Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chrysler News:Jeep To Renault-Nissan and Magna is Cerbrus Selling off Chrysler?

Another Chrysler sell off article!

Jeep To Renault-Nissan, Belvidere To Magna Steyr, PT Cruiser To China. Maybe

Chrysler has been - some say desperately - seeking to “sell key assets” for a while. The Nikkei (sub) now says that Chryler might be getting close. The usual “unnamed people with knowledge of the discussions” whispered that Chrysler is talking to Nissan-Renault and the Canadian auto supplier Magna. The topics of the discussion are the Jeep brand and Chrysler’s Belvidere plant. The Jeep brand would go to Renault-Nissan, Magna would take the plant.

The parties aren’t strangers.

Chrysler had announced an alliance with Nissan last April.

As for Magna, the interest probably stems from Magna’s subsidiary Magna Steyr, which is creating more and more auto contract manufacture business. Magna Steyr has produced the Chrysler Voyager from 2002 to 2007, and currently produces the Chrysler 300C, the Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Magna was one of the bidders for Chrysler when it was sold by Daimler in 2007.

According to Reuters, Chrysler has been in talks with Chinese automakers Chery and Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group Co, to sell them the PT Cruiser “brand” and tooling.

Of course, nobody will officially confirm that anything is true. Reuters says that representatives of Chrysler, Cerberus, Magna, and Nissan declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Renault denied talks were under way.

Reuters say there is reason for secrecy and plausible deniability: Renault-Nissan is looking to see whether a deal to acquire Le Jeep would hurt access to U.S. government funding. Good thinking.

[For the uninitiated: an asset sale is when you sell what's owned by the company without selling the company-- and the liabilities that go with it.]

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