Chrysler announced this morning that the beleaguered automaker has entered into a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA, giving both companies access to each others' products and markets. Fiat will also lend a hand in developing a business plan to present to the US Treasury; bringing to bear experience gained through the Italian auto giant's own restructuring. Overnight, Chrysler gets access to a range of small, fuel-efficient cars that are nothing like what is currently offered in Pentastar showrooms. Fiat's engineering will be ported over to some Chrysler manufacturing sites, keeping the plants busy and offering both brands ample capacity for the parts they will need to build cars.
For its efforts, Fiat will get a 35 percent equity interest in Chrysler and a way for the Italian automaker to re-enter the American market incognito by lending Chrysler the small, efficient cars it's sorely lacking. The partnership will go the other way, as well, with Chrysler vehicles gaining access to other markets through Fiat's distribution muscle. The UAW is on board, as are CEOs Marchionne and Nardelli. It's far more exciting to think of the vehicles that might come this way from Fiat, but who knows, maybe some market, somewhere, will discover it can't get enough of the Sebring.