"The birth of FCA will end the precarious life of Fiat," Chairman John Elkann, grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, said before the company's final shareholders' meeting here. "For the first time we have a different perspective: We don't need to play a game of survival."
The company's headquarters will move from a villa in Turin adjacent to Fiat's former Lingotto factory, which features an oval track on its roof, to Slough, England, until Fiat opens a London office by the end of the year. That office will have about 50 employees.
Fiat's administration and information-technology functions will remain in Turin, which will be to Fiat as Auburn Hills, Mich., is to Chrysler -- the center for marketing, r&d, engineering and other functions. Marchionne also has vowed to keep all of Fiat's Italian factories open and to rehire about 30,000 line workers, who are largely on furlough.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' cosmopolitan structure reflects an industry shift away from national champions such as Fiat, which for decades prided itself on its Italian and Turin heritage. By combining resources with the U.S. carmaker, the company formerly known as Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino can compete better with heavyweights such as General Motors, Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor Corp., Marchionne says.
There was little option for Fiat as a stand-alone company. North American operations, which were nonexistent before Fiat gained control of Chrysler about five years ago, accounted for 62 percent of the group's second-quarter operating profit. The manufacturer's once-core European operations lost 6 million euros ($8.03 billion).
Without Chrysler, Fiat would have been unprofitable in 2012 and 2013.
Gilles Castonguay, Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.