The recent bankruptcy of the American automakers allowed interesting alliances between unlikely brands. One such example was Fiat’s 20 percent purchase of Chrysler back in 2009. Since then the Italian company has made significant contributions to restructuring the American icon and is now considering extending its holding to more than 50 percent some time this year.
Fiat & Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, told journalists in Milan a majority holding is possible but wasn’t willing to extrapolate on the likelihood. If it is to happen, it will taken place before Chrysler’s planned initial public offering (IPO) this year.
As part of the original purchase agreement, Fiat can purchase an additional 15 percent share holding when Chrysler begins selling an American-made car that is capable of returning 5.9L/100km fuel economy figures. The American company will also need to make small engines in the US and ramp up its operations outside North America for the agreement to be honoured.
Fiat, which owns Ferrari and Maserati, is also considering the idea of paying back US and Canadian government loans before the 2013 deadline, which will give it the option of buying an additional 16 percent ownership.
As for a complete and total merger between Fiat and Chrysler? “A legal merger is not going to change our life,” Marchionne said. Chrysler’s IPO could take place in the second half of this year.