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Fiat Chrysler global HQ lands in London's ultra-posh West End

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:45:00 EST

It seems Fiat is bent on bolstering its image as a global automaker, as word has leaked out that the Italian/American conglomerate has chosen to locate its global headquarters in a rather swanky neighborhood in London. According to Bloomberg, the rental location on St. James Street in London's West End is a 10-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will fill up three complete floors of an office building that also houses The Economist magazine.
As a neutral location between Italy and the United States, the London-based headquarters makes sense, though, at $277 per square foot, this area is said to be the most expensive office space in the world. There's no mention of what FCA has actually agreed to pay for renting the space, but we're certain it isn't coming cheap.
Not surprisingly, Bloomberg also cites research indicating that the largest number of immigrants moving into London from January through August of this year hail from Italy, which makes sense considering the number of Italian executives and workers we'd expect would have to relocate to the UK in order to work at Fiat's new home. The company reportedly plans to be in place in London by the time it holds its next round of board meetings in October.

Fiat gives outgoing Ferrari chairman $35M severance package

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:02:00 EST

Luca di Montezemolo may not have wanted to leave Ferrari this way, but don't feel too bad for the departing chairman, because he'll be hitting the ground with a golden parachute so big that he'll never have to work again.
According to the latest reports, Fiat will pay Montezemolo 26.95 million euros (nearly $35 million) in severance pay. A little more than half of that will be paid in a lump sum of 13.71 million euros ($17.7M, equivalent to five times his annual salary) on January 31, 2015, with the rest to be paid within the next 20 years.
The payment is contingent on Montezemolo not going to work for a competitor, so don't expect to see him replacing Stephan Winkelmann at Lamborghini or Wolfgang Dürheimer at Bugatti any time soon. At least not until March 2017. Of course with that much cash on hand, the 67-year-old marquis need never work again, but considering how busy he's used to keeping himself, we'd be surprised if he didn't pop up again somewhere.

Montezemolo steps down, Marchionne steps up as chairman of Ferrari

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 09:13:00 EST

If the history of an automaker is divided up by the mandate of its leadership, then this is surely the end of an era for Ferrari. After repeatedly locking horns with Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne over a variety of issues, longtime Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has announced his resignation.
Montezemolo has a long history with both Fiat and Ferrari. He started his career at the former before moving over to the latter in 1973 (only a few years Fiat took over half of Ferrari), starting out as Enzo Ferrari's assistant. He was appointed head of the Scuderia the following year, driving the team to success and subsequently taking over all of the Fiat group's racing activities. After the Prancing Horse marque struggled in the wake of its founder's death in 1988, Montezemolo was appointed to take it over in '91 and has been at the helm ever since.
Following Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli's passing in 2003, both Montezemolo and Marchionne were named to the Fiat board. A year later, after the passing of Gianni's younger brother Umberto, Montezemolo was named chairman of the Fiat Group (to be succeeded six years later by Agnelli heir John Elkann) and Marchionne its chief executive.

Fiat 500X teased ahead of Paris debut

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:59:00 EST

One of the expected debuts at next month's Paris Motor Show will be the alleged platform-mate to the upcoming Jeep Renegade. That car, the Fiat 500X, has been subject to a fair share of speculation and spy photos, but Fiat has been mostly quiet on the matter. That is, until now.
The Italian manufacturer has released this 39-second teaser video which provides a first, fleeting glimpse of the new mini-CUV, allowing us to determine a few styling features.
First, the styling appears to be a rather significant departure from the polarizing looks of the 500L, with the rear end looking more akin to the standard 500. The front fascia is tweaked and looks ruggedized, with what looks like a protective treatment under the lower intake. The profile features a more dramatic greenhouse, with a significantly larger, aggressively raked D-pillar. The body rides noticeably higher, as well.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles targets mid-October IPO

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:31:00 EST

The merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is targeting October 13 to launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters assembled for a meeting in Rimini, Italy.
"The most likely date for the listing in the US is October 13," Marchionne said, according to Reuters.
Marchionne is trusting that the money made in the IPO will be contribute heavily his ambitious, $64-billion five-year growth plan, which will see FCA reboot Alfa Romeo and Maserati and expand Jeep's global presence. Should the IPO fall short, though, Marchionne has confirmed that "all decision [sic] on any capital increase will be taken by the board of FCA at the end of October."

