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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rises from the ashes

Name dropping: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles features a new, simplified logo that steps away from the traditional branding used by each car-maker.

Fiat and Chrysler join names as new corporate structure takes shape

Fiat logo31 Jan 2014

By BARRY PARK

FIAT’S long-running takeover of US car-making giant Chrysler has taken a big step forward with the announcement that the two brands will stand as one giant entity under a new name.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as the world’s newest car-making giant is now known, will be based in the Netherlands, settle its accounts in Britain, and list on the US and Italian stock exchanges.

The renaming includes a new-look, simplified logo that replaces the Chrysler pentagram, and the Fiat shield, at the top of the global corporate headquarters.

“Today is one of the most important days in my career at Fiat and Chrysler,” said Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of the once-separate brands said in a statement announcing the restructure.

“Five years ago we began to cultivate a vision that went beyond industrial cooperation to include full cultural integration at all levels,” he said.

“We have worked tenaciously and single-mindedly to transform differences into strengths and break down barriers of nationalistic or cultural resistance.

“Today we can say that we have succeeded in creating solid foundations for a global automaker with a mix of experience and know-how on a level with the best of our competitors.

“An international governance structure and listings will complete this vision and improve the group’s access to global markets bringing obvious financial benefits.” The merger comes at a critical time for Fiat as earnings in its home market, Europe, slumped to €2.0 billion ($A3.1 billion) in 2013 as it struggled to sell enough cars.

According to Fiat’s full-year financial results, released late last week, the Italian car-maker earned €943 million, but without Chrysler’s contribution the company would have made a €911 million loss.

In contrast, Chrysler’s earnings for 2013 topped $US2.8 billion ($A3.2 billion) on a big jump in sales, including a 20 percent lift in exports.

“A new chapter of our story begins with the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles,” said Fiat chairman John Elkann.

“A journey that started over a decade ago, as Fiat sought to ensure its place in an increasingly complex marketplace, has brought together two organisations each with a great history in the automotive industry and different but complementary geographic strengths,” he said.

“FCA allows us to face the future with a renewed sense of purpose and vigour.” Under the restructure, expected to be completed by the end of this year, Fiat shareholders will receive one FCA share for each share they hold in the former standalone Italian car-maker.

“Today’s decisions, and the jurisdiction of the parent company in particular, are based on the needs and opportunities resulting from the creation of a large, global auto group through the union of Fiat and Chrysler,” the newly merged company said in a statement released overnight.

“The existing organisation based on four operating regions will remain central to the operating and management structure of the new group.

“All activities forming part of FCA will continue with the same mission, including manufacturing plants in Italy and elsewhere around the globe, with no impact on headcount.

FCA said it would present a long-term business plan to the financial community in early May.

Fiat’s full integration with Chrysler follows on from a deal struck and settled earlier this month with the US car-maker’s remaining shareholder, the United Auto Workers union, to mop up the stake in the US car-maker it did not own for $US4.35 billion ($A4.94 billion).

Fiat, along with the union and the Canadian government, each took a stake in Chrysler after the US car-maker plunged into bankruptcy following the 2008 global credit crunch.

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