MILAN, Italy, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) - The majority of Fiat shareholders on Friday formally approved the merger between the Italian carmaker and U.S. Chrysler that has created Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), local reports said.
CEO Sergio Marchionne told the shareholders’ meeting in the northern city of Turin, where the Italian company was founded in 1899, that the new group will be able to make a “leap” to greater quality.
He insisted, however, that FCA will maintain its social and historic commitments to Italy, being it “rooted” in the Mediterranean country, according to Turin-based La Stampa newspaper.
He said that in all the choices that Fiat has made and will make, the company has always sought “the right balance between the logic of profit and social responsibility, between economic return and sustainable development.” Fiat’s administrative offices and jobs will remain in Italy, he pledged.
The CEO recalled that Fiat was “on the edge of collapse” in 2004. The fusion with Chrysler, which was the culmination of a major industrial project launched in 2009 and resulted in the world’s seventh largest auto producer, has offered to Fiat “solid and concrete perspectives of growth” on the international level, he pointed out.
The new production plans after the merger with Chrysler could see annual group revenues exceeding 130 billion euros (175 billion U.S. dollars) in five years and an output of up to seven million cars per year, Marchionne said.
President John Elkann after the vote confirmed the commitment of his family (Agnelli), Fiat’s largest shareholder, in continuing to sustain FCA, especially “now that great opportunities have come to envision.”
Fiat announced in January that it had gained full control of Chrysler after more than a year of negotiations with VEBA, the healthcare trust associated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) which owned the remaining 41.5 percent shares of Chrysler.
FCA will have headquarters in The Netherlands and tax residency in Britain. Friday’s formal approval of the merger will allow FCA to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the fall.