LUCA CIFERRI

Marchionne 3.0 – the Alfa patriot

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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Sergio Marchionne's mantras are like liquid, meaning they – like the Fiat-Chysler CEO – continually change as the global auto business evolves.

We had Marchionne 1.0, who in June 2004 was called back to his native Italy to turn around the near-dead Fiat Group, by far the country's largest industrial conglomerate. As the son of an immigrant returning to his home country, he tried to instill in his struggling Italy operations the best he had learned from abroad.

Marchionne 2.0 debuted in June 2009 when he decided to try to save Chrysler Group from oblivion. Today Chrysler helps to financially support the Fiat mothership that's being dragged down by recession-hit Europe.

Marchionne 2.0 was much more North American. This version tapped into the CEO's more than 30 years spent in Canada, resulting in a leader who was unable to accept the slow, archaic decision making in Europe and particularly in Italy.

And now comes Marchionne 3.0, a true patriot of Italy who recently told the Financial Times that during his watch as Fiat CEO there would never be an Alfa Romeo model built outside of Italy.

This is great news for Fiat's underutilized plants in Italy.

But maybe Marchionne 3.0 should have had a talked with Marchionne 2.0. Why? Because nine months ago the CEO announced an agreement to have Mazda build Alfa's new rear-wheel-drive spider in Japan.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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