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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Fiat and Chrysler Logo Revealed!

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Logo

Fiat and Chrysler have revealed a new corporate logo. Symbolizing the total integration and multi-national aspect of the two companies, the new logo is modern and borrows nothing from the past. The newly formed group, called Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will be legally registered in the Netherlands with its tax domicile set in Britain.

While long time Fiat enthusiasts will surely miss the familiar Fiat logo with the traditional slanted "A" that has been around for over 100 years, it should be noted that the new design is the corporate logo and doesn't replace the brand logo.

Fiat Badges from 1899 - 1999

There have been 16 badge designs on the front of Fiat cars since 1899. The first Fiat cars produced came with a name plate stamped with the full name of the company; Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino (or Italian Automobile Factory of Turin). Later cars had a badge with the initials F.I.A.T. on them and people began contracting the letters into a pronounceable word. In 1906, the F.I.A.T. company trademarked the name "Fiat"; however, the company still remained Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino until 1918 when it underwent a reorganization and became Fiat, Societa per Azioni (Fiat Spa or Fiat Inc).

Fiat Blue Badge 1999-2005

In 1999, a new Fiat badge was unveiled on that year's Punto, inspired by a badge originally used in the Twenties.

Fiat Badge 2005 to Present

The current Fiat badge debuted in 2006 on the Fiat Bravo. Created jointly by Robilant Associati (an agency specializing in Brand Advisor and Strategic Design) and the Fiat Style Centre, the design combines the shields that decorated the front of Fiat sports cars from 1931 to 1968 with the tall vertical letter badges that first appeared on the Fiat 524 of 1931.

Below you can read the full details on the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corporate logo, courtesy of Fiat Group Press:

Fiat SpA and Chrysler LLC Logo

Following an initial phase with the two corporate logos appearing side-by-side –symbolizing the desire to respect the history, culture and industrial roots of the two groups – both Fiat and Chrysler now require a new corporate identity representative of an organization that is much more than the sum of its two component parts, based on strong core values that represents a unique corporate culture, a common vision and a Group with an international reach.

Created by Robilant Associati, this branding project began with definition of a distinct strategic concept that served as the basis for creation of the name, logo, house style and entire corporate identity, whose universal and essential forms are strongly expressive and evocative.

Use of an acronym helps create a transition from the past, without severing the roots, while at the same time reflecting the global scope of the Group’s activities. Easy to understand, pronounce and remember, it is a name well suited to a modern, international marketplace.

New Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Logo

The three letters in the logo are grouped in a geometric configuration inspired by the essential shapes used in automobile design: the F, derived from a square, symbolizes concreteness and solidity; the C, derived from a circle, representing wheels and movement, symbolizes harmony and continuity; and finally, the A, derived from a triangle, indicates energy and a perennial state of evolution.
The logo’s design lends itself to an extraordinary range of symbolic interpretations. It uses a versatile, modern language capable of expressing continuous change without losing its core identity.

The new logo will be adopted by Fiat and Chrysler as soon as practicable and before completion of the reorganization of the new Group.

Turin, 29 January 2014

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Sources: Fiat Group Press

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chrysler Now a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Fiat

Fiat SpA Logo

Fiat S.p.A. Completes Acquisition of Remaining Equity Interests in Chrysler Group LLC From VEBA Trust

January 21, 2014 , Turin, Italy - Fiat S.p.A. (“Fiat”) through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fiat North America LLC (“FNA”) today completed its previously announced acquisition of all of the VEBA Trust’s[1] membership interests in Chrysler Group LLC (“Chrysler Group”). Chrysler Group is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat. The consideration for the acquisition consisted of:

  • a special distribution paid by Chrysler Group on January 21, 2014 of U.S.$1,900 million (FNA directed its portion of the special distribution to the VEBA Trust as part of the purchase consideration); and
  • a cash payment by FNA to the VEBA Trust of U.S.$1,750 million.
Fiat funded the U.S.$1,750 million payment from available cash on hand. Chrysler Group funded the special distribution from available cash on hand.

