After a dramatic courtship, government intervention and the odd Supreme Court order, Fiat and Chrysler have finally tied the knot. The new 'global strategic alliance' expands Fiat's reach back into the U.S., while offering the 'new' Chrysler - which is already in operation - the support it needs to get back on its feet as it crawls back out of bankruptcy.

The 'new' Chrysler says it is positioned to tackle its challenges with a focus on the core Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Mopar brands with a 'leaner, flatter' structure. Fiat CEO and new Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is enthusiastic about what the partnership could mean to Chrysler.

“I personally feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead the new Chrysler and to work with senior management to build this company and our great brands into all we know they can and should be,” Marchionne said.

Some of those cars will be re-worked Fiats from the Italian company's small and mid-sized ranks, though they won't strictly be re-badges. Instead, they will be re-engineered to meet U.S. standards for both safety and consumer taste. The best estimates put the arrival of the first Fiat-Chrysler joint projects at about 18 months from now.

In the mean time, the Fiat 500 is expected to be sold as a Fiat directly through existing Chrysler dealerships - or at least the ones remaining after the great dealer purge that is wrapping up this week.

Jim Press, the former President and Vice Chairman of Chrysler, will be taking a new role as Deputy CEO and Special Advisor to Marchionne, to help make the transition in leadership as smooth as possible.