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Marchionne: New Chrysler Burning Less Cash, But Taxpayers Remain in Dark

Posted by: David Kiley on July 1, 2009

Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne tells Bloomberg News that the company is burning less of its valuable and limited cash than it was a few months ago, but he doesn’t say how much less.

Chrysler is not publicly listed, so Marchionne says he doesn’t have to get into specifics.

Chrysler went through $9.6 billion in cash in 2008. The automaker reorganized around what it considered its best assets in Chapter 11 and $6 billion in fresh financing from the U.S. and Canadian governments.

“We are still burning cash, but it’s slowed down by far,” the news agency quoted Marchionne.

That said, it is not lost on the CEO, who is also head of Fiat’s auto group in Italy, that the American public has a vested interest in knowing some of Chrysler’s specifics.

He says he is discussing with the U.S. Treasury auto task force how much information will be disclosed and how often going forward.

Fiat owns 20% of Chrysler and is managing the company now after the Federal government lent the automaker billions to stay in business.

Today is the day that monthly sales are reported by the automakers. Chrysler, reporters were told yesterday, would issue a press release with sales information. But the automaker plans to discontinue the traditional monthly sales call with reporters to discuss the sales figures in more detail, and offer media outlets an opportunity to ask a few other questions.

GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota have long held conference calls with reporters to discuss their company and industry trends. Right out of the box, though, Fiat is pulling back access by the media too its executives.

Let’s see…a foreign owned company takes over an American icon with the aid of U.S. taxpayer money and then gets, some might say, uppity about disclosing information as a first impression.

Hardly seems sociable.

Reader Comments

Francesco Rossi

July 1, 2009 12:13 PM

Well David,
who says that the American way it's the only way to communicate and do business?
If the missed disclosure of financial data is seen as strategical to have a faster recovery of Chrysler then let it be.
Let's remember that the "American icon" ran by American management has surely been sociable but also failing all these years.

Jerome Albrecht

July 3, 2009 11:16 AM

Chrysler is not going to recover. It is a dinosaur looking for a place to die. The only question is how much of other peoples money is it going to take with it before it croaks.

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