Though it’s still headquartered outside Detroit, Chrysler is once again foreign-owned. Though the diminutive 500 and 500L are essentially niche vehicles in the U.S. market compared to Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, the fact of the matter is that Fiat’s the big dog from a corporate standpoint. Fiat has moved to take full ownership of the Chrysler Group, buying out the United Auto Workers-owned VEBA trust fund. This sidesteps the IPO offering of the 41.46-percent stake of Chrysler held by VEBA that was expected to take place sometime in January.
Fiat and VEBA Trust came to an agreement and a press release was issued on January 1 stating that VEBA Trust would sell all of its equity interest in Chrysler. The total cost? $4.35 billion, when all of the various installment payments and cash deposits are tallied.
Chrysler’s board of directors has voiced support for the move, and the UAW has agreed to adopt some of Fiat’s “benchmarking efforts” and manufacturing processes.
Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive of Fiat and Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group, said,”“In the life of every major organization and its people, there are defining moments that go down in the history books. For Fiat and Chrysler, the agreement just reached with the VEBA is clearly one of those moments. I will be forever grateful to the leadership team for the support and unwavering dedication shown to the integration project that today has taken its final shape. The unified ownership structure will now allow us to fully execute our vision of creating a global automaker that is truly unique in terms of mix of experience, perspective and know-how, a solid and open organization that will ensure all employees a challenging and rewarding environment.”