The global headquarters of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV – a merger of Italian carmaker Fiat and American unit Chrysler Group LLC – will be located at London's West End. According to Jonathan Stern, a partner at Mellersh & Harding and a broker, FCA has inked a deal to lease three floors in a building on St. James's Street – which is around a 10-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
Fiat and Chrysler chief executive opted to locate FCA’s new base in London to represent the group's ambitions to become a global auto power. Likewise, London will be a neutral place between Turin, Italy and Detroit, Michigan. London’s West West End is considered as the most expensive office location in the world with a lease rate of $277 a square foot.
Despite that, only 3.5 percent of workspace in the West End is unoccupied or vacant, according to broker Savills Plc said this month. Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank LLP, disclosed that Fiat's decision to be based in London led to a residential buying spree in the city, with Italians as the largest group of foreigners buying homes in its best districts in the first eight months of 2014.
Once it settles down, FCA will then go out its way to implement its $71-billion expansion plan that targets to make the carmaker more competitive against global and bigger rivals like Toyota Motors Corp., Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co.
The merger between Fiat and Chrysler to set for finalization in October, with FCA shares bound to commence trading on the New York Stock Exchange on the 13th. FCA expects to holds its first board meeting at the new offices in late October.