Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne could have broken into song -- the Gershwins' "They All Laughed," to be specific -- during a media presentation at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Detroit this week. The Chrysler CEO, who said the company has paid the U.S. and Canada back their $7.5 billion loan to keep the automaker afloat, noted that critics said it couldn't be done. He said that, in spite of those who placed "a death sentence on our company," the Auburn Hills, Mich., partner of Fiat SpA has proven its mettle. The repayment comes six years earlier than required under the 2009 bailout terms.
Marchionne praised President Obama for giving the company a second chance. "We were encouraged by the fact that someone believed in us." He confirmed that Fiat will take an additional 16% stake in Chrysler, raising Fiat's holdings to 46%. Fiat filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission this year suggest the company may boost its holdings in Chrysler to as high as 70%.