The September European Mission focused on the Frankfurt Auto Show and developments in Turin, Italy, with FIAT and its suppliers. Both venues sent noticeable signals that there is a paradigm shift occurring in the auto industry with important implications for the American auto industry.
FIAT is clearly taking aggressive steps to firmly establish a footprint in the North American auto market. Unlike previous new entrants to this market, FIAT will be assembling its brand vehicles in North America within the first year of entering the market. Its first market entrant, the Cinque Cento, or 500, which has been well-received in Europe, will most likely receive a minor facelift for the North American market. It is expected to be assembled in Mexico. However, Fiat's real impact will come from working with Chrysler LLC to jointly develop new vehicles that will be ready Reproduction in about 12-14 months, a potentially game-changing process. This process will require an unprecedented OEM-supplier working relationship, from design and development to production. Industry representatives, including suppliers, believe that, although it will be difficult, it can be done.
The Partnership met with several Fiat suppliers and Italian auto industry groups to present its North American Navigation System (NAVS) as an important solution for their North American market entry. The NAVS is a holistic and highly integrated service, delivered with our partners, to help companies make informed market entry and expansion decisions on the North American market. The service goes further and helps these companies implement these decisions in the shortest time and with the lowest investment.
The mission then visited the IAA Frankfurt Auto Show, where 82 new world premieres were launched in front of over 850,000 visitors over a two-week period. Green vehicles were the major theme at this year's auto show, presenting new technologies largely developed by smaller new entrants.
These small new auto companies are presenting a paradigm shift in developing and...