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Discussion Starter #1
The unionized workers at the Turin fiat plant have begun to see the light and have approved a more modern contract, "encouraging" them to do more and better work, with less goofing off. They must have been feeling the pressure from claims by Fiat that the manufacturing of Fiat cars (and other models) could easily be done in other more productive countries. Maybe the buying into Chrysler was a part of this.

Hopefully, this better financial picture might mean that Fiat could better afford to improve the Alfa line. Every little thing helps.

Now if Boeing could only get the Italians to improve the design/workmanship of their portions of the troubled 787.
 

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Here is the Google translation:

Alfa Romeo, VW: the sale closer?
Despite the denials, the negotiations for the sale of Alfa Romeo continues. The top Volkswagen today at the Lingotto: we have proof!


A few days after the Detroit Motor Show dried denials regarding a possible sale of the brand Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen Group, the Parties to the Lingotto [in Turin] seems that something is moving in this direction. The conditional is a must, but some sources have assured Motori.it the presence of top VW in Turin last night and this morning.

To confirm the simple "rumors," there are photos of six Porsche Panamera badged Wolfsburg and Leipzig (Porsche factory) in the car park of the former Fiat factory (from the site posted lastpetrolheads ), from which they were seen leaving the manager of Opel. Were noted and the measures "safe" similar to those taken in 2009 during the visit of the American consul, after the Fiat-Chrysler.

If, however, late on Wednesday an agreement for the sale was considered by a well-informed "done deal", the low profile maintained by the parties would rather think of the negotiations to a halt, or at least to nothing done. In late morning, in fact, the delegation has departed without any official statement from the Lingotto. On the other hand at this moment the attention is pointed on the results of the last quarter 2010 . Our sources, however, have had occasion to speak with a manager that VW has reported a rather tense situation. In short, rather difficult negotiations.

But why should sell Fiat Alfa? With this operation, the Lingotto would be raised from the heavy financial burden for the relaunch of the brand, and together they would create a large cash on hand, required to reach 51% of Chrysler already by 2011, confirmed by the same objective Marchionne. For its part, Volkswagen has added a very strong brand, with a connotation that is lacking today in the sport markedly even emblazoned Audi .

Ultimately, we received reports that testify to a discrepancy between the official version, which depicts the affair as "a joke", and the real positions of the two companies. This approach is certainly not the first nor will be the last (after all Chrysler before the deal's been two years of negotiations "secret"), but is evidence of a stable contact between the two parties.

Andrea Tomelleri
27/01/2011

 

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Typically, I prefer to stay out of political issues on the forum but I will say that I see some very negative precedents being set forth with this contract. What is "encouraged" now will be "expected" later. The workers are essentially being asked to work more for the same amount of pay. This is just the long way of saying everyone is getting a pay cut. And this is usually the first ingredient that leads to poorer quality in products.

Most people who have owned Alfa and have become fans of them will advocate that their cars are well built and do not deserve the reputation given to them by the greater public. Del, to insinuate that the people who build Fiats and Alfas were "goofing off" before doesn't say anything positive about the products that a lot of the people here have bought.

"Seeing the light" in this case, has other implications that go beyond the new contract these workers have agreed to. The best Italian cars, in my opinion, were built under union contracts...and I will wait to see if the new contract will create conditions in the future that produce the same results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
In my experience of owning Fiats and Alfas for close to 5 decades, and maybe a million miles of driving them, I feel comfortable in my assessment that while they are really fun to drive, much like the BMC products (Morris Mini Minor, Austin Cooper S, MG1100, Austin America, Austin Healey, MGA) I also owned, the reliability, finish and workmanship was sometimes lacking, as like those BMC products. An assessment which is shared by many others.

I might add that now Boeing is suffering from workmanship and assembly problems with the Italian made 787 sections. Unfortunately, many are not surprised. Maybe the workers were a little blase about the amount of quality expected by their customer. Especially with aircraft, a certain pride of workmanship is required for the safety of those who will fly on them. Is this similar to the reputation of the car industry?

We shall see how the new contract and working philosophy works out with the new products. Remember, the Fiat workers did accept the new contract. They did agreed to deliver products of quality and with profitable production rates. No manufacturer can ask more (of course, the Company must come up with a product they can feel pride in). I think they can do it, as they realize that they are in competition with the rest of the world. Some would say one could hope that they could emulate with pride the workmanship and production of, say, the Japanese and Koreans.

I am, of course, looking forward to both the new Fiat 500 (which I have seen in Italy, looks well built), and new Alfas. Don't know if I will be enthused about them if they are owned by VW, though, lol.
 
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