Fiat’s Boss, Switzerland and the Internet Rumour

His name must be one of the most discussed in motoring press since Lee Iacocca first saved Chrysler back in the 80’s but sat this morning, while nursing my first coffeeat the office, that Sergio Marchionne was planning on another big buy: Switzerland.

Once I’d mopped up the spluttered coffee I learnt that this was, infact, just another demonstration on the power of myth and the internet for peddling the rumour mill. A spoof newswire from Dow Jones was flying around emails and the news had travelled ‘overnight’ from the U.S to my leafy office in Kent that the Fiat boss had extended his megalomania beyond the auto-industry and into geography.

Apparently, Sergio  feels buying Switzerland would be a great way to rationalize a surfeit of brands and capacity, both for the car industry and Europe. The CEO of Fiat is hoping to line up some cash from the Italian government to fund the fusion of Fiat, Chrysler and Opel / Vauxhall (Saab is still uncertain) though there’s no mention as to whether tax money would fund his purchase of some choice ski slopes. Given the behaviour of Italy’s president I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he considered this a genuine idea and gladly handed over funds.

There’s also been no mention as yet if Marchionne is amused or even gives a flying… about the spoof report. The real question though is to whether the creation of such a giant car company is a good idea, VW’s chief has already called it “unhealthy” but is that just sour grapes. 

What do you reckon: would Fiat’s growth and acquisitions be a positive move for the auto-industry, wallowing in the mud as it is?

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