Italian Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi said the government will soon have a talk with Fiat S.p.A. boss Sergio Marchionne over his suggestion to move the carmaker's headquarters to the United States after merging with Chrysler.
The suggestion of moving Fiat to the U.S. sparked outrage in Italy, where Marchionne is pushing through a contested labor deal as part of a project to invest EUR20 billion ($27.18 billion) to boost productivity at its loss-making Italian car plants.
Marchionne has plans to merge Italy's main industrial group and Chrysler in two or three years after a deep restructuring and he suggested at a recent industry conference that the new company could be based in the United States.
Sacconi said on Italian television that he is “confident” the government can hold a meeting in the coming days so as to verify the state of investments in Italy and the prospects of integration between Fiat and Chrysler.
Industry Minister Paolo Romani told daily Corriere della Sera that the head of the carmaker must remain in Turin, Fiat’s hometown. Fiat took a Chrysler stake under a 2009 U.S. government rescue plan. Fiat holds 25 percent and is moving to take majority ownership and then merge the two groups, sparking concern among Italian politicians and unions. [via autonews - sub. required]