Ram pickups to keep it steel through 2020

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:44:00 EST

One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is automakers' expanding use of aluminum, especially for vehicle bodies and platforms. While the lightweight metal has historically been the preserve of premium brands and sports cars, Ford shocked the industry when it announced that its 2015 F-150 would go aluminum-intensive for its new generation. As it turns out, the material change doesn't even mean a big jump in the prices for most of its trims. Possibly in reaction to the big change, General Motors is said to be using the lightweight metal in its next-gen trucks, too. That only leaves Ram as an open question among the domestics, and at least for now, the company is apparently in no hurry to push tin.
According to Reuters speaking with two, unnamed insiders, the Ram 1500 isn't getting an aluminum infusion until sometime after 2020. That's not to say the truck is going to be stagnant for the next half-decade or more, of course. According to Ram's five-year plan, there's a refresh for the 1500 coming in 2015 and much bigger changes on the way in 2017. Those same sources tell Reuters that further revisions aren't expected until at least 2021, which is when the aluminum could be added.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn't minced words about his thoughts on using the lightweight metal in pickups. "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck," he said in May. Having said that, Marchionne was clear that if the material turns out to be revolutionary in the segment, the company would be willing to follow.

This Or That: Fiat 500 Abarth vs. Ford Fiesta ST [w/poll]

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:31:00 EST



They're pretty darn similar. And yet our views are oh so different.
If you guys could read the transcripts of our editors' chat room, you'd know that we're a pretty argumentative bunch. It's always good-spirited stuff (well, usually), but when we're not obsessively covering this or that, we're usually fighting about one car being better than another. We're all enthusiasts here, and our automotive tastes run the gamut from the weird and unusual to the decidedly mainstream - we all feel strongly about specific cars in a given segment. While it usually makes for good conversation, if we're passionate enough, it can turn into a tomato-throwing showdown.

Fiat 500X gets up close and personal

Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:01:00 EST

Jeep's introduction of the Renegade just months ago at the Geneva Motor Show took the brand into new territory. Not only is it smaller than anything else Jeep makes, but it's also the first Jeep to be made outside of North America. But the Renegade is only half the equation.
Based on the same platform but with a much more rounded appearance will be a new Fiat crossover (at least tentatively) dubbed the 500X. Expected to arrive later this year, the 500X will replace the discontinued Suzuki-based Sedici and join the existing 500 hatchback, 500C convertible and 500L in Fiat's growing family of Cinquecento-themed models.
Pictured here in the latest batch of spy shots (sent to our photog by a sharp-eyed civilian, hence the slight quality issues), we can see the heavily disguised prototype up close, both inside and out. From the outside you can discern a much bubblier shape and rounded details than the Renegade, while the interior (apart from all the loose wires and warning signs) looks to adopt similar cues to the existing 500 family members, from the color-keyed dashboard panel to the rounded switchgear.

Fiat shareholders green-light Chrysler merger, end of an Italian era

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:03:00 EST

Fiat has just taken a major step away from its Italian heritage, as shareholders officially approved the company's merger with Chrysler. That move will lead to the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, a Dutch company based in Great Britain and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Automotive News Europe.
The company captured the two-thirds majority at a special shareholders meeting, although there are still a few situations that could defeat the movement. According to ANE, roughly eight percent of shareholders opposed the merger, which is a group large enough to defeat the plan, should they all exercise their exit rights outlined in the merger conditions.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chairman John Elkann (pictured above, right, with CEO Sergio Marchionne and Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo), the great-great-grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, reaffirmed his family's commitment to the company beyond the merger. Exor, the Agnelli family's holding company, still maintains a 30-percent stake in Fiat.

Road Race Motorsports rolls out Fiat 500 M1 Turbo Tallini Competizione

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:45:00 EST

We've seen some pretty radical modifications based on the Fiat 500 - from the Abarth 695 Biposto to that ridiculous idea to put a Ferrari engine in the back of a Cinquecento - but we never seem to get tired of it. On that note, we bring you the Fiat 500 M1 Turbo Tallini Competizione.
Built by Road Race Motorsports, the M1 takes a tarmac-rally approach and features an extensive list of modifications. For starters, the engine has been retuned to produce 250 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, helping to knock a second off the 0-60 time (7.2 seconds from the factory). Upgraded brakes net a 20-percent improvement in stopping distance, and Road Race has put a special emphasis on high-speed stability and cornering performance.
Other modifications include a limited-slip differential, carbon-kevlar clutch and a reworked suspension with Bilstein shocks, stiffer bushings and upgraded sway bar, with 16-inch wheels wearing Toyo Proxes rubber. In addition to a full carbon-fiber widebody kit that helps cut 120 pounds off the curb weight, Road Race has given the M1 a new front air dam, side skirts, hood vents, brake ducts and rear spoiler. The interior has similarly been upgraded with racing buckets, five-point harnesses and a roll cage.