As previously announced, contemporaneously with the transactions described above, Chrysler Group and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (the “UAW”) entered into a memorandum of understanding under Chrysler Group’s existing collective bargaining agreements to provide for additional contributions by Chrysler Group to the VEBA Trust of an aggregate of U.S.$700 million in four equal annual installments, the first of which was paid in connection with closing of the transaction with Fiat.

As part of the transactions and as promptly as practicable, FNA and the VEBA Trust will dismiss with prejudice the proceedings before the Delaware Court of Chancery with respect to the interpretation of the call option agreement.

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Fiat Chrysler Logo

[1] The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association, an independently administered trust established to pay health care benefits for retirees from Chrysler.

Fiat Group Press Release

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fiat at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

A quick look at the Fiat 500 display at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The video, courtesy of Chrysler Media, is meant to capture the experience of what it is like to wander around the cars at the show. Notable are the new Fiat 500c GQ Edition and Fiat 500 1957 Edition on display. The 500c GQ will be available the first quarter of this year with the 1957 Edition following sometime in the second quarter.

Mopar is ramping up their accessory lineup for all the 500 models. The 500L Thalassa beach cruiser concept was shown to highlight what can be done with some imagination and a Mopar Accessories Catalog. The Mopar display features the "Wall of Awesome" which gives a glimpse of just some of the accessories available. It should not be missed!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Price Released!

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Cabrio

Fiat USA has released the price on the new Fiat 500c GQ Edition. The new model will have a list price starting at $26,795 The new Fiat 500c GQ Edition Cabrio combines elegant good looks with the potent driveline of the Fiat 500 Abarth for a car that is geared towards those who value sophistication as well as performance.

Fiat teamed up with Condé Nast, publisher of Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) Magazine and owner of Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose brands are considered the premier source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Fiat designers took inspiration from the noted men's magazine to come up with a car that captures the essence of the GQ man - confident, athletic and high style.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition top back

The style part starts with a Cabrio body and adds a host tasteful details. Front and rear fascias along with extended side skirts are lifted from the high performance Abarth model. Gloss Nero headlamp, taillamp and parking lamp bezels are also added. Rounding out the exterior are new 16-inch split five-spoke aluminum wheels finished in Hyper Nero (black) with Rosso (red) center cap accents and a “GQ 500” badge located on the B-pillar.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition seat cushion

Fiat 500c GQ Edition seat back

The interior of the Fiat 500c GQ Edition gets the full treatment with distinctive leather sport seats trimmed with Alcantara suede inserts. A Steam (white) colored leatherette center stripe on the seat cushions and an embossed GQ emblem on the seat backs are a stylish touch. The leather wrapped steering wheel continues the theme with a Steam colored insert. The seats, leather covered instrument cluster brow and shift boot all feature Tungsten accent stitching. Satin chrome accents used throughout the interior, and a body colored dash panel with a matte finish complete the elegant, yet sporty interior.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition dashboard

Confident and athletic are a good description of the Fiat 500 GQ Edition's mechanicals. Coming directly from the celebrated Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio, the 1.4L Turbocharged powertrain is tuned for high performance. In Sport mode, the engine puts out 160 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque enabling the car to achieve 0-to-60 mph in the low 7 seconds range. The Fiat 500c GQ Edition exhaust system is unique. It features a dual tailpipe exhaust similar to the 500 Abarth's but with the addition of a tuned muffler that gives the 500 GQ a powerful yet subdued tone.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition

The Fiat 500c GQ suspension is identical to the 500 Abarth Cabrio's. Compared to a standard Fiat 500c Cabrio, the Fiat 500c GQ sits 0.6-inch (15 mm) lower, and the suspension is 33 percent stiffer in the front and 12 percent stiffer in the rear. Front struts utilize Koni dual-valve frequency selective damping (FSD) technology that combines good comfort with excellent road handling. Cast ductile iron control arms, reinforced rear spring seats and a rear sway bar contribute to the car's rock steady feel on the road.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Wheel

The new 2014 Fiat 500c GQ Edition will be available in Nero Puro (straight black), Granito Lucente (granite crystal), Argento (silver), and Bianco (white) exterior colors. Expect to see the limited production car at Fiat Studios in the first quarter of this year.

