Fiat
fiat sergio marchionne john elkann
Sergio Marchionne (left) and John Elkann

Fiat is faring little better. The European market collapse has forced CEO Sergio Marchionne to delay his plans for a full takeover of Chrysler and to use his cash to fix the Italian automaker, whose European operations are expected to run at a loss for several years.

That's a blow for the Agnelli family that controls Fiat with a 30.4% stake. The company was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. His grandson, Gianni Agnelli, was Fiat's chairman from 1966 until 1996, and his grandson, John Elkann became chairman in 2010 at age 30.

Fiat's problems are acute. In 2012's first nine months, Group unit sales fell nearly 17% in a total market down 7%, as its plants in Italy are running at 50% of capacity. Three years ago, Fiat saved Chrysler by rescuing it from bankruptcy. Now that Chrysler is profitable, the tables may be turned.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated November 28 2012 06:18 AM ET
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