Will Ferrari be affected by Fiat crisis?

Michael Schumacher, Japanese GP 2002

Michael Schumacher, Japanese GP 2002 

 © The Cahier Archive

The announcement on Tuesday that the Fiat chief executive Gabriele Galateri is to resign has caused more worries down at Maranello where the future of Ferrari remains linked to the crises going on at Fiat. Galateri had been in charge since June. There is increasing pressure from the banks that Fiat should split the Alfa Romeo brand away from the main Fiat Auto company and create a new company with Alfa Romeo joining luxury brands Ferrari and Maserati. But such a deal could result in General Motors refusing to take up the option it has to buy the entire company in 2004.

There was speculation in Italian newspapers on Tuesday that the new luxury group could involve the Volkswagen group having a 49% shareholding in the new company. If that was to happen Fiat would lose control of Ferrari as 10% of the company belongs to the Ferrari Family and with Volkswagen holding 49% the Fiat control would be broken.

Maserati reacted to the leaks saying that there had been talks with Audi about "possible technical and commercial cooperation" but did not confirm a bigger deal. The VW deal does not seem very likely as the company already controls a number of luxury brands, notably Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti.

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