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Fiat, Chrysler boss plots exit

2012-01-09 08:55

GAME PLAN: Marchionne speaks at the unveiling of the new Fiat Panda at the automaker's Pomogliano D'Arco in December, 2011. IMAGES: AFP

DETROIT, Michigan - Fiat and Chrysler Group head Sergio Marchionne believes he will need "at least until after 2015" to fully merge the two automakers and leave his post

When asked during an interview by the Detroit Free Press (published Sunday, January 8, 2012) how long he would stay in his job, Marchionne said: "Nothing is going to happen until after 2015 - unless I get hit by a bus."

The newspaper, which did not name its sources, said the merger of the Italian auto giant and the third-largest US automaker could be complete as soon as 2013.


Fiat took over operational command of the ailing US Chrysler in June 2009 when the company emerged from government-supported bankruptcy. In June, 2011, it bought a majority stake and now controls 58.5% of the company.

The two groups still operate independently, even if Marchionne is the chief executive of both. The Agnelli family, which founded Fiat and is the main shareholder with a 30.4% stake, supports the merger.

Marchionne's comments repeated those he made in August 2011, when he said he planned to retire in about five years but cautioned: "I wouldn't focus on the date, I'd focus on the process."

The Detroit paper reported that Marchionne was facing a difficult year at Chrysler, with only one major new product, the Dodge Dart, to be launched in 2012. The car will be unveiled at the 2012 Detroit international auto show today (Jan 9).

Chrysler is expected to launch eight vehicles in 2013.

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