Chrysler (Almost) has a New Chief Executive

Scott Benjamin

(AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach)

If you recall, Chrysler's government-forced bankruptcy was announced just one week ago today, and we're hearing that it may take as long as two months for the U.S. automaker to emerge from Chapter 11. In the meantime, Fiat (now a 20 percent shareholder in Chrysler) is doing a lot of strategizing. Starting with, but definitely not limited to, taking over the reigns of Chrysler's top executive position.

According to Colleen Barry of the Associated Press, a Fiat spokesman confirmed today "Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne will become the chief executive of Chrysler after the U.S. automaker emerges from bankruptcy." Basically, everyone knew this was going to happen, but it's worth mentioning today simply because it was officially confirmed. So, here's what will happen: Current Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli will remain in his position until the bankruptcy proceedings are finished, at which time he'll step aside for Marchionne to take control. But that's not all that Fiat is up to.

Apparently, Marchionne has an idea that he's going to form the largest automaker in Europe and the second largest automaker in the world. How? The Associated Press tells us that "Fiat's vision is to spin off Fiat Group Automobiles, which includes the Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands, to create a new car company including Chrysler, GM Europe [Germany's Opel, Britain's Vauxhall and Sweden's Saab] and, now, GM's Latin American operations." Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the Fiat Group SpA, which includes Ferrari and Maserati, too?

Automotive analysts are raising their eyebrows at this plan -- and for good reason. Combined, Fiat will need to produce and sell nearly six million cars each year just to stay afloat. What are your thoughts?

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