Fleet News

GM/Fiat link set to bring fleet savings

GENERAL Motors and Fiat stand to save billions of pounds on components, engines and transmissions - and pass the savings on to UK fleets in Vauxhall, Saab, Fiat and Alfa Romeo front-end prices - following the formation of a new strategic partnership between the vehicle manufacturing giants.

After months of talks, the companies have agreed on a 'bella alliance' to share world car production facilities in Poland and Latin America. Fiat would also gain membership to a combined initiative between Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler to create a global internet parts purchasing market also designed to cut costs and, ultimately, car prices. GM now has 20% equity in the Agnelli family-owned Fiat Auto group, worth about £1.45 billion, along with an 80% 'put option' which keeps the doors open for a GM buyout from 2004 - although Fiat chief executive officer Paolo Cantarella said at the announcement conference that the company was not for sale nor did it have any intention of transferring control to GM.

Fiat has secured a 5.1% reciprocal stake in GM - not without precedent, as Suzuki Motors bought a 0.07% stake in GM in April 1999, following GM's acquisition of 10% of the Japanese manufacturer the previous year. General Motors chairman and chief executive officer Jack Smith said the historic alliance was all about the synergies which could lead to savings of £0.7 billion by the third year and £1.2 billion within the fifth year of the agreement when common components had been achieved.

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