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Old 04-05-2009   #1
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Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

I am shocked to see that Fiat are considering a bid for the entire European operations of GM.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8032213.stm

I can see that there would be obvious cost savings through the extension of platform sharing (especially as there still remains some from the ill-fated agreement with GM) and the opportunity to "consolidate" the factory network, but I struggle to believe the EU would allow Fiat to become so dominant in the European car market (they would surely overtake the VAG group if this occurred?).

I would also be concerned that Fiat would potentially be taking on too much, especially considering they were practically bankrupt only 4 years ago.
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Old 04-05-2009   #2
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

There is already massive overcapacity in Europe. Synergy can only get them so far, and many of the products compete. There is a loyal following for Opel/Vauxhall products - strange but true - and the German government would not take kindly to closing factories.

Any resulting mega-company (it would be second only to Toyota) would have to put some other European manufacturer out of business to clear the decks for expansion. Which other company is likeliest to go under? None I'd say, given union power and government pride and political expedience.

But some other company has to go, and soon. Fiat has some important engineering solutions on the way, and some great new product, which will give it a boost. Id' not bet on all the French manufacturers still being there in three years.

And then there are the Koreans and soon the Chinese to contend with.

Interesting.
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Last edited by Ulpian; 04-05-2009 at 14:36.
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Old 04-05-2009   #3
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

From my side of the pond the view is that wouldn't 10 Downing Street rather see the Italians involved in British motoring than the Indians (Tata/Jaguar) or the Chinese (MG). Don't foget, Mini, R-R, and Bentley are all German-owned aren't they? Sure those companies continue on in some fashion and even Jag has reached the top of initial quality in the states (equal of Buick, outscoring Lexus). But I look at it as not only the opportunity of getting Abarth 500's over here but also the actual return of the Opel marquee to our shores, rahter than simple rebadges.
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Old 04-05-2009   #4
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

I'd like to know how much actual engineering input there is for Opel/Vauxhall from Britain? I always understood that the vast majority of the design and engineering is done in Germany, and the only British contribution, apart from a few individuals of course, consisted of the manufacture of some badges and possible the assembly of some components - or are the badges stamped out on the continent too? Anybody know?

I'm sure the British government would like to keep manufacturing plant open, but apart from some vans, and I think one car, there is nothing much done here now.
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Old 05-05-2009   #5
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Quote Originally Posted by mbarratt2 View Post
I am shocked to see that Fiat are considering a bid for the entire European operations of GM.
We were talking about this about a week ago here.

It probably wouldn't be the "entire European operations of GM", as Saab look likely to go their own way.

Also, I'm sure "the EU" would rather see Opel & Vauxhall owned by a European company rather than an American or Canadian one.
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Old 05-05-2009   #6
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

I suspect Fiat still smarts from the SEAT business - they wanted to get a grip on SEAT and cut it back to a profitable size but were prevented from doing so for political reasons. They sold out to VW - who were promptly allowed to do with the company what Fiat had intended to do - and SEAT has done rather well since. So Fiat has unfinished business in European expansion. Saab's a total basket case and any takeover of GM's European plants would have to be accompanied by a good deal of 'rationalisation', so there are still political hurdles to get over.
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Old 05-05-2009   #7
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

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Old 05-05-2009   #8
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Oh my. They made a joke about Fiats rusting and falling apart. How original. Haven't heard anything like that in the last 20 years. Well done them.
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Old 05-05-2009   #9
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Quote Originally Posted by Hellcat View Post
Oh my. They made a joke about Fiats rusting and falling apart. How original. Haven't heard anything like that in the last 20 years. Well done them.
Thats a really good point Hellcat, Fiat have done a top dollar job on putting that demon to bed... in total contrast to what Lancia did.
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Old 05-05-2009   #10
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Quote Originally Posted by Ulpian View Post
I'd like to know how much actual engineering input there is for Opel/Vauxhall from Britain? I always understood that the vast majority of the design and engineering is done in Germany, and the only British contribution, apart from a few individuals of course, consisted of the manufacture of some badges and possible the assembly of some components - or are the badges stamped out on the continent too? Anybody know?

