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Like many other Chrysler products that were refreshed with the help of Fiat, the latest Ram pickup is a favorite of critics. Photo credit: Chrysler.

It was no secret why Italian automaker Fiat (NASDAQOTH:FIATY) wanted Chrysler when nobody else did in 2009: Even in bankruptcy, Chrysler's size and resources had the potential to transform regional player Fiat into a global contender.

That's why Fiat took a majority stake in Chrysler and bet big resources on a Chrysler turnaround. That bet has paid off: Chrysler is solidly profitable now, and its products are surprisingly competitive. But while Fiat was nursing Chrysler back to health, it was losing ground at home to Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH:VLKAY), Ford (NYSE:F), and other rivals.

Now there's another threat to Fiat: The German luxury brands have pushed onto its turf. In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear looks at the ground Fiat has given up in Europe -- and at the real reason Fiat's CEO is in such a hurry to complete his company's merger with Chrysler.

Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.