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financial analysts see little upside from GM purchasing the remaining 80%
of Fiat SpA. With GM currently embarking on a major restructuring programme
of their loss making European subsidary Adam Opel AG and intergrating the
recently aquired Daewoo Motor Co, simultaniously trying to fix the major
problems within the Fiat Group could see GM becoming bogged down.
Since the deal which saw GM purchase 20% of Fiat with an option to buy the remaining 80% through to July 2009, joint projects to develop engines and gearboxes, along with common parts purchasing schemes and shared vehicle platforms have seen ever closer ties between the companies evolve.
While GM is currently involved in a major cost cutting programme, the Fiat Group's huge recent losses of $395M in the first quarter of this year and $506M in 2001, would in comparison wipe out GM's $601M net profit for last year.
However although GM CEO Rick Waggoner has denied that there are any takeover talks planned, CFO John Devine has stated that GM could easily afford to purchase Fiat without affecting any current operations. The purchase could be made with a combination of stock and cash.
Rick Waggoner, stated however that GM and Fiat were looking at, and had indentified, further areas for co-operation, which could include, Fidis, the Fiat Group's finance arm as well as services and computer systems.
Analysts also point out that the price paid for the remaining 80% would not bear any relationship to the $2.4 billion paid in the initial deal, a figure which included setting up the joint ventures.
on from the ending of car production at the Rivalta plant, Fiat have announced
that the Panda line will close at the end of the year when production of
the 22-year old model ceases.
This will leave the plant, located on the southern edge of Turin, with four lines:
- the Marea saloon and stationwagon
line will also carry out final assembly of the Lancia Lybra. From 2005
this line will produce the Fiat "New Large" Croma-successor and Lybra replacement,
both which will be based on the GM "Epsilon" platform.
The Mirafiori factory will shed around 1,500 employees in a €16M programme, leaving a workforce of around 8,000, while capacity is expected to be running at around 90% by the end of the year. Unit production this year is expected to be about 306,000 units, down from 374,379 in 2001, a figure which includes Rivalta's now transferred production.
to Fiat's troubles, last month Fiat' Auto's share of the domestic Italian
car market slumped to an all time low as foreign rivals made major inroads.
Fiat Group sales of 64,950 units, which include the Alfa Romeo and Lancia
brands was down 16.8% year on year. Figures from the transport ministry
put market share at 33.2%, down from 33.1% a year earlier and almost 1%
down from the previous month.
With the Italian market accounting for 37% of worldwide sales, the continuing slump in home market car sales is hindering the Auto division's attempts to stem its losses and claw its was back to profitability.
|In keeping with Lancia's aim of launching the delayed Thesis as a top of the segment executive saloon, pre production models have been recently shown to exlusive gatherings at hand picked locations around Italy. This has included private stately homes and cultural exhibitions including music festivals and art galleries.|
|In an interview yesterday,
the head of Fiat Group's automotive division Fiat Auto SpA, Giancarlo Boschetti,
said no restructuring talks or plans for a speeded up takeover of the company
had been discussed with GM. Boscetti was confident that the current restructuring
proposal on the table, which would see significant cost savings of around
€600M in the next nine months which would mainly be achieved through
implementing cost cutting measures would help Fiat satisfy banks and other
creditors who are looking for a major shake up.
He added that the full programme would take "one or two years" to really produce the full benefits, and he expected the Lancia Thesis, due to go on sale in September, to be a major contributor to the turnaround once the costs savings of its joint Alfa Romeo/Saab floorpan clicked in.
|Fiat Auto boss, Giancarlo Boschetti, has revealed that Fiat plan to introduce a completely new Palio on a dedicated platform as part of its current restructuring plans. Originally it was planned that the Palio would be restyled in 2003 with the new Punto, due in 2005, forming the basis of the next "World Car". However Fiat have cancelled the restyling and now plan to introduce a completely new Palio in 2006, which is expected to be developed in partnership with GM.|
|In blistering heat at the Jarama track in Spain, Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz scored Ferrari's first win of the season at round 3 of the FIA GT Championship. Pole-sitter Piccini pulled away from the field at the start and was never threatened all afternoon, the BMS Scuderia Italian-run, Prodrive-developed Ferrari 550 Maranello eventually finishing over half a minute ahead of the second place Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper.|
|Heavily in debt and with banks and shareholders demanding major changes, Fiat Auto has finalised a restructuring plan which will see the number of platforms within the Auto group reduced from the current 15, to nine by the end of the decade. To reduce costs all the new platforms are expected developed jointly with GM.|
|Artists impression of how the Fiat Stilo stationwagon, due at the end of this year, might look, based on current Fiat styling cues|
|The revolutionary Fiat Multipla
MPV, a former "Car of the Year", has undergone its mid-life facelift, with
emphasis being given to making eco-friendly options available.
Immediately recognisable by its optional colour coded and reworked bumpers, the Multipla offers redesigned interiors with upgraded trim levels, a larger interior space with features added to improve accessiblity, greater safety features include air-bags which drop down to afford geater side-impact protection, while suspension has been reworked all round along with enhanced braking capabilities.
Fiat have particulary worked on "eco-friendly" models with three now being available: the "BiPower" features dual petrol/methane option, the "BluPower, runs on methane and the Gpower is a very clean petrol/LPG engine which has an enhanced fuel range due to it releasing LPG directly into the cylinder heads through specially designed jets.
Ferrari Group which includes the Maserati luxury sportscar brand has reveral
record figures sales figures to back up their continuing on track success.
Alongside winning the Formula 1 drivers and manufacturer's titles for a
second year running, a total of 6,158 Ferrari's and Maserati's were sold
in 2001, and the books saw a marked increase in orders.
Turnover was a fraction over €1 billion, 18% up on 2000. Nett profit at €47 million was up by more than 600%. 2001 saw the main stages of the Maserati relaunch completed with the Coupe and Spyder models proving a sales success. Ferrari and Maserati were represented in 43 countries worldwide. Ferrari saw a biggest sales increase in Austria up 43% while Canada was up 20%. Maserati, relaunched in several countries, saw sales in Finland and the Far East up by over 60%.
Another success for Ferrari saw the limited run Ferrari 550 Barchetta, approved, built and delivered in less than a year.
|Continuing delays with Lancia's new Thesis saloon, replacement for the now discontinued Kappa, has seen resources concentrated on eliminating the models teething problems and efforts concentrated on getting the saloon to the showrooms for its now planned September launch, leaving the proposed Stationwagon variant "on ice" for the immediate future.|
|Expected to be known as the Alfa Romeo 157, the replacement for the hugely successful 156 saloon will appear on a GM/Fiat developed platform, expected to be as used on the new GM Vectra, and is believed to be much more strongly influenced by GM engineering than was envisaged when the project was started.|
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