FIAT is still in serious difficulties but headlines concerning the Turin-based automaker report more and more positive news. The new mini and micro vans Idea and Panda are well accepted, because of reasonable prices, decent quality and nice looks. Nevertheless, the problems are immense. Sales of the compact car Stilo is nothing but a disaster, the Multipla and other niche models surely do not earn the money their production takes. Recent investments and developments show that the Italians have learned from the mistakes they made and plan to proceed the current track record, which admittedly presupposes they will have the money to realise their ideas. Presently it looks like this intentions, such as a new mini car and an upper midsize model, aren't affordable without fresh capital.

It's no secret. Volkswagen will use the Quattroporte platform but seems to be even hungry for much more.

Initially it should be provided by General Motors. But, in view of Detroit's current financial situation, the Americans are not interested in being involved in monetary rescue maneuvers at Italy. FIAT now will sue for the money. Insiders say about a compansation of a few billions US$. Nonetheless, Italian statements regarding GM's refusal sound as a proof of typical South European pride: FIAT doesn't need the support from the other site of the Atlantic, they said. Reality is a bit different in fact. Italy's most important automaker is in big debts and it seems the banks aren't willing to risk losing even more money when recovery fails. In addition, the Berlusconi administration already has been indicated that father country won't take it under his wings. Furthermore, strict recovery concepts as usually applied by the Germans - and in case of Nissan also by Renault - are deemed to fail because of the influence of the Italian unions, local politicians and the church.

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