I'm sure the British government would like to keep manufacturing plant open, but apart from some vans, and I think one car, there is nothing much done here now.
The Ellesmere Port plant builds 650 vehicles a day on average, with 46% of its production exported primarily to Spain, Germany and Italy. Astra 5 door hatch and a van. Luton builds a van. Some engineering has to travel between countries as most Opels are built backwards for you blokes and need conversion to RHD.

Quote Originally Posted by Hellcat View Post
Oh my. They made a joke about Fiats rusting and falling apart. How original. Haven't heard anything like that in the last 20 years. Well done them.
And most of us in the colonies hav not seen a new Fiat in 20 years. They have a hill to climb to prove that the bodies will last as loing as the powertrains, we last had X1/9, 124, 131 Mirafiore, and a handful of Stratos back then - most automatically joining a voluntary scrappage program. Teaming with Chrysler is also one strike against since Chrsyler owns remnants of AMC which imported one of only two cars more rustprone than Fiats - Renault/AMC Alliance the other Yugo (an actual Fiat design - whatever happened between design and construction is anyone's guess)
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Old 05-05-2009   #11
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Vauxhall are a bunch of turds. At least Fiat's are comfy to sit in and don't give you back ache for the next three weeks. :P

I don't think this should go ahead - Vauxhall Opel and Fiat really aren't in the same league, plus the job losses... so... that kind of speaks for itself.
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Old 05-05-2009   #12
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Unions want any new ownership to guarantee jobs as usual. If a company is going down it has to accept whatever it can get, and that acceptance includes the national governments and unions concerned. Whoever takes on Opel will shrink production, because the world has excess production and the losers are the ones affected first by natural wastage.

If nobody takes on Opel and Chrysler they will go down the pan, taking jobs and creditors - all of them - with them.

Fiat has been careful to design innovative and affordable cars and, since the thorough approach to rustproofing put in place in the 90s, they have put their one big demon to bed. Would that Ford and Mercedes had the same intent!

Fiat only really needs a large car platform from Opel, and the unions know this, which is why they are scared.

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And most of us in the colonies hav not seen a new Fiat in 20 years. They have a hill to climb to prove that the bodies will last as loing as the powertrains, we last had X1/9, 124, 131 Mirafiore, and a handful of Stratos back then - most automatically joining a voluntary scrappage program. Teaming with Chrysler is also one strike against since Chrsyler owns remnants of AMC which imported one of only two cars more rustprone than Fiats - Renault/AMC Alliance the other Yugo (an actual Fiat design - whatever happened between design and construction is anyone's guess)
Rusting Fiats are history, like Yugo. Times have moved on.
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Last edited by Ulpian; 05-05-2009 at 16:13.
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Old 05-05-2009   #13
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

The writer is just giving away A his age and B how long it's been since he went outside with that article.
You are far more likely to see a rusty Ford, Vauxhall or god forbid but thanks to the mid 90s build quality slump Mercedes than you are a Fiat.
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Old 05-05-2009   #14
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Do Fiat need a large car platform? They have the Croma (well the rest of Europe does) and the 159. That pretty much coveres the requirement for a this-gen large family car platform. I don't think Opel are any further ahead with their next gen or large car. Insignia should cover Opel for a few years to come.
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Old 05-05-2009   #15
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Re: Fiat to buy Vauxhall and Opel?

Thing is, the Croma platform is a Signum, and seems to carry a number of the inherent faults. It simply isn't good enough.

The Insignia certainly seems good enough though. Is the 159 really large?

I know large cars are not the way to go, but designing platforms seems, with engines, to be astonishingly expensive.

Cheaper to buy the company? I just don't know.

I'm fascinated by this dealing and know that the outcome will be astonishingly important for world car production, especially Fiat
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Last edited by Ulpian; 05-05-2009 at 17:29.
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