TURIN, Italy, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The headquarters for a merged Fiat and Chrysler company could be in the United States, Latin America or Europe, the head of the company said.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has led Fiat through a gradual takeover of Chrysler, starting with 20 percent of the company bought while the Detroit automaker was in bankruptcy in 2009 and increasing its shares as Chrysler reached milestones set by the U.S. government.
Having established production of a Fiat engine in the United States, introduced a fuel efficient model to the U.S. market and paid back bailout funding, Fiat has increased its ownership to more than 58 percent, ANSA reported Monday.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Marchionne said: "You need a point of reference from a governance standpoint. It needs a home. No one can be homeless. Both Turin (Italy) and Auburn Hills (Mich.) are capable of hosting. There is also the alternative home of Latin America. We are well-liked in Brazil.
''The emotional attachment to your country as a producer needs to be rethought. It doesn't mean that you're betraying anybody, it just means that you're growing up, just like your children are leaving home. It doesn't mean they don't love you," he said.
The statements provoked a quick reaction in Italy from unions.
"The headquarters of the Fiat-Chrysler can only be in Italy, if one considers the investments planned and accords struck. The commitments agreed to by unions and management only lead in this direction," Rocco Palombella, general secretary of the Uilm autoworkers union.
Giorgio Airaudo, the head of the automobile workers division of the Fiom union called on the government to demand the company "state clearly what its commitments are toward Italy and the European market."
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