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Chrysler: No plans to sell brands or plants

Chrysler: No plans to sell brands or plants

Chrysler LLC is not in discussions to sell brands or plants that make current models, Vice Chairman Tom Lasorda said Wednesday.
LaSorda made the remarks in a morning conference call with reporters in response to reports that the company was in talks to sell a factory to Canadian parts supplier Magna International Inc. and the Jeep brand to the partnership Nissan-Renault.
LaSorda said it was "absolutely false" that the Auburn Hills, Michigan, automaker was in talks to sell Jeep. "It keeps coming up that Chrysler is going to sell certain brands," he said. "We will not separate the brands from the company."
He also denied the company was in discussions to sell its plant in Belvidere, Illinois. The plant makes the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. The company has recently eliminated shifts and reduced the plant's work force in response to slumping sales.
While LaSorda said Chrysler was not in discussions to sell current plants, he said the company remained open to selling tooling that produces older models.
A spokesman for the French automaker Renault denied the company was in talks to buy assets from Chrysler, while a Nissan representative in Tokyo declined to comment.
Magna spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst also declined to comment to on the reports. Fuerst confirmed, however, that the parts supplier had hired former Chrysler and Volkswagen AG executive Wolfgang Bernhard as a consultant. Bernhard is also a former adviser to the private equity firm that controls Chrysler, Cerberus Capital Management LP.
LaSorda deferred questions to Cerberus about whether Chrysler as a whole was for sale. Cerberus spokesman Tim Price declined to comment on speculation about selling the automaker.
Despite the $4 billion loan Chrysler recently received from the federal government, analysts have said the automaker will have a tough time turning itself around as an independent company.
Its U.S. market share fell to 11 percent last year and analysts say most of Chrysler's products, especially its cars, don't look, feel or drive as well as the competition's.
Chrysler and Nissan Motor Co. already have partnerships to build vehicles. Chrysler is already signed up to make pickup trucks for the Japanese company, while Nissan will build small cars for Chrysler.
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AP Business Writers Tom Krisher in Detroit and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.


Updated : 2020-12-01 14:28 GMT+08:00