TURIN – Fiat S.p.A.'s powertrain division will acquire full control of a Fiat-General Motors Co. joint manufacturing venture that builds diesel engines in Poland.
Fiat said full ownership of the factory will allow it to better use the factory's capacity. The Italian automaker plans to start building a two-cylinder 900cc gasoline engine at the plant. The engine will debut later this year on the Fiat 500 minicar.
GM said that, without management control of the joint venture, it didn't feel it was necessary to maintain a shareholding in the manufacturing operation.
Fiat and GM Europe said on Jan. 27 that they have signed a preliminary share transfer agreement for Fiat Powertrain Technologies to acquire GM's 50 per cent share in the venture, which is called Fiat-GM Powertrain Polska and is located in Bielsko-Biala about 350km south of Warsaw.
The factory will continue to produce 1.3-liter diesel engines for Fiat and GM and will continue to be managed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies.
GM uses the 1.3-liter engine for Opel/Vauxhall models including the its top-selling Astra and Corsa cars as well as the Meriva and Agila minivans.
Fiat uses the engine in the Fiat Punto, Panda and 500 cars and Idea and Doblo vans. Fiat's Alfa Romeo offers the engine in the Mito while Lancia uses the powertrain in its Ypsilon car and Musa minivan.
GM to keep shared IP rights
The factory became a shared property of Fiat and GM in February 2005 when the two companies terminated their five-year alliance and is the last remaining tie between the two companies.
There will be no impact on the factory's day-to-day manufacturing operations.
In 2005, GM paid Fiat $2 billion to cancel a put option that allowed Fiat to force GM to buy 80 percent of Fiat group's automotive operations. GM had bought 20 percent of Fiat Auto for $2.4 billion in 2000.
As part of the 2005 separation agreement, GM received a 50 percent stake in Fiat's Bielsko-Biala engine plant as well co-ownership of the intellectual property of the 1.3-liter diesel engine, which has been built at the factory since April 2003.
GM also received co-ownership of a 1.9-liter diesel produced by Fiat in Pratola Serra, Italy and by GM Europe in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
GM will continue to co-own the intellectual property rights for the 1.3- and 1.9-liter engines.