Will a transatlantic alliance give struggling US carmaker Chrysler a new lease of life?
The White House is confident, seeing a bright new future for the firm, which has joined forces with Fiat after being forced into bankruptcy protection. President Barack Obama insisted Chrysler, supported by extra government cash, would emerge stronger. “No one should be confused about what a bankruptcy process means,” Obama said. “This is not a sign of weakness but rather one more step on a clearly charted path to Chrysler’s revival.” The Detroit car giant is turning to Turin for salvation. Fiat will initially take a 20 percent stake in a new restructured Chrysler but this could rise. The hope is that Fiat will help Chrysler make smaller more fuel-efficient cars that appeal to consumers and can be made profitably. Italy’s government hailed the deal, saying it shows the country is valued globally and especially in the US. “Italy is appreciated for its industries, for its technological development and for its managers as well,” said Industrial Development Minister Claudio Scajola. For Fiat, it is not just a question a being a knight in shining armour. It will pay nothing for its share, gain access to the North American market and have the right to choose three Chrysler directors.