Wednesday, January 21, 2009

fiat and chrysler

I suppose you have to be an Italophile to be excited about FIAT buying a 35 percent stake in Chrysler the other day. FIAT, you may recall, was supposed to have an arrangement with GM a while back, but the latter backed out of the deal when FIAT hit the skids a few years ago. Now the roles have been reversed, and the Italians are riding to at least the partial rescue of another troubled American firm.

One question is what they will call the FIAT-inspired cars that arrive at Chrysler dealers in the next few years. As of now only high-end Italian cars (Maserati, Ferrari, etc.) are available in the United States. If you wanted (say) a Punto, Bravo, or 500, you had to buy in in Italy and sneak it home in your suitcase. But these names won't mean much to American buyers. We used to joke, when I was younger, that it would be fun to drive around town in a Chevy Cappuccino. I think the name is still available, isn't it?


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