Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was created in 2014 from the merger of Italian industrial giant Fiat with Chrysler Group of the US. It was, as it turned out, not the end of a long and often bumpy journey for both companies, but only a temporary pitstop. At the end of 2019, yet another merger was agreed, this time with European competitor PSA Groupe, that will create the world's 4th largest auto manufacturer. That process will continue the transformation of what was originally Italy's dominant industrial giant Fiat into a truly international company, headquartered no longer in Milan but most likely in Amsterdam or London. Yet the Fiat name is still closely linked to Italy's modern identity. Roughly half of all cars on the road in Italy still carry the Fiat badge, and the group once held a broad swathe of investments in other industrial sectors as well as the media. But the old order has changed. Fiat found its main car business under severe pressure in the early 2000s, largely as a result of its dependence on Europe in general and the Italy in particular. Several attempts to bolster the business failed to prevent substantial losses, and the company came perilously close to bankruptcy. Fiat finally regained its stability by the end of 2007 and began looking actively at expansion into other areas, notably back to the US, a market it had quit altogether more than a decade earlier. That led to a merger with the equally troubled Chrysler. The majority of Fiat's non-automotive interests were demerged at the beginning of 2011 into a separate company, while luxury auto brand Ferrari was spun off in 2016. Yet the performance of Fiat's heritage brands - Fiat itself and its super-charged sideline Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati - has remained highly mercurial. Fiat sales have been falling steadily - to under 1.5m vehicles globally in 2018 - and are almost entirely reliant on different versions of the core 500 model. Despite several relaunches, Alfa Romeo managed only 122k cars worldwide in 2018, while Lancia has been phased out entirely outside Italy. Shipments of high end Maserati fell by a quarter in 2019 to 27k. Thus the need for a further alliance with what is now the regional powerhouse of PSA of France. Mike Manley is currently CEO of Fiat Chrysler. Revenues for 2019 were €108.2bn with net profit of €2.7bn. Total shipments were 4.42m vehicles. However North America - the old Chrysler Group business - contributes more than half of vehicles, two thirds of revenues, and more than 90% of profits.
Capsule checked 14th February 2020
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Historical profile information for Fiat Group
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Jul 2020: "The Legend". Leo Burnett's Brazilian office had lots of fun resurrecting Elvis Presley for this entertaining extended spot for Fiat, still one of top three auto brands locally. That's not a claim the Italian icon can make in many other countries outside its homeland, which helps to justify the lavish production values. Some 600 cast and crew members were involved over six days. Celebrated impersonator Dean Z - world champion at America's Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest - plays the King with the assistance of some extensive (and not entirely successful) CGI. The whole thing zips along at cracking pace too. "A lenda se superou" translates as "the legend surpasses itself".
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Jul 2020: PSA Groupe and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have settled on a name for their soon-to-complete merger, expected in 1Q 2021. The name of the new corporate umbrella will be Stellantis. The new name, developed by Publicis Groupe, is derived from "the Latin verb 'stello' meaning 'to brighten with stars'," said both companies. "It draws inspiration from this new and ambitious alignment of storied automotive brands and strong company cultures that in coming together are creating one of the new leaders in the next era of mobility."
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Mar 2020: Auto manufacturers across Europe have begun to shut down production to reduce the spread of coronavirus. PSA Groupe and Fiat Chrysler announced the suspension of all manufacturing in the region, while Renault shut all 12 of its French factories and Volkswagen shuttered plants in the worst hit countries of Italy and Spain. Ford and Nissan also closed some operations in Europe, mainly in Spain.
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Oct 2019: Spurned earlier this year by Renault (or at least by Renault's French government shareholders), Fiat Chrysler has turned instead to Renault's arch-rival rival PSA. Just a day after news they were in talks first broke in the Wall Street Journal, terms for a full merger of equals were agreed by both companies' boards. PSA's Carlos Tavares will become CEO of the combined entity, with FCA's John Elkann as chairman. The all-share deal is being structured as a merger of equals, with each group's current shareholders ending up with 50% of the resulting business. Exor, the investment company for Fiat's Agnelli family, of which Elkann is chairman, will be the biggest shareholder in the group with 14.5%. The Peugeot family and its Chinese partners Dong Feng Motors will each have 6%. Assuming all goes according to plan, the merger would create a group with sales of around 8.7m vehicles annually, displacing General Motors as the global #4 manufacturer.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Oct 2019: "Alive". Turn up the sound! This spectacular film for Maserati and Pennzoil automobile lubricants really deserves to be seen on a movie screen not your smartphone. PR agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe is behind the project, but the superb design and animation - the entire film was created in CG - is by creative team Shynola at Nexus Studios. They acknowledge the cinematic influence of Alien, Star Wars and Solaris; but you might also notice more than a few conceptual similarities to "Birth", an ad BBH did a few years ago for the Audi R8. Still, this is a stunning piece of work, thrilling in its power and intensity.
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