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Fiat Has Cash to Complete Chrysler Acquisition

Marchionne tells shareholders he plans to skip IPO.

by on Apr.09, 2013

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sits on the hood of a new LaFerrari during the Geneva Motor Show.

Almost four years after it took effective control of the then-struggling Chrysler Group LLC, Italian automaker Fiat SpA says it has the cash in hand to complete the acquisition of its U.S. ally — and hopes to complicate the deal in little more than a year.

There had been some question about whether Fiat could complete the deal considering the financial drain it is facing in Europe, where the automotive market has fallen to its lowest level in a quarter century and most automakers are plunging deep into the red. It might be necessary, hinted Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, that the Italian side of the alliance sell off some assets to complete the takeover, however.

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Exactly what the remaining Chrysler stake will cost still depends upon resolution of a legal battle between the automaker and the United Auto Workers Union’s retiree health-care fund. Known as a VEBA, it is now the second-largest Chrysler shareholder, after Fiat. The two sides have reached an impasse over putting a value on the union holdings and a Delaware court is expected to now issue a ruling.

“If we ever reach a deal with VEBA to buy the remaining stake, we have enough cash for it,” Marchionne told investors at the annual Fiat stockholders meeting in Turin today.


Volkswagen Hunting for Elusive 13th Brand

No triskaidekaphobia for German maker.

by on Feb.08, 2013

VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech has an almost monomaniacal drive to add more brands.

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne may have put Alfa-Romeo out of the Volkswagen Group’s reach for now but there is a good reason to believe that VW is on the prowl for a 13th, and possibly even a 14th,brand to add to its large and varied stable of nameplates, according to industry observers.

While many manufacturers – notably General Motors and Ford – have been cutting back on their brand portfolios, Volkswagen AG Chairman Ferdinand Piech has been aggressively expanding the German maker’s marque count. VW last year finally completed the takeover of Porsche – brand number 12 — and Piech has continued to say he wants Alfa, despite Marchionne’s howls of protest.

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Piech has indicated Europe’s largest automaker plans to add at least one brand to the current lineup as part of a strategy to claim the global auto industry’s sales crown by 2018.

Piech said in an interview with German monthly magazine ADAC Motorwelt that his children 10 years from now will drive one of the automaker’s “at least 13 brands.”  VW representatives declined to comment.


Volkswagen Eying Alfa-Romeo – And Possibly Another Acquisition

“13 is my lucky number,” says Chairman Ferdinand Piech.

by on Oct.04, 2010

Alfa hopes to make an American comeback with models like the Giulietta, but will the brand stay in the Fiat fold?

Visitors to this year’s Paris Motor Show looking to check out the latest offerings from Alfa-Romeo will find the brand tucked into a corner of Hall 1, next to Ferrari, Lancia and the other brands operated by Italy’s Fiat Automotive.  But when the next auto show comes to Paris, in 2012, Alfa could wind up in Hall 4, next to Volkswagen AG.

Though there are no “for sale” signs out, VW’s singular determined Chairman Ferdinand Piech has publicly stated his interest in acquiring Alfa and adding it to a brand list that is about to reach 11, once the maker completes its planned purchase of sports car maker Porsche.

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Just a year ago, Piech told reporters, “12 is a good number,” but this year, during a meeting in Paris, Piech changed his math, pronouncing that, “13 is my lucky number,” and leaving observers to wonder not only whether he might actually get his wish to buy Alfa but even go after another yet-unidentified brand as part of his bid to make VW the world’s largest automaker.