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Chrysler: Round 1 Winds Down

This weekend, while most of us are reluctantly admitting that our NCAA brackets have gone bust (unless you pick only favorites) the auto industry will be watching the Chrysler sweepstakes. Unfortunately, unlike the college hoops championship, by Monday night it's unlikely we will see a clear winner in the battle for Chrysler.

Round one, according to those close to the process, is a case where 3 firms (Blackstone Group, Cerberus Capital and auto parts supplier Magna) are giving their initial bids. Will any of these be the winning final bid? Probably not.

While DaimlerChrysler is saying nothing publicly about how it may auction off it's American division, those working the process expect Dieter Zetsche and the other executives in Stuutgart, Germany to initiate a secind round of bidding. And that round will mean more due dilligence and the beginning of true "sales discussions".

I still believe it will likely be well into this summer before we know the fate of Chrysler - and even then, the winning bid will likely be contingent upon UAW talks helping the winner guarantee labor costs and liabilities will be dramatically lower.

And you thought picking winners in March madness was tough.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com


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