Fiat 500c GQ Edition Emblem


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fiat - Chrysler: The Future Looks Promising

Fiat SpA

Here is a video telling us why Fiat - Chrysler may be a good investment going forward. Stephen Wood, the founder of investment firm GreenWood Investors, describes Fiat as "one of the best investments we've found in a long time." Take a look at the video and see why he has come to that conclusion. Of course, Fiat fans have always known this!

Marchionne at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, held a press conference at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and discussed a wide variety of topics from the merger to what's happening with Alfa Romeo.  Here is the full press conference for you to enjoy. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth Oil Filters

The Fiat 500 uses a drop in cartridge type oil filter. Cartridge (or replaceable element) filters are growing in popularity as they are easier on the environment, and are generally less expensive. All Fiat 500s use the same oil filter, whether normally aspirated or turbocharged. The original equipment oil filter for the Fiat 500 is part number 68102241AA and generally runs about $8 from a Fiat dealer. They can also be purchased from any Chrysler dealer as most keep them in stock to service Dodge Darts with the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine. Aftermarket oil filters typically cost between $6 and $20 depending on the manufacturer.

Here is a list of oil filters that fit the Fiat 500, 500L and 500 Abarth.

Fiat/Mopar 68102241AA
Hastings LF669
Beck Arnley 041-0856
WIX 57341
Fram CH9713
Mahle OX 371 D
Mann HU 713/1X
STP S9713

Important: When performing an engine oil change, the oil filter cap must be removed first. Removing the oil filter cap releases oil held within the oil filter cavity and allows it to drain into the sump. Failure to remove the cap prior to reinstallation of the drain plug will not allow complete draining of the used engine oil.

Below are some images and hints on how to change the oil filter on your Fiat 500.

All Fiat 500s have an oil filter cartridge contained in an oil filter housing on the front of the engine. There is a oil cooler underneath the housing.

Use a 27 mm or 1 1/16 socket to remove the oil filter housing cap.

The location is tight. Having a ratchet extension and a swivel joint may make it easier to access and remove the cap.

This is the oil filter housing cap. It is a composite material, so you need to be careful how you handle it. Here I am removing the oil filter cap O-ring, which your new filter should come with. Make sure it does because you should not reuse your old o-ring. Also don't use something sharp to remove the o-ring because it is easy to scratch or damage the threads on the cap. These pieces can later break off or cause other troubles down the road.

Here is a look at the hex head on the oil filter housing cap. Use the correct tool and not channel locks, pliers or vice grips. The oil filter cap for a Fiat 500 Abarth is part number 04892850AA and costs about $32. If you break it you will not find it at a local part store, so be careful.

The new oil filter snaps into the cap so you can turn it upside down and it won't fall out. Important: Screw the cover on all the way by hand. Press down on it to overcome the spring pressure and turn it until it firmly stops. Tighten to 25 N·m (18 ft. lbs.).
If you don't have a torque wrench or can't fit it into the tight area, snug the filter with the ratchet you used. Don't overdo it.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fiat New Year Kick Off Sale!

Fiat 500c Cabrio

Another new year and you're still stuck with that clunker? Deep six that and get over to your local Fiat dealer! They are having fantastic sales on new cars right now! How about $5,000 off of the insanely fun Fiat 500 Abarth? Or $4,000 off of a stylish 500 Pop? Fiat is having a big sales push to kick off the new year right and make way for the 2014 models. Prices and incentives vary from region to region, but there is no doubt that this is a great time to buy that Fiat 500 you've been looking at. The Fiat 500 is the holder of more that 80 awards and is the most popular car of its size in the world. More than 1.1 million Fiat 500s have been sold in just 6 years. The sale ends this month so now is your time to get in on the fun!

