WAHHOOO... go italian wisdom...!!!
I followed Italian cars for a long time, still do, to some degree. Thing was, the government, back in the nineties, decided to divest itself of every commercial enterprise it had nationalized. ALFA is something of a national icon, and didn't want it taken over by a foreign company, so Gianni Agnelli bought it. Damn near killed fiat group along with it as well, and they saw daylight just recently. The banks over there, along with the corporations tightly knit themselves together by sharing board members, so they all pretty much know everything going on and react to it efficiently, kinda like a keiretsu, but with lots of violins and saxophones (cue godfather theme) and the banks concentrated on one thing, and one thing only for the past ten years- Economic Stability, pretty much at the expense of everything else. Seems to have worked, they're expected to make it past the credit crunch and the decline in car sales in the western markets with little damage.. Impressive, imho, considering that historically, political chaos, mangement by crisis, and failed leadership coalitions had been the name of the game there since WW2.
oh, and Carlo Abarth won five world motorcycle championships in the fifties..Don't know if they were on yamahas or not.