TURIN -- If someone had told me that Chrysler would rescue Fiat within two years of their tie-up, I would have said, "Smettila di bere prima di pranzo" -- stop drinking before lunchtime.
What has happened since 2009, when Fiat took control of Chrysler? Actually, Chrysler is marginally ahead of what CEO Sergio Marchionne expected in his original restructuring plan.
The main problems are here in Europe: aging Fiat vehicles, Europe's faltering economy, and the sovereign debt and euro crises.
Sales in Italy this year are spiraling down to a 15-year low. Fiat's Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Lancia brands compound the market's weakness with aging products. Fiat sales and market share will continue to erode.
A Nov. 3 headline in the Italian daily Libero Quotidiano summed up the view here of Fiat's and Chrysler's sales: "Fiat on the hand-brake in Italy, but Chrysler applies the turbo."