Here are a couple of examples we've found:

Palmen Fiat 500 Pop

Palmen FIAT: 2013 Fiat 500 Pop: MSRP: $16700... Now $12,250 plus tax, tag, title!

Benson Fiat 500 Abarth

Benson FIAT: 2013 500 Abarth with Satellite radio / Sunroof / Heated Seats / 17" Gloss White wheels / Red Mirror caps and Stripes MSRP: $26,550... Now $21,550!

Click the links to the Fiat Studios below to see the deals!

Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488

FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428

Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295

Benson FIAT, South Carolina - 1-888-380-1716

FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249

or go to the Fiat USA website here to find your nearest dealer.

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*Incentives can vary from region to region so make sure you contact your local Fiat Dealer to find out what is current in your area.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why the Fiat 500 Model Range is Expanding

In this series of videos, Olivier Francois, Global Head of Fiat Brand, talks about the brand's lineup in Europe and gives a hint of what will happen with the Fiat 500 model range in the future. Francois confirms that the 500 will not become a separate brand, but will be expanded. The video shows that two new Fiat 500 models will be unveiled in the "very near future" - the 500X Crossover and what we are guessing is a replacement for the Fiat Punto.

In the press conference, which was held at the Frankfurt International Auto Show, Francois describes the company's offerings for the European market. Will we see some of these cars like the Panda or the seven passenger 500L Living here in North America? Let us know what you think on the Fiat 500 USA Forum!

Fiat 500L Living

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fiat 500 Sales Reach 55,000 Cars for North America

Fiat 500L Trekking

The figures are in and Fiat sold a total of 55,405 cars in North America in 2013, just off of 2012's total of 55,600 units. Fiat sold 43,236 cars in the US last year, nearly the same as 2012's 43,772 figure. Fiat 500 sales in Mexico in 2013 were 4,459 compared to 396 the previous year. Canadian Fiat 500 sales reached 7,710 down 9 percent from 2012's total of 8,474.

Model breakdown in the US shows that there was a total of 35,834 Fiat 500 hatchback, Cabrios and Abarth sold in 2013. This is down 18 percent compared to 2012's figure of 43,772 cars. Sales of these models slowed starting in June, coinciding with the introduction of the 500L MPV. However, these figures fall in line with  Sergio Marchionne's realistic expectation of 25,000-35,000 units as quoted in an article in Italy's Quattroruote Magazine from January 2012.

Fiat 500L sales in North America amounted to 8,301 cars with 7,402 units going to the US and 899 to Canada. The 500L is not sold in Mexico as of now.

Fiat sales for last month were up 1 percent over the same month a year ago with the 500L having its best month ever. Fiat sold a total of 1,421 500L MPVs last month, up 52 percent over the previous month.

Fiat 500 Sales in the United States - January - December 2013
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTD TotalLast Year YTD TotalVol Change
Dec 2013






Nov 2013






Oct 2013






Sept 2013






August 2013






July 2013






June 2013






May 2013      4,051  4,003     +1%        17,562        16,702  +5%
April 2013      3,899  3,849      +1%        13,511        12,699   +6%
March 2013      3,807  3,712      +3%         9,612          8,850   +9%
February 2013      3,302  3,227      +2%         5,805          5,138   +13%
January 2013      2,503  1,911     +31%         2,503          1,911   +31%

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Final Act: Details on the Fiat/Chrysler Merger

Below are the details of the deal Fiat worked out with the United Auto Workers VEBA trust fund to buy the remaining shares of Chrysler. VEBA is short for Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association and was set up when Chrysler went into bankruptcy in 2009.

Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, had been negotiating for the past year to purchase the remaining 41.5 percent from the trust fund. These negotiations had grown contentious during this time and came to a head last September when trust fund forced Chrysler to file paperwork for an IPO to sell the stocks on the open market. The trust fund was gambling that they would do better by offering their shares to the public and force Fiat to pay market value for them. It was said at the time that VEBA and Fiat were about 1 billion dollars apart, and that trust fund wanted upwards of 6 billion dollars for its shares.

Fiat Chrysler Merger Timeline

Now in a masterful example of negotiation that averts the IPO, Fiat has agreed to pay VEBA $3.65 billion, plus an additional $700 million in four annual payments. This is well under what most analysts had predicted Fiat would pay for the remaining shares of Chrysler. The deal paves the way for Fiat and Chrysler to merge and become the seventh largest car maker in the world, offering economies of scale that car makers need to have in order to stay in business.

The merger will also give Fiat access to Chrysler cash on hand, estimated at $12.2 billion. These funds are needed to finance desperately needed new models in Europe. It should be noted that Chrysler generated these profits while under Fiat's management since 2009 and most experts say that, during this time, Fiat somewhat neglected its European operations to concentrate on saving the US company.

The following is the official agreement press release.

Fiat to acquire remaining equity interests in Chrysler Group LLC from VEBA Trust

Fiat S.p.A. (“Fiat”) today announced an agreement with the VEBA Trust1, under which its wholly owned subsidiary, Fiat North America LLC (“FNA”), will acquire all of the VEBA Trust’s equity membership interests in Chrysler Group LLC (“Chrysler Group”), representing the 41.4616% of Chrysler Group not currently held by FNA. The transaction is expected to close on or before January 20, 2014.

In consideration for the sale of its membership interests in Chrysler Group, the VEBA Trust will receive aggregate consideration of U.S.$3,650 million consisting of:
  • a special distribution payable by Chrysler Group to its members, in an aggregate amount of approximately U.S.$1,900 million (FNA’s portion of the special distribution will be paid by FNA to the VEBA Trust as part of the purchase consideration)2;
  • and at closing, FNA will pay the remainder of approximately U.S.$1,750 million in cash purchase consideration to the VEBA Trust.

Fiat expects to fund the U.S.$1,750 million in cash from available cash on hand. Chrysler Group expects to fund the special distribution from available cash on hand.

Contemporaneously with the transactions described above, Chrysler Group and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (the “UAW”) have agreed to a memorandum of understanding under Chrysler Group’s xisting collective bargaining agreements to provide for additional contributions by Chrysler Group to the VEBA Trust of an aggregate of U.S.$700 million in four equal annual installments. The initial payment will be made on closing of the transaction with Fiat and additional payments will be payable on each of the next three anniversaries of the initial payment. Chrysler Group expects to fund the initial contribution to the VEBA Trust from available cash on hand.

In consideration for these contributions, the UAW will agree to certain commitments to continue to support the industrial operations at Chrysler Group and the further implementation of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance, including to use best efforts to cooperate in the continued roll-out of Fiat-Chrysler World Class Manufacturing programs, actively participate in benchmarking efforts associated with
implementation of these programs across all of Fiat-Chrysler manufacturing sites to ensure objective performance assessments and provide for proper application of WCM principles, and actively assist in the achievement of the Group’s long-term business plan.

“I have been looking forward to this day from the very moment that we were chosen to assist in the rebuilding of a vibrant Chrysler back in 2009” said John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat. “The work, commitment and achievement I have witnessed from Chrysler over the past four and a half years is nothing short of exceptional, and I take this opportunity to officially welcome each and every one of the people in the Chrysler organization to the integrated Fiat-Chrysler world.”

