Tuesday, May 15, 2007

LaSorda: Chrysler will remain intact

Says Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler will remain under one roof following its purchase by private equity firm; no additional job cuts planned.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda said Tuesday the company will not be broken following its purchase by Cerberus Capital Management.

"These brands will not be broken up under any circumstances," LaSorda said at a press conference.

Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda

LaSorda said Chrysler will be able to utilize Daimler's technology - including areas where Daimler is a world leader such as diesel engines, hybrids and safety - while tapping the management expertise of Cerberus and being freed from the short-term profit focus of Wall Street.

"It's in our best interest, and I'm as excited as anyone can expect," he said. 'We'll be able to run it the way we want to run it."

He reiterated the company also does not plan any additional job cuts as a result of the sale.

"This is an entity that is precious, and we want it to grow," said LaSorda.

He said the company is still looking for health care concession from its workers similar to ones one by its domestic competitors, GM (Charts, Fortune 500) and Ford (Charts, Fortune 500).

He also said the company has no plans to license out its popular 300 platform, nor to buy up any of the existing Chrysler dealerships.

He said that while the company will obviously be under pressure to turn around its balance sheet, he expected the hook up with Cerberus will be a long term endeavor.

DaimlerChrysler (Charts) announced Monday it would pay about $650 million to dump 80 percent of its money-losing Chrysler unit, undoing the industry's most expensive and least successful merger. The buyer, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, is investing about $7.4 billion in all, but most of that is new financing for Chrysler and its finance arm going forward.

Daimler is retaining a 20 percent stake in the company. LaSorda said that would most likely give them a seat or seats on the company's board, but that executives from the German firm would not be involved in Chrysler's day to day operations. Top of page

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