Fiat Heeds Chuck Berry, Will Return Stateside

10 June 2008

TURIN: It has taken twenty-five years for Italian auto giant Fiat [Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino] to emulate Chuck Berry's 1959 hit Back in the USA. The company is in process of evaluating stateside manufacturing facilities – either subcontracting to a partner or building its own plant.

Speaking at a meeting of the Council for the United States & Italy in Venice, Fiat ceo Sergio Marchionne said: "The US market is very large, and we're not looking to occupy a premier position. But I think we do have a couple of brands and products that we can sell successfully there."

Specifically Marchionne has in mind the sporty Alfa Romeo brand and the highly successful Fiat 500 subcompact (pictured above).

Although no timetable has been set, Marchionne expects to be producing at least one of the brands by 2010.

"We need to make sure that when we enter the US we're able to produce what we need." He added that he is "having discussions with everybody". Chrysler and Ford are possible partners.

Much has happened in terms of product calibre since Fiat quit the US market in 1983, driven-out by its reputation for poor quality, exemplified by the acronym, 'Fix It Again, Tony'.

Data sourced from Business Week (online); additional content by WARC staff