Fiat CEO to become Chrysler CEO after Bankruptcy; Looks To Build a Global Empire

Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne will officially become the CEO of Chrysler, once the ailing American automaker emerges from bankruptcy. The Italian carmaker’s CEO also is looking to build a global auto group from the wreckage of the American car industry.

The idea that Marchionne would take the top spot at Chrysler had been discussed with the U.S. Treasury and has now been confirmed. “Chrysler is on track to re-emerge from bankruptcy in 60 days,” Marchionne said in an interview with Bloomberg. “I will become Chrysler CEO after that.”

In addition to Marchionne’s interest in Chrysler, he hopes to acquire a couple of General Motors’ divisions as he attempts to build a global automotive group. Marchionne expressed interest in acquiring GM’s European operations, including Opel and sister-brand Vauxhall. Now Marchionne has confirmed his interest in acquiring the beleagured Saab brand.

“Saab is an interesting opportunity, the brand is however too small for the auto mass market. We could combine Saab with another brand,” Marchionne said. “In the U.S., there’s a Saab dealership network. It would be a pity to give that up.”

Marchionne is looking to build his global auto company without having to spend any money, but is willing to give up stakes in Fiat to make the deals work. “I’m ready to offer 100 percent of Fiat’s auto unit – clean of debt – and assume Opel’s debt,” he said.

While Marchionne has shown a willingness to acquire GM’s European operations in exchange for a 10-percent stake in Fiat, GM said it is looking for at least 30 percent of Fiat’s auto division. GM also is looking to include its Latin American operations, which Marchionne also has expressed an interest in, as a bargaining chip.

“Including GM Latin America in the deal would be the easiest way to add value to the transaction,” said Marchionne.

Source: Automotive News, Bloomberg