at the
Kaiserslautern, Rüsselsheim and Bochum plants would be shut
down. It would instead be factories located outside Germany
that would bear the brunt of the production trimming. In
Italy the Termini Imerese factory on Sicily which builds the
Lancia Ypsilon, and Alfa Romeo's key Pomigliano d'Arco plant
near Naples that builds the Alfa 147, 159, 159 Sportwagon
and GT Coupé would both close down. These two factories have
both recently been threatened with closure although Termini
Imerese has just received 46 million euros of grants from
the European Union to help with the cost of developing of
the next-generation Ypsilon. Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung said that other plants on the "Project Football"
hit list include Opel's plant at Aspern in Austria and at
Antwerp in Belgium as well as its sister brand Vauxhall's
two UK plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that shutting 10
plants from 2011-2015 would free up 4.3 billion euros in
cash by 2015. Shutting down the five carmaking sites would
cost 1 billion euros upfront but the benefits would amount
to 282 million euros a year in cost savings. The closure of
the five component factories would add a further 200 million
euros of savings a year.
reported that Marchionne wants to gain access to Opel's C-
and D-segment platforms that underpin its Astra and Insignia
models respectively. Opel and Fiat already share platforms
in B-segment (the Fiat Grande Punto and Opel Corsa) the
legacy of a now defunct partnership with GM. Another key
aspect of the merger would involve Fiat gaining control of
GM's manufacturing operations in Latin America.
today the Reuters news agency quotes sources on the
Opel supervisory board as saying that Marchionne is planning
to close down GM's threatened Swedish Saab brand, as well as
Fiat's own Lancia brand, over the longer term. Lancia has
been threatened with closure many times in recently years
and the previous Fiat Auto CEO Herbert Demel had a strategy
to shut Lancia down and it was only with his dismissal and
Marchionne's tenure in his seat that confirmed the famous