Italy auto workers strike over $300m-plus Ronaldo deal
IT IS clear not all Italians love football.
A sect of workers in one of Fiat's factories in Italy have declared that they will go on strike in protest of Italian giant Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Agnelli family own a large share in both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) - which includes the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands - and Serie A club Juventus among other endeavours.
Workers in the Menfi plant - which is located in the south of Italy - would rather see the reported $300m-plus contract and transfer fee spent on improving the company's portfolio of vehicles.
"It is unacceptable that while the [owners] ask workers of FCA … for huge economic sacrifices for years, the same decide to spend hundreds of millions of euros for the purchase of a player," says a statement from the union.
"The owners should invest in car models that guarantee the future of thousands of people rather than enriching only one."
The strike is expected to take place from Sunday through to Tuesday.
The Fiat brand has been neglected in recent years while other brands in the company's portfolio have received renewed attention. In Australia the Fiat range has shrunk over the last decade to only include a range of 500 models, 124 spider and various commercial vans. In 2018 Fiat has sold just over 600 passenger vehicles in Australia, with the majority being examples of the 500 city car.
FCA is believed to be the target of future takeover bids, with recent reports citing Hyundai has an interest in the Italian-American car maker.
The company under the command of chief Sergio Marchionne has spent the last few years pulling itself back from the brink of bankruptcy.
The company spun-off the highly profitable Ferrari while also investing heavily in building up the Alfa Romeo brand - launching the Giulia sedan and Stelvio which is the maker's first SUV.
The next move is for FCA to reinvigorate the Jeep brand which has been held back locally by a mass of recalls on crucial models like the Grand Cherokee family SUV.
However, Marchionne has confirmed that the brand will launch a new product across every SUV category in the next few years.
"The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy. Our commitment to internationalise the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves, we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the US," said Sergio Marchionne earlier this year.