Fiat's road to recovery won't be easy. Some analysts say that Fiat puts too much faith in the healing powers of the new Punto. Competition in the supermini segment is tougher than when the first Punto arrived in 1993. For example, Ford is bringing out a new Fiesta this autumn and Toyota's New Yaris is doing well.
Some of those analysts expect Fiat to spin off its passenger-car division, like Volvo did. But it is hard to believe that Fiat Chairman Paolo Fresco will imitate Leif Johansson and walk away from the auto industry.
A broad strategic alignment with Ford (or maybe DaimlerChrysler or Mitsubishi) is possible. But the same emotions that caused the Fiat-Ford talks to fail 12 years ago are still there. Neither side will want to be junior partner.
Fiat's future lies in its products - the right cars at the right time, that sixth sense for the market that has allowed Fiat to survive for 100 years. It was a product revolution under Paolo Cantarella that kept Fiat Auto independent in the 1990s.
With its new flexible platform strategy, Fiat Auto may be poised to do it again. Don't expect the division to be sold off or absorbed into another company until it has run out of alternatives.