The formalities behind the sale of the government’s remaining stake in Chrysler were completed this morning, and Fiat SpA is now the official majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC. Counting purchases from both the United States and Canadian governments, Fiat now owns a 53.5-percent stake in Chrysler.
Assistant secretary for financial stability Tim Massad called the government’s exit of Chrysler, six years earlier than projected, a “major accomplishment” that “helped save a million jobs during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
We’re not sure how Massad arrived at his “million jobs saved” estimate, since the Big Three domestic automakers employed less than a quarter of that number in 2008. Regardless of potential jobs saved, this major accomplishment came with a significant price tag. Per the Treasury Department’s own estimate, the Chrysler bailout will end up costing taxpayers some $1.3 billion. In total, Chrysler received some $12.5 billion in bailout funding, of which approximately $11.2 billion has been recovered.
The initial $4 billion in bailout funding came under the Bush administration, and was given to Chrysler in December of 2008. Another $8.5 billion in funding was approved by the Obama administration, and the Chrysler bailout success will be the focus of the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.