"Absolutely false" - those were the words used by Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Tom LaSorda today regarding murmurs of a sale of the Jeep brand, one or more manufacturing plants, or tooling for an existing vehicle. (And who, exactly, would be fool enough to buy the tooling for, say, the Jeep Patriot or the Dodge Avenger?).
LaSorda asserted that Chrysler will not separate brands from the company, speaking to reporters this morning on a conference call. He did allow that his company has been planning for more than a year to sell non-earning assets, or those that may be "coming due." As well, he claimed that there have been talks of selling the tooling for previous-gen vehicles.
This quashes rumors of a Chrysler factory sale to Canadian parts supplier Magna International Inc. or a sale of the Jeep brand to Nissan-Renault. Additionally, this puts to rest the rumor that the Belvedere, Ill. plant that assembles the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Patriot, and Jeep Compass will be sold. That plant has recently eliminated employees and reduced shift hours in response to diminished sales
From France, Renault denied any such dealings with Chrysler, while from Japan, Nissan "declined to comment" according to The Detroit News.--Colin Mathews