Detroit News columnist Neil Winton and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchione aren ‘t so sure. Considering all of the economic pressures combined with environmental ones, BMW will have a long battle ahead of it. Here ‘s an excerpt:

>All this has plunged Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne into a gloomy mood. “I have totally revised what I will do in the first part of 2009. We ‘re just going to slam the brakes on, use as many temporary layoffs as needed, cut everything back to essentials. I am going to have one week of production between now and the beginning of January. After that we ‘re in the dark because I have no idea what demand will be. None, ” Marchionne told Automotive News Europe in an interview.

>His overall predictions seemed to exclude a future for Fiat too. Fiat also owns sporty brands Alfa Romeo and Lancia, and supercar manufacturers Ferrari and Maserati. “You need at least 5.5 million to 6 million cars (a year) to have a chance of making money, ” Marchionne said. Fiat ‘s annual output is less than half that.

> “Maybe I ‘m completely wrong. But today my gut instinct is to be truly Draconian. By the time we finish with this, in the next 24 months, as far as mass-producers are concerned, we ‘re going to end up with one American house, one German of size; one European-Japanese, probably with a significant extension in the U.S; one in Japan; one in China and one other potential European player, ” he said.
This seems not only to exclude either GM or Ford and Fiat, but Honda and Peugeot too, and would mean either BMW or Mercedes losing their independence.

Read the rest below:

+ Winton: Only the strongest Europeans will survive harsh 2009