Chrysler hopes turnaround will be quick and last only 30 to 60 days. Chrysler will continue to operate with capital infusions from the US and Canadian governments. CEO Bob Nardelli will leave the company as Chrysler will be getting a new board and CEO.
It's finally come. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy on Thursday.
In a broad deal struck with the Obama administration, which has ushered the troubled automaker towards this decision, as well as the Canadian government, Chrysler will continue operations with capital infusions from both governments (800 million from Canada and the rest from the US Treasury) that can go up to 7.5 billion US dollars. Chrysler's leadership will be replaced entirely. The US government will get to appoint 4 out of 9 new board members to govern the company, the Canadian government will get to select one, one from the UAW-run health care trust fund, and Fiat, which has announced an alliance deal with Chrysler, will get the remaining 3.
Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli has also been made to leave the company, announcing he was stepping down on Thursday, although Nardelli said it was his own decision. GM CEO Rick Wagoner was forced to resign by the Obama White House a few weeks ago. Both companies have received billions in bailout loans from the US government without the desired effect of avoiding bankruptcy. GM is itself too on the brink of filing for Chapter 11.
Both Chrysler and Obama administration officials hope the bankruptcy proceeding will be streamlined and that Chrysler can emerge from Chapter 11 within 30 to 60 days. Whether they succeed in achieving that quick turnaround will be fundamental to the company's future. Consumers, already weary of the brand, are not likely to come rushing to Chrysler until it has weathered this storm.