Chrysler's LaSorda Fires Back At Rumormongers

LaSorda Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Tom LaSorda took to the podium Wednesday to lambast reporters for perpetuating rumor-mill grist that the Auburn Hills, Mich. automaker is aiming to sell off its parts, including the Jeep brand. LaSorda, in a telephone press conference, said stories suggesting that Chrysler is looking for a dance partner for Jeep, looking to spin off various of its production facilities or current Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler model platforms are "absolutely false."


LaSorda said the company will not sell any of Chrysler's brands, is not in negotiations to sell domestic plants making current models (but that it would be open to selling production facilities for older models), and might consider licensing arrangements in which other companies produced models bearing Chrysler nameplates. He said none of this should be a surprise because Chrysler has often said that it will sell unprofitable, previous-generation or end-of-cycle assets.



"I'd like to be as direct as I normally am with regard to what's being stated," he said during the press conference. "We said it many, many times, and it keeps coming up: We will not separate brands from the company."

LaSorda argued that, in fact, Chrysler's loan agreement with the government stipulates that any deal to sell Chrysler parts that tops $100 million must land on the forthcoming federal car czar's desk first. LaSorda also said it has no plans to sell Chrysler parts or to ink major development or platform-sharing deals with Chrysler supplier Ontario-based Magna International Inc. or partners Nissan and Renault. "Magna's a great company, but they aren't buying any brands, nor would we sell any brands to anyone else, such as a Jeep stand-alone--we just aren't doing that."

He says no current models are on the block either. "But there could be discussion about older models. If someone came to us and said, 'Would [you] consider licensing an existing platform?' that would be difficult, but it is something we would consider," he says. "We have been on the record for over a year that we would be selling non-earning assets, or assets that would be coming due based on the life cycle." He said that the Chrysler PT Cruiser, whose production life ends this summer, would be such a brand. "Do we have offers to buy those assets? No. Would be pursuing a buyer? Yes," he said.

What he could not comment on was the potential sale of the entire company by owner N.Y.-based Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm. "I can't speak to that, since it's handled at the Cerberus level ... But this company's going to be around; we aren't going under," he said.

Next story loading loading..