The President announced that the U.S. government would supply Chrysler with sufficient capital (up to $6 billion) to operate for 30 days while it pursues a partnership with Fiat, but apparently Chrysler was farther along in its talks with Fiat than the President and his Auto Task Force realized. While terms of the arrangement have not been revealed, we do know that Fiat will provide Chrysler with product, platforms and technologies, as well as potentially use existing Chrysler manufacturing facilities to build its own vehicles in the U.S. In exchange, Fiat will get a stake in Chrysler that the administration has demanded will not become a controlling stake until the automaker has paid back all of the federal loans it received.
Follow the jump for Chrysler's official statement and stay tuned as more details about the Chrysler/Fiat hook up are revealed.
UPDATE: Chrysler has released a corrected statement that says it's only agreed with Fiat on a "framework of a global alliance," but that no deal with the Italian automaker to partner up has been made yet. So they've basically agreed on what a Chrysler-Fiat mashup would look like, but not on whether they're going to do it.
Chrysler LLC Statement in Response to the Announcement by the Administration, U.S. Treasury and President's Auto Task Force attributed to Chrysler LLC Chairman and CEO, Bob Nardelli
Auburn Hills, Mich., Mar 30, 2009 - Today marks an important milestone for Chrysler LLC. We are encouraged by the commitments of the Administration, U.S. Treasury and President's Auto Task Force to the American automobile industry and Chrysler's viability, with a Fiat alliance.
We are pleased that Chrysler, Fiat and Cerberus have reached agreement on a framework of a global alliance, supported by the U.S. Treasury. Chrysler has consistently said that the alliance with Fiat enhances its business model that expands its global competitiveness. We appreciate the willingness of the Task Force, along with industry and financial experts, to consult closely with us in order to achieve this significant step.
By providing Chrysler with product and platforms, technology cooperation and global distribution, Fiat strengthens Chrysler's ability to create and preserve U.S. jobs; gives U.S. consumers more choices for environmentally advanced vehicles; gives its dealers more of the products they need to be successful; helps stabilize the supplier base; and allows Chrysler to pay back government loans sooner.
Chrysler has had a series of very constructive discussions since our plan was submitted February 17, including weekly face-to-face meetings with the Task Force. We have been impressed by their speed, diligence, good faith and strong grasp of the difficult issues our industry faces in this financial crisis. This is evidenced by the U.S. government's initiatives to support consumer warranties and suppliers, as well as their appointment of Dr. Edward Montgomery, Director of Auto Recovery.
I want to personally assure all of our customers, dealers, suppliers and employees that Chrysler will operate 'business as usual' over the next 30 days. While we recognize that we still have substantial hurdles to resolve, Chrysler is committed to working closely with Fiat, the Administration, U.S. Treasury and the Task Force to secure the support of necessary stakeholders. If successful, the government will consider investing up to the additional $6 billion requested by Chrysler to help this partnership succeed.