Just in from the Associated Press:
MILAN (AP) — Automaker Fiat Group SpA will walk away from a deal to take a 20-percent stake in Chrysler LLC if the U.S. automaker’s unions don’t agree to major cost cuts, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in an interview published Wednesday.
Fiat and Chrysler are up against an April 30 deadline for Fiat to take a stake in the failing U.S. automaker in exchange for small car technology, but Chrysler first needs concessions from creditors and unions to ink the Fiat deal. If the Fiat alliance isn’t finalized by then, the U.S. government has threatened not to provide any more aid and let Chrysler be sold off in pieces.
“Absolutely we are prepared to walk. There is no doubt in my mind,” he said. “We cannot commit to this organization unless we see light at the end of the tunnel,” Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in an interview published in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
A Fiat spokesman confirmed Marchionne’s statements. Marchionne was attending a shareholders meeting of the Swiss bank UBS in Zurich on Wednesday.
Marchionne said there is a 50 percent chance the deal will fail because of lack of progress in labor negotiations in both the United States and Canada.