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Chrysler optimistic about Fiat alliance
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08:05, April 09, 2009

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U.S. automaker Chrysler is optimistic about forming an alliance with Italy's Fiat within the time window set by the U.S. government, Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press said on Wednesday.

"At this point time with Fiat, we don't see anything that would be an impasse or a deal breaker," said Press on the sidelines of the New York Auto Show, adding Chrysler was working very hard to avoid bankruptcy and has had a "constructive dialogue" with all of its stakeholders.

"We have constructive dialogue, and cooperative dialogue going on with all the stakeholders," he said. "We are hopeful we will be able to achieve the goals the same as the U.S. government."

Chrysler, about 80 percent controlled by Cerberus Capital Management CBS. UL, was given until the end of April by the U.S. autos task force to complete an alliance with Fiat that would give it access to small car technology it now lacks.

The automaker has been operating under 4 billion dollars of U.S. government emergency loans and has sought additional loans. The autos task force said it would consider investing up to 6 billion dollars more if Chrysler completed the tie-up with Fiat, but warned that bankruptcy might be an option.

Speaking to a group of international correspondents, Press said financing is the biggest problem facing Chrysler but "we still have funds left and we anticipate there is second round to follow that will allow us to continue our operations."

"I hope we will meet requirements of the guidelines from the government," Press said. "We are all working hard to do that."

Press disclosed that Chrysler is "still discussing with Nissan and "a number of partners," adding that it is working around the clock to conclude the discussions in the shortest possible time.

"That is where we are putting all our energy in," he said.

On Dec. 17, 2008, Chrysler announced that it would close all of its North American plants on Dec. 19 for at least a month or longer. That same day, then U.S. President George W. Bush announced a 13.4-billion-dollar rescue loan for the American automakers, including Chrysler.

On March 7, 2009, Press stated that current sales volume was sufficient to keep the company going as sales should rise in the coming months. The Chrysler executive also noted the automaker's February retail sales were better than Ford's as Chrysler continued to curtail lower-margin fleet sales. He also said the volumes being forecast for 2009 are within the estimates Chrysler envisioned in preparing its viability plan for the federal government.

On March 30, 2009, the White House announced it would provide an additional 6 billion dollars in further support to Chrysler contingent on the company finalizing an alliance with Fiat before the end of April.

Source: Xinhua

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