DETROIT (March 26, 2012) — Turning Chrysler Group L.L.C. around was a long shot that other CEOs wouldn't “have touched with a 10-foot pole,” Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne declared in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired yesterday on CBS TV.
Mr. Marchionne said he knew the odds were against saving the No. 3 U.S. auto maker in 2009, but as the CEO of Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A., he decided to take the risk with the help of a U.S. government rescue package.
He discussed the route through bankruptcy, downsizing and layoffs to rebounding sales and profitability with “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft during the Sept. 25 interview.
Mr. Marchionne said the fear he saw in Chrysler workers' faces when he arrived in 2009 disappeared as the turnaround proceeded.
“It's been a long, rocky road, but the fear has gone,” he said, crediting workers for much of the reversal in fortune.
“I think the world of American workers,” he said. “What happened here at Chrysler would have been impossible without the commitment that they've shown, absolutely impossible.”
Fiat now owns 58.8 percent of Chrysler, and Mr. Marchionne said he is working on a plan to further merge the two auto makers.
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.