Detroit Show: Chrysler Downplays Media Worries of Break-Up

At the Detroit Motor Show, Chrysler held a quick press conference to reassure the media that the company was not going to sell its divisions to other carmakers. Reuters had reported that Renault-Nissan was negotiating for acquisition of the Jeep brand, and that an assembly plant in Belvedere, Illinois was to be sold to supplier Magna.

Chrysler vice-chairman, Tom LaSorda discredited the report about Jeep and said, ““We will not separate the brands from the company.” LaSorda added that any move to sell off the company’s divisions would require US Government approval.

Renault has claimed that it is not negotiating for Jeep, but there are talks that Renault wants to reacquire the brand which it once owned but sold to Chrysler more than 20 years ago. Rumors about the Magna deal grew from the transfer of former Chrysler COO Wolfgang Bernhard to Magna as consultant.

LaSorda did say that Chrysler was ready to sell tooling and production licences for certain models, including the PT Cruiser retro MPV. Last year, Chrysler sold the Sebring model to Russia’s GAZ which now sells the car to the Russian market as the GAZ Siber.

Chrysler claimed that it was open to partnerships on future models. The company already has a deal with Volkswagen and Nissan, though it pulled the plug on a deal with China’s Chery Automotive last year.

Whatever events take place, Chrysler is still dependent on the business decisions of its parent venture capital firm, Cerberus. This just means that any business deals are effectively out of Chrysler management’s hands unless given the green light by Cerberus.

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