Fiat to own Chrysler in 2015?
'HMM... YES, MORE MONEY': Sergio Marchionne believes the merger between Chrysler and Fiat will happen in 2014.
ROME, Italy - Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne expects the merger of Fiat and Chrysler will happen in 2014.
"We will succeed in doing it," he said. "We and VEBA (United Auto Workers' pension fund - a Chrysler shareholder) have different opinions on the value of Chrysler but we will resolve the problem in 2014."
Marchionne, who heads both companies, said on January 30 2013 that the ties between the two automakers were "irreversible" and they would merge "as soon as I can afford it" but didn't put a date on the merger.
Asked if Fiat would keep its Turin headquarters, Marchionne said: "We are a big group, present throughout the world. It will depend on access to financial markets and the choices of the Agnelli family which founded Fiat."
The deal will ultimately give Fiat a 65% stake in Chrysler and full ownership by 2015.
Boosted by increased sales at Chrysler, the Italian giant reported a profitable 2012, announcing a fourth-quarter net profit that rose to the equivalent of about R4.6-billion from R3.2-billion the previous year.
It was aiming for profits the equivalent of about R14.5-billion to R18.1-billion in 2013.
Fiat took a 20% stake in Chrysler in 2009 as the third largest US automaker emerged from a government-financed restructuring under bankruptcy protection. It has since steadily expanded its stake by buying shares owned by the US government and the VEBA fund.
Marchionne reiterated the group's change in strategy towards a luxury market and rejected rumours that Fiat would sell Alfa Romeo to Germany's auto giant Volkswagen.
"I have already said 200 000 times that Alfa Romeo is not for sale and definitely not to them," adding that he had trouble pronouncing the German automaker's name. "We are the ones who will present the (world's) most expensive car at the Geneva auto show, the new Ferrari. We make it in Italy with Italian workers. What do I need to learn from Germans?"
Fiat would assemble its luxury cars at the company's historic factory at Mirafiori, Marchionne said, and at Grugliasco, which now houses the Maserati Quattroporte production line.
Dispelling fears in 2012 that Fiat would be forced to shut plants in Italy, he said the group was committed to keeping production in the country. He also pledged to bring workers in Italian factories, who were forced to go part-time, back into full employment before a three to four-year deadline previously given.