Ex-Chrysler CEO: Company Would Have Been Better Without Fiat

Fiat’s ownership of Chrysler may have gifted the automaker with new technology, new products, and subsequently, new life – but Bob Nardelli, Chrysler’s ex-CEO during the days of Cerberus Capital ownership, tells The Detroit News Chrysler could have done just fine without the aid of the Italian auto giant. Let’s reflect, for a moment. In 2007, Cerberus bought a controlling stake of Chrysler from Daimler AG in a $7.4-billion-dollar deal, which netted the investment firm nearly 80 percent of the automaker. Two years later, during Chrysler’s bankruptcy organization, Cerberus’ turnaround plan was rejected by the U.S. government, and the keys to the beleaguered automaker were essentially handed over to Fiat, which offered a means to revitalize the company. During the bankruptcy proceedings, government officials said that a fresh management team was essential, and a host of executives – including Nardelli himself – were swept from the company’s headquarters. Now, Nardelli is saying the 20 percent stake in Chrysler Fiat was given was an unfair deal. Nardelli goes on to say that if Cerberus were extended a similar deal from the U.S. government, the company would have been able to resurrect Chrysler just as well as Fiat has. “If the government gave us the deal they gave Fiat, we'd be doing just fine — really,”says Nardelli. “There was no reason for the government to give Chrysler away.” Fiat has since spent about $2 billion in investments on Chrysler and raised its stake to a majority share of the company. Chrysler has also seen its sales and profit numbers boosted under Fiat’s control. Nardelli says that much of the groundwork for the recent new models and internal cost-cutting was all done by Cerberus while he was Chrysler CEO. However, late in 2009, Fiat and current Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Wall Street Journal that “we were surprised by how little had been done in the past 24 months.” Source: The Detroit News

STEVE
Bob Nardelli thats why it says EX after CEO! Im sure you were over payed just like eveyone else so stop you bitching!
Lou
I got one name for you Bob.... Alan Mulally! Now that's leadership!
mE
Ford did not refuse a bailout loan. They had just re-structured in 2007 and had a massive debt, they could not take on any more debt. They are now doing ok, but they are still in a huge debt. This "we refused the bailouts" story is fiction. "Bailouts" were not free money. The US government gave money as loans for equity. Most of those bailout loans have been re-paid, and money was made for taxpayers. If it had been up to the Tea party types, they would have let GM and Chrysler fail, which would have precipitated a massive economic disaster in the US ending the US auto industry forever. If they were allowed to fail, Ford would have had to shut down, because no parts makers could survive off only one company.
mE
Maybe Bob Nardelli's Chrysler could have done better if they spent money on R&D instead of his ridiculous salary. This company has nothing on the engine or frame design forefront. I think the mistake here was from FIAT, as they will learn like Daimler did, you can't change a culture of mediocrity in a company that quickly.
yeah
And this guy utterly represents the failure that is modern CEOs (BP anyone?). Sure, let the government throw you a sh#tton of money so you can stagnate 3 different auto brands for another 10 years, great idea! It took Fiat less than 2 years to make 1 home-run Jeep and now they are going to have to work to get the rest of that lineup/other brands updated and out of the dark ages.....
tom
Nardelli should be sent to jail for ruinning another american company
kego53
Its interesting that Cerberus let Chrysler get into such a jam to start with. If they had a better plan why didn't they use it to start with.Tell this guy to go home and shut up.
Tom
Yes, Steve is correct. I think Bob Nardelli is just bitter. Everyone with a brain agrees that Cerberus was an abysmal owner of Chrysler. The redesigned 300 and Charger can be credited to them, but that's really it. The "refitted" models (200, Avenger, Journey) have really made a big difference, and I really don't think Nardelli had plans like that. I was pretty "underwhelmed" by Nardelli's EV's
Steve
Lee Iacocca he's not. It's that kind of thinking that cost him his job. If Chrysler had such a great product planned, how come it didn't hit the market until after bankruptcy? The only company I'm happy with is Ford. They didn't ask for a bailout, refused a bailout and had a plan. They turned the company around themselves.

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