Chrysler-Fiat Merger

The Marriage

The Chrysler-Fiat merger seems to be more about Fiat than Chrysler contrary to what Obama had purposed in his announcement of the merger. The gains that the Italian automaker will assume include having access to American auto plants and service centers as well as the reintroduction of several of their models back into the American economy. All this as well as reaping any rewards that Chrysler gets in the process as they had an initial 35% stake in the American automaker which was increased to 58.5% in January of 2012. Fiat like Chrysler just a few years ago was in a terrible state after a failed merger with General Motors and is now on a rebound.

Chrysler is known for its minivans and its high performance line-up that has, in the past few years, been gaining momentum even though gas prices have gone up and the economy continues to plunge. The Chrysler-Fiat merger is supposedly aimed at getting Chrysler to produce more fuel efficient vehicles to offset the gas guzzlers that they currently have in their line-up. Those automobiles for the most part however, will be Fiats re-badged as Chryslers.

Fuel Economy

My big concern here is that the fuel efficiency definition that Chrysler is using in this merger really leaves something to be desired at least in my opinion. Chryslers plan in all of this is to produce vehicles that will get up to 40 miles per gallon. To me this does not sound impressive at all. Maybe in comparison to the 27 mile per gallon they are getting now, this would definitely be a step forward, but being that this is 2009, I think that we should have a much better perspective on what good fuel economy really is.

On the up-side of the fuel efficiency topic, Fiat is known for its fuel sipping vehicles and has many models that are ‘dual fuel’. These can run on standard gasoline or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). The Fiat Panda model boasts a $13 fill-up and a range of 170 miles while running on CNG. Maybe there is hope.

Take this into consideration. I have a 1976 Volkswagen Beetle. Keep in mind that this car is 36 years old. With the stock engine configuration, it gets roughly 30 miles per gallon. That’s already better than Chrysler is getting and with a few modifications, it could do much better. So what is the big hold up today that we cannot achieve what car makers did 36 years ago if not longer?

Fiat Panda Eco
Fiat Panda Eco

Quality

Another factor to take into consideration is quality. Fiat has never been known for a quality vehicle. My father had a small convertible Fiat when I was younger, and I can remember the car being torn apart more than it was together. They do not have a good reputation for quality as far as I have seen and most likely never will. So my concern is… how much will Chryslers already shaky quality be affected? Do not misunderstand me here; I am not saying that Chrysler vehicles are junk by any means. I have owned two of them in fact, and they have been very decent cars for the most part. There are, however, certain issues with quality that need to be addressed. These I will not get into as they are not pertinent to this subject.

Conclusion

Hopefully this merger of automakers does some good for Chrysler and gets them on the track to producing a fuel efficient automobile for the masses, but it seems that Fiats main concern in this deal is to get its feet (or tires) back in North America. Automaker mergers are like Hollywood marriages, there’s always more in the deal for one partner than the other and the divorce rate is staggering.

Fuel Economy Poll

Do you think that 40 mpg is a good goal for fuel effeciency?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

Alternative Fuels

Of the following alternative fuels which do you think has the best probability

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell
  • Ethanol
  • Methanol
  • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)
  • Pure Electric
See results without voting

Merger Poll

Do you think the Chrysler-Fiat Merger is a Good Match?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting

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Comments 4 comments

Murry Stapp 7 years ago

When you think Fiat,,,,remember Y-U-G-O! That was just another Fiat!


gibhenry 7 years ago

I live part of the year in Italy, where I've owned two Fiats (well used!), one a 1989 and the other a 1996, and both are incredibly reliable and fuel-efficient cars that are easily serviced by any small mechanic shop anywhere. If I were to buy a new car, it would be a Fiat.

The new Fiat 500 and Panda models are taking Italy by storm...beautiful Italian designs that appeal to the Italians' love of high-performance driving, all on a budget. The Fiat Multi-Jet engine has received international rave reviews and is installed in several non-Fiat makes (including an Opel, I believe).

My next-door neighbor just bought a Panda, and while Fiat-bashing is popular in Italy of course, he can't say enough good things about it. It's also available as a 4x4 off-road utility vehicle; many of the previous model Panda were owned and (ab)used by farmers.

The 500 (Cinquecento) is a cartoonish reprise of the 1972-vintage Italian equivalent of the Volkswagen in much the same was as the current Beetle is a cartoonish reprise of the German classic. And many, MANY of those pre-1973 Fiat 500s are still running around Italy, often still owned by their original owners (or their children) and maintained but not particularly restored. A nicely restored vintage Cinquecento commands sales prices in the range of $5000 today.

So, now that you know the truth about Fiats, do you think they would make a good fit with Chrysler?


Sean Leong profile image

Sean Leong 6 years ago from Malaysia

I owned a Fiat 127 back in 1975 and a Alfa Romeo 33 QV in 1993. Both car didn't give me headache all all. Whatever others say, I love Italian cars.


Achilles 6 years ago

For what it's worth, Fiat has a mission to take over Chrysler LLC in order to get back into the American Market. Mercedes tried this and ripped off Chrysler more than 50% of what they earned and taking the money back to Germany. Celebris scwandered a bunch of money fron Chrysler even though they wern't automotive. Now it's Fiat's turn! How can our goverment let this happen at the height of terribile economic times?

Just like the new heatlh care bill Obama passed, It either creates higher costs or leaves you witout anything at the end of the day!

"F" NAFTA, Foriegn accusations of American companies, CEO supremousy, and the lack of American integrity.

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