Tuesday, March 3, 2009

About That Fiat-Chrysler Alliance; How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

Automotive News reports from Geneva about this week's trip by Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, to Washington, D.C. to convince US government officals of the benefits of the alliance and, oh, Fiat's alliance with Chrysler "is contingent on the U.S. car maker getting more federal aid." Chrysler has requested $5 billion in loans to support its turnaround.

If you are wondering about the BMW-Fiat cooperation agreement from last year, Marchionne is reported to have said Fiat was still going ahead with its talks with BMW despite the planned Chrysler alliance. Fiat and BMW had initially investigated cooperating to help Fiat relaunch its Alfa Romeo brand in the U.S. market, but, Marchionne said the talks concerned a technological agreement involving BMW's Mini.

Marchionne stressed he was going to Washington to talk about Fiat and Chrysler -- not about banking giant UBS Group, where he serves as non-executive vice chairman after joining the board in 2007.

In a scandal dating back to 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice has alleged that the UBS executive board that ran the Swiss bank's daily business operations contributed to a conspiracy to defraud the United States of tax revenue.

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