there's an interesting article about the fiat group in the economist. unlike other mags you can actually believe what you read in the economist.
Fiat | Rebirth of a carmaker | Economist.com
"According to Mr Wester, before 2005, every part in an Alfa Romeo, down to the last screw, could be slightly different from that on a similar-sized Fiat. In 2006 the group was using 19 different platforms. By 2012 it will have just six."
"Using a patented Fiat technology that does away with camshafts and valve gear, the first engine to be launched next year will be an 80bhp twin-cylinder turbo 900cc engine that will emit only 69g of CO2 per kilometre—just over half the proposed EU target for 2012."
"Although Mr Marchionne sees Lancia as a purely European marque, he has said that he wants Alfa Romeo to return to America for the first time since the early 1990s. He is looking for a partner, possibly Chrysler, to build the cars there within the next three or four years. Mr Marchionne believes that despite having lost its way many years ago, Alfa is still a world brand that people identify with. He says: “Alfa was known for lighter, faster, more agile vehicles. Who doesn't remember the Duetto in 'The Graduate'? It's just a pity we ended up doing the exact opposite of what Alfa drivers wanted. The 159 is one of the heaviest D-segment cars around. We have to go back and clean that up.”
"Mr Marchionne says that the MiTo (the name stands for Milan and Turin), which will be launched this summer, will “come up looking and smelling like Alfas of the future”, but that it is the 149 which will really set the mark for the rest of Alfa's range. He says: “We threw the 149 back for more than 30 months because it wasn't enough of an improvement. It was the smartest thing we've ever done.” Mr Marchionne has set Alfa and Lancia sales targets of 300,000 each in 2010. Last year they managed only 275,000 combined."