Despite being on the verge of bankruptcy, Chrysler has signed on as a sponsor to Terminator 4. The company's vehicles will appear in cameos during the movie.

Chrysler LLC has announced a sponsorship deal with the makers of Terminator: Salvation, but refused to disclose the cost of the deal. In a move that is certain to upset many, the financially strapped company is ponying up what little cash they have to see their cars featured in short cameos during Terminator 4.

The American automaker recently received $4 billion in a taxpayer-funded government bailout. Chrysler was reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, and would not have been able to pay their suppliers without the loan. Still in a dangerous position, the privately-owned company cut over a third of their employees.

Chrysler was shut out of many product placement deals recently. General Motors inked a deal with The Transformers live-action films. Ford got in on the action with their Knight Rider deal, featuring a Mustang, Flex, and F-150.

But those deals were made before the economy took a nosedive, and before a bailout of the auto industry was even considered. Critics of the deal think Chrysler's cash is better spent elsewhere, especially since the company's products are already well-known by the public. A better use of the bailout funds may be to directly market their cars and trucks to potential customers based on the merits of those vehicles, and not by product placement in a sci-fi/action flick.

"This spring, Terminator 4 comes out and we will be one of the sponsors," said Chrysler media director Susan Thomson. In her presentation at the Automotive News World Congress, she said, "We have a following with the Terminator movies and we are going to continue with that."

Only time will tell if Chrysler's marketing strategy will work. Terminator:Salvation, starring Christian Bale, opens in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and South Korea on May 22, with other markets worldwide getting the film soon after.

Chrysler will likely ask for an additional $3 billion in federally backed loans when they present their restructuring plan next month.

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