[It dawned on me during a commercial break in the second half of Super Bowl LI that the Fiat acquisition of Chrysler was never about Fiat. After all, you can only sell so many CinqueCentos in the North American market. What they really want to increase on American and Canadian roads is the sportier, cooler, suaver, debonair-er (?) little brother of Fiat: Alfa Romeo. Following is the blog I’d planned, until that epiphany between Bud Light and Doritos convinced me that the merger was about bringing Alfa back to this side of the pond.]
Fiat. A classic brand, and the biggest car company in Italy, but without a significant toehold in North America.
Chrysler. A once great American company that fell on tough times, was bought and spun off by the Germans (remember Daimler Chrysler?), and needed a big infusion of capital to stay alive.
Put the two together, and you have a going concern—an international conglomerate with renewed strength in the marketplace: Fiat Chrysler. Chrysler gets financial backing, and Fiat gets a slew of dealer relationships across the United States and Canada. Seems to be pretty good match, given all those little CinqueCentos (CHIN-kwa CHEN-tos) running around.
So, when you sue you know exactly where to serve process, right? New York and Milan!
Hold up, there, Scooter. I have a surprise for you.
For one thing, don’t let the big Manhattan skyscraper fool you. Chrysler (technically, FCA USA LLC) isn’t even there. It’s headquartered in Auburn Hills, a Detroit suburb. And Fiat’s HQ isn’t in Milan. It’s in Turin (Torino, in Italian). Maybe you’re thinking Alfa Romeo.
More importantly, both automakers are part of a parent company registered in (get this) the Netherlands. That’s right. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., better known to the world as simply FCA, is a Dutch entity (Dutch!), and it has its corporate office in London, of all places.
So, where do you serve ’em? Tough to say, but personally, I’d go to England. You don’t need translation into Italian or Dutch, and things go pretty quickly under English rules. But be wary…
- If you’re going after the Chrysler subsidiary, you still have to go to Michigan.
- Fiat itself? Torino.
- Alfa Romeo? There’s your Milan connection (and your big winner in the Super Bowl LI advertising sweepstakes).
- Maserati? Modena.
You get the idea.
Just as with any big multinational, be sure to name the parent company properly and then be sure to serve them properly. If you don’t, Ned Stark has a warning for you…
Here’s the list of “how to’s” for serving in the three countries mentioned above, all pursuant to the Hague Service Convention: