The last time Fiat tried to make a go of it in the US market, its unreliable cars earned it the nickname Fix It Again Tony, reports the New York Times. That was 25 years and another world ago. After a renewed focus on quality under CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Italian automaker is now hoping to rescue bankrupt Chrysler—it will have a 20% stake and three seats on the new company's board—through its new and improved technology.
Fiat plans to begin selling its 500 model—popular in Europe with a price of about $12,000—in the US by 2011. Other models will follow, but the company says its main focus will be retooling current Chrysler models—the Sebring, for example—with Fiat technology. “Selling Fiats won’t turn Chrysler around,” said one executive. “You’re going to see a new range of Chrysler cars, based on our engineering, our platforms and our engines with a shape exclusively their own.”