Though the details are still being scrutinized by both auto giants (and causing plenty of concern and consternation among industry analysts and Chrysler executives alike), the merger of Chrysler LLC and the Fiat Group has disgruntled Chrysler dealers in a very hopeful mood. According to The Detroit News, dealers feel that the merger is "the best idea they've heard in a long time."
Dealer Chuck Eddy, who voiced support to Congress back in November for Federal loans to GM and Chrysler, said of the deal with Fiat: "this shows the government we are valued. It utilizes our excess capacity. We can offer a broad range of product on the showroom floor. It's all good, if you ask me."
2008 Fiat 500Enlarge Photo
Chrysler informed its dealers about the Fiat deal in a conference call yesterday morning, causing waves of positive sentiment voiced with words and phrases like "ebullient" and "a great shot at survival." They say that dealers had nary a hint of the deal prior to receiving the news directly from Chrysler.
With a whopping 53 percent sales decline in December, the largest of any major carmaker, Chrysler dealers are desperate for good news. Last Friday's $1.5 billion loan from the Federal government, allowing readier financing through Chrysler Financial, should help the automaker sell more vehicles; only 3,800 Chrysler vehicles were financed in December '08 vs. 50,000 financed for that month one year prior.
Nonetheless, this is far from the end of Chrysler's troubles, with some certain that Chrysler will end up forced into chapter 11 and others fearing that the Fiat/Chrysler deal simply can't be completed by Congress' February 17 deadline.
[source: Detroit News]