ITALY: Fiat confirms four-unit restructure
Fiat Auto chief executive officer, Giancarlo Boschetti today confirmed a much-rumoured reorganisation that divides the company into four business units: Fiat/Lancia/Light Commercial Vehicles; Alfa Romeo; International Development; and Customer Services.
Boschetti, recently appointed CEO, has promoted Gianni Coda from heading Latin American operations to run the new Fiat/Lancia/LCV business unit. The Financial Times said today that this acknowledged major improvements in Latin American market share and profitability, particularly in Brazil, up to last autumn#;s economic downturn, on Coda#;s watch.
Silvano Cassano, who previously ran Fiat's in-car information and telematics operations is now head of the customer services unit. Yan Nahum will transfer from Turkey to lead international operations and the new Alfa Romeo chairman is the former head of vehicle platforms Daniele Bandiera.
In a statement, Fiat Auto said that after sales services would now be a business unit and play an important role within the new organisation.
“The financial results deriving from this activity will obviously positively impact on the four business units,” the company added. Fiat Auto said that the main objectives of the reorganisation are: development of brands, strengthening of sales and after sales activities, consolidation of international activities and growth in financing and mobility services.
The new organisation will aim Fiat at the “general public” with “highly innovative products”, strengthen Lancia as an “elite and exclusive brand” and “consolidate” Alfa Romeo in the “top tier of stylish sportscar brands” through improved sales volumes and entry into new markets.
This perhaps suggests a return to the US with help from the recent alliance with General Motors.
Fiat said that each business unit would be autonomous and responsible for its own operating and financial results, and with its own production, manufacturing, marketing, commercial, quality and human resources management organisations.
This seems to fly in the face of, for example, the recent Ford Premier Automotive Group restructure which intends to combine as many “back office” functions, such as financing and vehicle transport, as possible to increase efficiency.
But Fiat Auto claims its reorganisation will streamline decision-making lead to increased focus on customer satisfaction, the primary objective.
The company stressed that business unit “synergies” would be maintained at a central level with responsibility for the GM alliance also assigned to a central department. The individual business units would be responsible for developing operations.