Chrysler's Quarter In The Rumor Mill


What do you think will happen to Chrysler?

That question was flying around the Detroit Auto Show this weekend, and will likely be asked over and over between now and March 31st. And every time someone asks that question, they hear a different answer. Trust me, some of the predictions I heard in Detroit were doozies.

So let's look at the chances of some different scenarios playing out.

• Chrysler is sold as a whole to a foreign auto maker?

I believe this has the greatest likelihood of happening among all the options facing Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital. There are reports Renault/Nissan is interested, but don't be surprised if a dark horse enters the picture. SAIC out of China maybe?

• Chrysler is sold to GM in a marriage arranged by the government?

I'm not sure I see this happening for a couple of reasons. Yes, GM would love to have Jeep, but in order to take that it would also have to take on a lot of what doesn't work at Chrysler. Right now, GM has enough on its plate restructuring with a federal bailout. Adding on the challenge of doing that while cleaning up Chrysler is likely more than GM wants to bite off.

• Chrysler is sold off in pieces?

Don't dismiss this possibility. Yes, Jeep is the crown jewel any number of auto makers would like, but there are other pieces that have value. There are plants, tooling operations, etc. that have value to a whole host of companies. Already there are reports Magna may be interested in a Chrysler assembly plant.

• Chrysler stays independent?

I think this is the least likely possibility. Yes, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli has told me and anyone else he talks with that Cerberus and Chrysler are committed to staying independent, but we've heard that before only to find out Cerberus is talking about off loading its auto maker. On top of that, with a sluggish economy and auto industry, does Cerberus want to put up with losing more money, holding a weakened asset, and meeting federal bailout requirements? I doubt it.

Watch this first quarter. The Chrysler rumors will be flying

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What do you think will happen to Chrysler?