Rumors have long suggested that the Fiat Group was interested in spinning off its automotive operations from the rest of the company. In actuality, the Italian industrial giant did the exact opposite.
One of the many announcements made today during the roll-out of Fiat’s five-year plan was that Fiat Group S.p.A. will retain the company’s automotive holdings, including Fiat autos, Fiat light commercial vehicles, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, and Maserati. Fiat Group will also retain the portion of its powertrain division responsible for developing engines for consumer vehicles.
The remainder of the companies, however, will be grouped into a new public firm called Fiat Industrial S.p.A. True to its name, the company will focus on industrial offerings, including Iveco trucks, Case New Holland tractors and construction equipment, and Irisbus coaches (once part-owned by Renault). Also grouped into the new firm are the remainder of Fiat’s powertrain group, a number of suppliers (including Magneti Marelli), and a pair of publishing houses.
The move, it seems, is mostly accounting-based. Automotive operations represented nearly 52.5 percent of Fiat Group’s revenue in 2010, and nearly 44.4 percent of its trading profit. Additionally, reorganizing the company allows it to launch new stock to fund future expansions. In reality, this will mean more to beancounters than it potentially will to those looking to buy a Fiat (or Chrysler) vehicle.
Spinning the industrial operations, it seems, offered at least one additional benefit: Fiat S.p.A. holds the trademark to the Fiat name, which is used on Fiat automobiles. No product from within Fiat Industrial’s portfolio is badged, sold, or marketed as a Fiat. Had the auto group been separated, it would have needed to license the Fiat name from the other company.
Source: Fiat, Automotive News