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U.S. automaker Chrysler seeks to close Fiat deal
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08:27, June 03, 2009

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U.S. automaker Chrysler LLC, which filed for bankruptcy protection a month ago, has asked the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing its case to close a deal on Thursday to sell its bankrupt assets to a new automaker in partnership with Fiat SpA, reports reaching here said on Tuesday.

Workers repair Chevrolet cars at a GM dealership in Flint, Michigan, the United States, May 30, 2009. With a 100-year glorious history, the once mighty U.S. auto industry has sank into its most difficult time with the looming bankruptcy of its two giants General Motors and Chrysler. The U.S. auto industry is facing a threshold of reckoning its future. Cutting cost, dumping some brands, reducing plants, developing fuel-efficient vehicles would become the main strategic focus to revitalizing U.S. automakers. (Xinhua/Gu Xinrong)

That request would waive the 10-day waiting period usually in place after asset sale approvals are made and it would help ensure that the new company, Chrysler Group LLC, can begin operations possibly as early as this week.

The request, however, could be held up by a group of pensioners from the U.S. state of Indiana who have appealed Judge Arthur Gonzalez's decision. The secured creditors argue their claims were put behind those of unsecured creditors and they want the case heard by a district court judge.

The closing is critical because Fiat can walk away if the deal is not complete by June 15, which would force Chrysler to liquidate.

Chrysler spokeswoman Shawn Morgan said a hearing has been requested for Wednesday to deal with the closing date. That also is the day the judge will hear objections from dealers whose franchise agreements are being terminated.

If the deal closes on Thursday or soon thereafter, the new company will be able to restart production of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and, eventually, Fiat vehicles.


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