"Alfa Romeo is not for sale," said Sergio Marchionne this week, batting down repeated rumors and rumblings about VW buying the brand from FIAT, which continues to face financial woes. Any reader of this site knows that I believe strongly that Alfa would be better off in the brand portfolio of the German giant than in the hands of incompetent Italian management.
My heart of course likes the idea of "keeping the brand Italian." But the historical record has shown that in every industry in Italy, foreign management has saved Italian brands from their own ineptitude. FIAT is one of the last major Italian companies that isn't a subsidiary of a foreign corporation.
But Sergio, in the sort of blatant rhetorical posturing one would expect from a politician rather than a captain of industry declared that "Counting on foreigners to act as Italy's saviors is the greatest idiocy I have heard in my life." Was it idiocy in World War Two when the allies liberated your country from its own self-inflicted tyrrany? And when Nestle and other major brands bought up all of your food and beverage brands and offered them to the world market, was that idiocy?
The only idiocy I observe here is the willfull ignorance of fact that all of the new Lancias are re-badged American cars, and Sergio's plans for the new Alfa roadster are based on a Mazda platform! So let's cut this nationalistic bullshit and call a spade a spade. This isn't about Italy. This isn't about national pride. It's about your ego and the self-delusional force-field you wear on a daily basis.What Sergio did to Lancia is not only unforgiveable, it is concrete evidence that he doesn't mean a word of what he says. Sergio, the sooner you realize that your false patriotism is killing what's left of Italy's noble car brands, the better off those brands will be.