Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Chrysler and Fiat, has stated that the planned unification of both companies will have to wait a little longer as the Italian automaker grapples with the European financial crisis. Marchionne has previously stated that the goal was to achieve unification as early as 2014, but that has temporarily been put on the back burner while Fiat aims to strengthen its finances.
In a Reuters report, Marchionne said, "The objective has always been to try and bring unification by 2014 or 2015... I'd still like to see that done." Marchionne went on to say that Fiat would not have the capital to make that move as early as 2014, unless "something extraordinary happens and we find liquidity through other means." According to the report, Marchionne's top priority is fixing its European situation.
This is all in relation to Fiat's plan to purchase the remaining 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler currently held by the United Auto Workers healthcare trust. The trust was created as a move to unburden Chrysler from retired workers' healthcare costs.
Fiat tried to purchase 3.3 percent of the American automaker this July for $139.7 million. The healthcare trust claimed that figure was not enough and refused to sell the portion, resulting in a lawsuit brought by Fiat against the healthcare trust. No update was given on the lawsuit, though Fiat stated that it plans on making another 3.3 percent purchase in January.