It may seem awfully cocky of Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne to assume that he can save Chrysler, generally written off in the industry as a lost cause. But there’s a reason Marchionne is optimistic, notes the Economist: He’s done it before. When he took over Fiat in 2004, the now-reborn company was bloated, in debt, overpowered by unions, and stuck with obsolete technology. “We tore it apart in 60 days,” says Marchionne.
If Fiat does buy into Chrysler—perhaps its best shot for survival—Marchionne would take over as CEO. He and his people would gut the American company, as they did their own. Says a senior Fiat official, “If this thing comes off, they’re really in for a shock.” And Fiat—also in talks for a deal with GM—will be closer to achieving Marchionne’s plan to double in size.