• Feb 7, 2011
We've all been there: uttering words you almost immediately regret. You feel like an absolute idiot. But the next time that kind of situation comes up – and come up it will – know that you're not alone. Because Sergio Marchionne has had a bit of backtracking to do himself.

The captain of industry was recently quoted as referring to the public funds that helped him and his Fiat group take over Chrysler as "shyster loans." Not once, not twice, but thrice. And now he's had to apologize.

The loans received from the U.S. and Canadian federal governments were negotiated, according to analysts, at advantageous rates for that time in 2009 – when the banking system was paralyzed and, as Marchionne put it, "we couldn't have borrowed a buck from a 7-Eleven" – but the interest on which is now posing a burden on Chrysler's recovery.

In apologizing for the remarks, Marchionne noted his gratitude for the government bailout in helping Chrysler back from the brink at a time when no one else would have taken the risk. All the while, Chrysler is reportedly seeking to re-finance its debt at better interest rates with private financial institutions, while seeking additional low-interest loans through the Energy Department programs for fuel-efficient vehicles.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      The fact that he is complaining about the terms of the government loans means the government is doing its job. I'm not deadset against the idea of the government helping out industry but I think the strings attached should be so onerous that the government is sought as a lender of last resort. Why should the government be obligated to assume risk that no other private firm will?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chrysle did NOT get bailed out. They got loans, with 20% intrest!!!!! GM got a bailout, they were given what, $50bln+ and only paid a fraction back. Banks got bailed out. I'd be mad too!
      • 3 Years Ago
      ..can someone PLEASE get him a comb..


      Das Auto
      • 3 Years Ago
      He didn't even get the insult right. "Shyster" refers to lawyers; the term "shylock" refers to a loan shark, and is an old anti-Semitic slur. Screw him. If he thinks he can get a better deal, maybe he should ask private investment firms.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Give the guy a break. I know he's not American so what, he's putting people back to work and and has good business sense... just look at Chrysler's recent success.
      • 3 Years Ago
      You mean a European would use anti-semitic slurs to describe business dealings he dislikes? That doesn't sound right. This sorta thing has never happened before.
        • 3 Years Ago
        OH wrong. Wikipedia isn't the last word. Shyster most def is an anti-semitic slur.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You should have gone to the wikipedia site before pulling your RACE card.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why apologize? That was an accurate description.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I dont recall anyone putting a gun to his head to buy into Chrysler. He could have just said no and picked up the bones of Chrysler after liquidation.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Precisely Throwback, one they get in bed with the government there is little to complain. One always become the junior partner, regardless of one's size.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Autoblog watches Conan O'Brien too! Bring back "thrice"!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the rates are too high, then refinance them (replace them with lower interest rate loans). Since the credit markets are improved and theoretically Chrysler is also a better risk than before, they should be able to get better rates.

      And if they can't get better rates, then maybe he should realize that they were lucky to get any loans at all.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A shyster apology.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nothing to apologize for, Sergio is correct. Only someone as stupid as government would lend a company money to avoid bankruptcy and then charge interest rates so high that the company couldn't make a profit.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Government is doing him a favor, and he's upset because the interest rate is (what he believes) high ? Well, do good business and you'll get a good rate. It's not any different than what most Americans face with credit cards...and it could be worse, it could be 19-25% APR at that. Sometimes, its just NEVER enough...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Judy needs to shut up if she doesn't know what she's talking about. I'm so tired of ignorant people on this blog. You would think if you know how to comment that you'd know halfway of what you're talking about. GM isn't complaining because they didn't get loans..they just got money gave to them while Chrysler is paying over 20% interest on their small amount of money compared to GMs over 50 BILLION dollars of free money gave to them. It was perhaps rude to call them shyster but that really is a horrible interest rate but that's respectable for their condition at the time. I think of it this way, the interest 1.3 billion paid in interest last year will help pay off the money they received before filing bankruptcy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        1guyin10: Personally, I'm proud that we NOW have a government that is allowing the US taxpayer to be A$$-raped by these people. They got a LOAN, and they should repay it with interest. If Marchionne think there is a better deal to be had, refinance the loan, but we must be repaid with interest.

        Pay up SUCKER.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Correction:

        1guyin10: Personally, I'm proud that we now have a government that is NOT allowing the US taxpayer to be A$$-raped by these people.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Chrysle did NOT get bailed out. They got loans, with 20% intrest!!!!! GM got a bailout, they were given what, $50bln+ and only paid a fraction back. Banks got bailed out. I'd be mad too!

        • 3 Years Ago
        Really no kidding, im jewish and I use that all the time. I dont see why anyone would take offense.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Some of the loans are at 20%. That's what he was complaining about.

        They paid $1.3 billion in interest last year and would have made money if the loans were at even 10-12%. Its easy to understand why they are working hard to get things lined up to refinance the government loans. Now that they don't look like they already have ten nails in the coffin the banks should be a lot more friendly to them.

        Personally I think people are making a big deal out of nothing with this story, but then being offended is a sport in this country.
        • 3 Years Ago
        If he didn't like the terms he has been free at any time to go and refinance. The reality is NOBODY was willing to lend to Chrysler and he is still having trouble finding a lender willing to give him a decent rate. If he had found private financing at the time the rates would have been FAR higher than what the Governments charged since Chrysler was worth nothing at the time. As it is he got the Company handed to him thanks to the bailouts. Now he wants to complain about the rates in hopes of putting pressure on the Governments to sweeten the deal. He signed his named to those bailouts and agreed to those rates just like the folks who got caught in trick Mortgages except he knew damn well what he was signing.

        Funny how we don't hear GM complaining about the bailouts? If I was Marchionne I would run ads saying thanks and we are back and then never refer to them again the way GM has been doing. Every time he mentions them tax payers cringe and think twice about ever buying his products.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You missed the point...'shyster' is a code word for Jew and high-interest loans.

        Maybe Marchionne just doesn't want to give up a pound of flesh...

        In these PC times a big-time CEO should pick his words more carefully less he loose the dogs of war and B'nai Brith not to mention the ADL...
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