Fiat has increased its stake in Chrysler Group by 5% to 58.5 percent

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 5, 2012

Italy-based Fiat SpA raised its share in Chrysler Group by 5 percent, triggered by its commitment to manufacture the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan at a Chrysler facility in Illinois, the companies disclosed. Fiat now controls 58.5 percent of Chrysler. On Wednesday, the two companies had formally committed to the U.S. Treasury Department to produce the highly fuel-efficient vehicle.

Along with proving late last month to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the vehicle can provide an unadjusted combined fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon, the commitment triggered the 5 percent ownership increase.

In June, Fiat acquired management control and a 20 percent share in Chrysler, saving the U.S.-based company as it emerged from a U.S. government-sponsored bankruptcy. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Fiat and Chrysler, commented that the acquisition of additional 5 percent of Chrysler is a "fundamental step" in completing the merger of the two companies.

The remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler is still with healthcare trust VEBA, which is affiliated with the United Auto Workers union. The UAW represents around 26,000 Chrysler workers in the U.S. The shares of ownership are on a fully diluted basis.

In 2011, Fiat raised its share in Chrysler five times, each achieved after meeting the requirements set in an agreement with the U.S. Treasury in 2009. The requirements include reaching $1.5 billion in Chrysler vehicle sales outside the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Fiat enthusiasts in North America are likely to be excited with the news that a redesigned version of the Fiat 500 is coming to its shores. While the first Fiat 500 was made 50 years ago, the Fiat 500 Sport is a good example of how the brand uses a stylish yet smart design. Named as the Cinquecento, this new version is manufactured exclusively in Italy but has been customized for the North American market. It brings with it the timeless value that the brand is known while continuing to have the personal identity combined with craftsmanship that is truly world-class.

Though the Fiat 500 was equipped with excellent technology, fitted with good interior features, and had remarkable driving dynamics, all of these have been cleverly modified in the new version to fit the North American market. It is therefore expected to deliver customers an excellent alternative when it comes to small cars that display style and have a high value.

Powering it will be the same engine in the Fiat 500 Sport which is the top-of-the-line 1.4-liter engine with the brand’s very own advanced MultiAir technology. With this technology, power output is increased by as much as 10% when compared to engines of the same type. However, fuel economy is improved and CO2 emissions are reduced. Each of the distinct modifications was done specifically for this market as customers typically want a vehicle that displays distinct fashion and style while having functionality and practicality.

Thus the Fiat 500 for instance has a sport-tuned suspension and this is complemented by the front fascia and the rear fascia having a sportier style with its grille now larger and with that flared aerodynamic treatment.

Meanwhile, the Cinquecento comes with a new body-side sill cladding in order to improve its athletic look and it even has those 16-inch wheels in aluminum and the Mineral Gray painted pockets. In order to round off the sporty look of this new offering, the brake calipers have been painted in Performance Red while its shadow-line window trim is in gloss black.

Helping as well is the chromed exhaust tip. To experience the outside world even better, the Fiat 500 Sport will come with the SkyDome power sun roof. For the Fiat 500, offered are the Lounge and Pop trims that come with its own exterior cues and that even have their own equipment choices. Orders for the Fiat 500, in the Lounge, Pop, and Sport variants, will be accepted starting later this year. The Fiat 500C meanwhile will be accepting orders starting in the spring of 2011.

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