Five years ago Fiat was a "basketcase", said Karl West in the Daily Mail. But under Sergio Marchionne it's become the "potential kingmaker in the transformation of the global auto industry".
You have to "admire the audacity", said Nils Pratley in The Guardian. He has agreed to buy a stake in Chrysler once it emerges from bankruptcy, and plans to merge it with General Motors' European operations (which include Vauxhall in Britain and Opel in Germany) into a new entity along with Fiat.
The new group would sell six million cars a year and be the world's No. 2 car maker behind Toyota. Marchionne wants to create a "ruthlessly efficient" operator that would be a move away from the current set-up, said Allister Heath in City AM: a "nationalistic" approach to car making that has resulted in "smallish, inefficient" producers and left the Western car industry with far too much capacity.
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Will it happen as envisaged? Marchionne will have to fend off regulators, potential rivals for Opel and politicians. In Germany this week, the government insisted he guarantee the future of local plants. This is "a game of politics, not industrial logic", said Nils Pratley in The Guardian. And assuming the deal is done, said Jeremy Warner in The Independent, history shows it's "virtually impossible" to build scale by snapping up overseas rivals. This looks like "a triumph of hope over experience".
F: €8.07; 12m change -46%
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