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Obama Administration Spares Nardelli from Sacking

Calling the Chrysler situation different, a Fiat deal is blessed.

by on Mar.30, 2009

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli has 30 days to forge an alliance with Fiat.

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli now has just 30 days to forge an alliance with Fiat.

The Obama White House appears to have cleared away some of the barriers to a deal between Chrysler and the Italian carmaker. A green light for the Fiat deal was near the top Chrysler’s wish list when it submitted its viability plan to the White House back in February. Washington hands said the Fiat deal might not pass muster in the nation’s capitol. However, Obama’s Auto Task Force has now approved the concept of Chrysler-Fiat, pending resolution of the final details. The Obama’s administration said that the company has another 30 days to finish restructuring its operations and debt, and complete negotiation with Fiat. The deal with Fiat could be instrumental in reviving Chrysler, Obama said.

Chrysler Chairman Robert Nardelli said he was encouraged by the administration’s commitments to both the American automobile industry and “Chrysler’s viability through an alliance with Fiat.”

“I want to personally assure all of our customers, dealers, suppliers and employees that Chrysler will operate ‘business as usual’ over the next 30 days,” Nardelli said. “While we recognize that we still have substantial hurdles to resolve, Chrysler is committed to working closely with Fiat, the Administration, U.S. Treasury and the Task Force to secure the support of necessary stakeholders. If successful, the government will consider investing up to the additional $6 billion requested by Chrysler to help this partnership succeed.

Nardelli ignored comments from the White House and the Automotive Task Force, suggesting the company was no longer “viable as a stand alone company.” (more…)