John's Opening Thoughts

Segment from “Roman Holiday”

Internet Premiere
Friday, 11/19 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 11/21 @ 10:30am ET
(Original Airdate)

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Podcast:

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  1. Entire Show: Watch Entire Show

  2. Open: John's Opening Thoughts

    (1:05)
  3. Segment 1: Fiat North America

    Guest:

    Panel:

    (23:46)
  4. Close: John's Closing Thoughts

    (0:57)

Synopsis

Laura Soave, President, Fiat North America, Alisa Priddle, The Detroit News, Tim Higgins, Bloomberg News. Topic: Fiat North America.

It was the movie that turned a trio into stars. Even though Gregory Peck was arguably already there and his leading lady Audrey Hepburn was well on her way, the romantic comedy "Roman Holiday" really focused the spotlight on the third star of this 1953 movie, the Italian motor scooter Vespa. As the trio whipped around Rome it sold us on the delights of small lightweight Italian transportation.

Now fast forward to 2010, and small Italian transportation is poised to make a comeback here in America as the FIAT brand returns to the market thanks to its tie-in with Chrysler. Even as Sergio Marchionne has been putting the Pentastar pieces back together so Chrysler, Dodge, Ram & Jeep all have viable futures in the industry, at the same time he is ready to unleash his own brand back into the American car culture. The dealers have been chosen and they're getting ready to showcase the first FIAT product in years, the small, nimble Cinquecento better know as the 500.

And the person in charge of the North American reemergence of the FIAT brand joins John McElroy on this week's Autoline. Laura Soave is well aware of what FIAT stands for. Not just from last few months of running the brand here in the Americas but from her Italian heritage and spending time growing up in Europe. She has an interesting task in front of her as she tries to resurrect a brand that disappeared from American shoes for a variety of reasons, none of them good. Joining John on his journalist panel to discuss the future of FIAT is Alisa Priddle from The Detroit News and Tim Higgins from Bloomberg News.