Sergio Marchionne, the new CEO of Chrysler Group, says the pace at which the automaker burns cash has been considerably slower since it emerged from bankruptcy last month. Chrysler burned through more than $9.5 billion in 2008, and although Marchionne won't release specific numbers, he did assure that the rate of cash burn has slowed.
"We are still burning cash, but it's slowed down by far," he said in an interview in New York yesterday. "The question is how quickly we can stop the bleeding. That is priority number one."
Despite the fact that Chrysler is now a privately owned company, Marchionne still wants to release some financial information - a movethat he said would be "useful for the public, including the taxpayers, to know how we're doing." He said he is working with the U.S. Treasury (which owns a stake in the new Chrysler) to figure out what information could be released and when to disclose it.
Marchionne also revealed that Chrysler and Fiat are looking at ways to fuse the Alfa Romeo and Dodge brands together, calling the two the "muscle cars" of each company.
"The level of competition between these two brands is tremendous because they are both going after the same customer," Marchionne said. "Dodge is the American muscle car, while Alfa Romeo is the European muscle car. How we dovetail these two brands is very important."
With that in mind, Marchionne says one option is for Alfa Romeos to be branded as Dodges in the U.S., and Dodges to be branded as Alfa Romeos in Europe. Executives from Auburn Hills and Turin have said a new model for the U.S. is based on platform of the upcoming Alfa Romeo 149.