Even though Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has repeatedly said he won’t pick up, leave Italy and take his Fiat factories with him, his occasional pointed comments about the challenges of running operations in that country has worried Italian politicians dealing with government, economic and labor-force seizures the past few years. After Fiat Industrial announced it was moving its headquarters to London and it was rumored that the car division’s HQ would move to Auburn Hills, MI after the merger with Chrysler, it was worried that more Italian jobs would disappear.
Industry Ministry Flavio Zanonato sought assurances from both Marchionne and Fiat chairman John Elkann that they would “commit to the country,” and it appears those assurances have been given. Unemployment in Italy is at 20-year-highs and car sales are at 20-year-lows, but Marchionne said “We have confirmed our commitments for Italy” and the company will hold steady on employment. The nation and the corporation said they would work together to “relaunch Italy’s car market,” although it’s not clear what either of them will be able to do beyond wait it out. At the very least, Fiat’s stance means there’s one less ball the country’s politicians have to juggle.