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive of Fiat and Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group, had this to say: “In the life of every major organization and its people, there are defining moments that go down in the history books. For Fiat and Chrysler, the agreement just reached with the VEBA is clearly one of those moments. I will be forever grateful to the leadership team for the support and nwavering dedication shown to the integration project that today has taken its final shape. The unified ownership structure will now allow us to fully execute our vision of creating a global automaker that is truly unique in terms of mix of experience, perspective and know-how, a solid and open organization that will ensure all employees a challenging and rewarding environment.”

As part of the transactions, FNA and the VEBA Trust will agree to dismiss with prejudice the current proceedings before the Delaware Court of Chancery with respect to the interpretation of the call option agreement pursuant to which Fiat has, through FNA, exercised three tranches of a call option to acquire membership interests in Chrysler Group held by the VEBA Trust. All of these membership
interests will be acquired by FNA in connection with the transactions described above.

Given the funding arrangements for this transaction, it is not envisioned that Fiat will require equity capital to be raised via a rights issue.

Turin, January 1st, 2014

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Fiat Chrysler Logo

1. The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association, is an independently administered trust established to pay health care benefits for retirees from Chrysler.
2. In the event that the special distribution from Chrysler Group cannot be paid by the intended closing date (January 20, 2014 or earlier), Fiat intends to make payment to the VEBA Trust of the aggregate consideration and thereafter receive the special distribution when it is the 100% owner of Chrysler Group.

Fiat SpA press release

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Message to All Fiat-Chrysler People Around the World

Fiat SpA Logo

It is official: The deal is done. Fiat has agreed to buy the United Auto Workers' remaining stake in Chrysler for $3.65 billion, plus four separate payments totaling $700 million, paving the way to make Fiat and Chrysler one company. John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat SpA and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat SpA and Chrysler LLC released the following statement:

From the Offices of John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to you today with the emotion that comes from having worked for the last four and a half years to achieve industrial and cultural integration and now seeing it come to fruition.

We are sure that same emotion is shared by some 300,000 of you around the world who are part of what is an historic day for Fiat and Chrysler.

After a protracted negotiation with the VEBA, we have reached an agreement that, through the acquisition by Fiat of a 100% equity interest in Chrysler, enables us to complete the union between the two groups in both financial and technical terms.

In reality, this extraordinary union already existed.

Over the past few years, the two groups have learned to understand and trust each other. They have made each other stronger through the sharing of know-how and experience. They have committed to a common future.

From the very beginning, Fiat and Chrysler – each with its own distinct identity and traditions – began to share industrial know-how and resources, strategic projects and targets, challenges and ambitions.

Most importantly, they shared the spirit and values of an organization intent on distinguishing itself not only in terms of the excellence of its products, but also for its commitment, integrity and transparency.

The step taken today is an historic moment for both Fiat and Chrysler. However, in truth, it is also simply the formalization of the work already done over the past few years to integrate our respective cultures, transform our differences into strengths and break down geographic and cultural barriers.

The result has been the creation of a global automaker that is among the leaders in the sector.

What we have created together – an extraordinary group of people working side-by-side in the spirit of cooperation, exchanging ideas, learning from each other, and being enriched by the sharing of cultures from every part of the world – is our greatest asset and the surest possible guarantee of our success.

Today marks the beginning of the next chapter in our future.

We ask that you remain united, that you continue with the same spirit of mutual respect and cooperation that has brought us to where we are today.

We remain committed to the continued development of Fiat-Chrysler in every part of the globe, ensuring it is a model of speed and efficiency.

At the same time, we also remain committed to ensuring you all a secure and challenging future in an organization where the sharing of experiences and cultures provides abundant opportunity for professional and personal growth.

Our sincerest best wishes to you and your families for 2014. May it continue with the same promise and potential as it is about to begin and fulfill all of our expectations!

John Elkann
Chairman of Fiat S.p.A

Sergio Marchionne
Chairman & CEO of Chrysler Group LLL
CEO of Fiat S.p.A.

Fiat SpA Chrysler LLC Logo