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Fiat's campaign to entice its Italian employees to switch cars falls flat

Fiat factory in Longotto, Italy
Fiat factory in Longotto, Italy

While no auto manufacturer likes to see competitors’ models in their own parking lots, Fiat has taken a unique approach to try and convince some of its employees at its two factories near Pomiliano, Turin, and Mirafiori, to “give up” their foreign made cars, including Toyotas, VWs, Renaults, and Puegots by wrapping their cars in plastic bags sporting a broken heart and the message “Seeing you with someone else breaks my heart.” They then handed them brochures offering to take an additional 1,000 euros (above the normal employee discount of 12%-26% depending on the model) if they made the switch.

“We decided we want to do everything possible to promote sales any way we can,” explained a company spokesman in Turin.

The majority of the employees affected, however, seemed to be annoyed when they came out to rip the plastic off their vehicles, with many voicing their concerns that, even if they wanted to, they probably would not be able to make future payments on the cars, regardless of the discount, as well as their displeasure that the company is planning to shift its tax base out of Italy, where unemployment now stands at close to 13%, well above the European Union average.

According to reports made during a corporate meeting in Turin this past January, (following its complete take-over of Chrysler), industry insiders anticipate that the new company now known as Fiat-Chrysler will elect to shift its corporate operations out of Italy and make the UK its fiscal home while moving its legal headquarters to the Netherlands. In the meantime, company CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated that production of Alpha Romeo will remain in Italy for the time being in hopes of somewhat bolstering the country’s failing auto industry.

Fiat-Chrysler will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Chrysler’s Town and Country minivan at the New York International Auto Show beginning this Friday (April 18) thru April 27th.