Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat Group announced today that they have finalized their previously announced global strategic alliance, forming a "new" Chrysler that has the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete effectively on a global scale. The new Chrysler will begin operations immediately.
As part of the alliance, Fiat will contribute to Chrysler its world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-sized cars, allowing the company to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles increasingly in demand by consumers. Chrysler will also benefit from Fiat's management expertise in business turnaround and access to Fiat's international distribution network with particular focus on Latin America and Russia.
"This is a very significant day, not only for Chrysler and its dedicated employees, who have persevered through a great deal of uncertainty during the past year, but for the global automotive industry as a whole," said Sergio Marchionne, who was named CEO of Chrysler Group LLC. "From the very beginning, we have been adamant that this alliance must be a constructive and important step towards solving the problems impacting our industry. We now look forward to establishing a new paradigm for how automotive companies can operate profitably going forward."
Under the terms approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York and various regulatory and antitrust regulators, the company formerly known as Chrysler LLC formally sold substantially all of its assets, without certain debts and liabilities, to a new company that will operate as Chrysler Group LLC.
Chrysler Group in turn issued to a subsidiary of Fiat a 20 percent equity interest on a fully diluted basis in the new company. Fiat has also entered into a series of agreements necessary to transfer certain technology, platforms and powertrains to the new Chrysler. Fiat's equity interest will increase in increments by up to a total of 35 percent in the event that certain milestones mandated by the agreement are achieved, but Fiat cannot obtain a majority stake in Chrysler until all taxpayer funds are repaid.
Similarly, the United Auto Workers' Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, a voluntary employees' beneficiary association trust (VEBA) has been issued an equity interest in Chrysler Group equal to 55 percent on a fully diluted basis. The U.S. Treasury and the Canadian Government have been issued an equity interest equal to 8 percent and 2 percent on a fully diluted basis, respectively. These interests reflect the anticipated share dilution as a result of Fiat's incremental equity assumption once the milestones outlined in the strategic alliance agreement are achieved.
In addition to Marchionne, currently the CEO of Fiat S.p.A. serving as CEO, the new Chrysler will be managed by a nine-member Board of Directors, consisting of three directors to be appointed by Fiat, four directors to be appointed by the U.S. Government, one director to be appointed by the Canadian Government and one director to be appointed by the United Auto Workers' Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. The Board is expected to name C. Robert Kidder as Chairman. The process of determining additional board members is continuing and updates will be announced as appropriate.
As previously announced, Chrysler has entered into an agreement with GMAC Financial Services to provide automotive financing products and services to the company's North American (NAFTA) dealers and customers. GMAC Financial Services will be the preferred lender in North America for Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge dealer and consumer business, including wholesale of new and used vehicles as well as retail.