Drive Type: Manual
Model: Beetle - Classic
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Clarklake, Michigan, United States
The throw-down between Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and Volkswagen has heated up in earnest. According to Bloomberg, Fiat and Chrysler are now offering current Volkswagen owners in the US $1,000 rebates to trade in their ride. It's the latest in a series of shots Marchionne has taken at his German rival. As you may recall, the Fiat executive entered into a spat with Volkwagen board chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn in October after the duo called for Marchionne's resignation from presidency of the European Automotive Manufacturers Association (AECA). At the time, the Volkswagen executives were quoted as saying Fiat would not survive the European economic downturn.
In response, Marchionne called the German executives "reprehensible," and accused Volkswagen of using a pricing strategy that has created created a "bloodbath" in the EU. Volkswagen has taken to steep discounting to carve out ever-larger slices of market share in Europe, but the company has a much smaller foothold in the US. Marchionne may be trying to hit Volkswagen where the manufacturer is weakest with the new Fiat new incentive program.
Late last week, the Fiat executive was voted to a second term as ACEA president.
The United Auto Workers have called a decision by the National Labor Relations Board allowing anti-UAW employees at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga the right to defend voting down unionization at the plant "an outrage."
You'll recall that the union was defeated by a vote of 712 to 626 in a contentious February election. The UAW claims the outcome was unfairly swayed by pro-business, anti-union forces, including Senator Bob Corker and political advocate Grover Norquist.
This new decision by the NLRB essentially gives workers backed by the anti-UAW National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum a formal voice in the impending hearing on the UAW's appeal of the vote.
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.