Fiat won’t be able to touch any of the “bailout” loan money provided by the U.S. government if it decides to move forward with its alliance with Chrysler LLC, says Chrysler Chairman Robert Nardelli.
In addition, Chrysler also said it is going ahead with a sweeping buyout of hourly workers at the company’s throughout its manufacturing system, which now has about 34,000 employees.
“Given the difficult economic and market conditions in the U.S., Chrysler LLC determined in December 2008 that it would offer another phase of its ‘Special Programs,’” said a company spokeswoman, adding that, “The original window to offer the programs was slated to begin in December and run into January, per an agreement with the UAW. Due to the fact that many of the company’s facilities had suspended production for extended periods in December and January, the program offerings are being rolled out now.”
Workers have until Feb. 25 to decided whether to accept the buyouts, which would provide up to $75,000 in cash and $25,000 to buy a vehicle to those who leave the company without retiring. The incentive for early retirement is $50,000 cash and a $25,000 voucher.
The latest program follows another buyout, in November, that saw some 5,000 salaried employees – or 25 percent of Chrysler’s white-collar workforce – agree to leave the company.