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Before Bankruptcy Chrysler Tried to Sell to Chinese, Partner with Everyone

Executives spent two years talking to anyone who would listen about forging a partnership

 |  May 04 2009, 3:53 PM

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Before Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 late last week the automaker explored every option, including selling the company to the Chinese and forging partnerships with any other manufacturer that expressed even a remote amount of interest.

In public bankruptcy filings, made at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, Chrysler’s co-president and vice-Chairman Tom LaSorda said that the company entertained offers from Chinese automakers Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Tempo International Group, Hawtai Automobiles, and Chery Automotive Co.

“Chrysler sent letters to parties, primarily in China, whom we thought would be potentially interested in purchasing our assets,” LaSorda wrote. “Over the next two months, several companies… expressed interest in purchasing specific vehicles, powertrains, intellectual property rights, distribution channels and automotive brands.”

In the end, however, none of those companies were interested.

LaSorda also said that over the past two years Chrysler has courted practically every other automaker out there, searching for a partner. The list includes Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen, Tata, Magna, GAZ, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota.

Many off the arrangements didn’t have a leg to stand on, however, the talks with Nissan were thorough and only ended when Nissan couldn’t secure the credit needed to buy in to Chrysler.

La Sorda finally writes that a partnership with Fiat is the “best outcome,” although that might be stretching the truth, as it seems Fiat is the only automaker in the world with interest in Chrysler.

The Chrysler/Fiat deal, which began back in March of 2008, is now before the bankruptcy court. Fiat didn’t put any money into Chrysler but will provide $8 to $10 billion in small car technology in exchange for a 20 percent stake in the company. Fiat can get 15 percent more if it meets three benchmarks that the U.S. government has imposed, including building a 40 mpg car. That car will be a Chrysler version of the Fiat 500.

[Source: Detroit News]