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Chrysler CEO:  No Recovery Signs Yet

Chrysler Chief Executive Robert Nardelli said he is encouraged by February's car sales numbers, but he sees no definitive sign of recovery in his industry or in the economy in general.

Robert Nardelli
Robert Nardelli

In an interview on CNBC, Nardelli applauded the work of the Obama administration's auto task force, and said he had no indication that the task force had any pre-conceived notions about the future of the industry.

"All options are still on the table," he said. "They haven't definitively said bankruptcy is out of the question. I think they're being very careful not to signal any kind of decision."

He said he believed the task force sincerely wants to preserve jobs in the United States.

On the subject of economic recovery, Nardelli was blunt.

"We haven't seen anything out there that would suggest we have bottomed out at this time," he said.

He also said the alliance between his company and Italy's Fiat is essential to making Chrysler a full-service car company, and the deal would produce savings that could be used to help repay government loans.

"When I stepped in here, we were certainly heavily weighted on the mid-size to full-size," he said. "I think we have a fiduciary responsibility to never get caught again, given the potential cyclicality of fuel prices. That's why the Fiat alliance is so important to us."

Asked about the public outrage over the payment of bonuses to executives of AIG, Nardelli said Chrysler is a very different case.

"In our case, it was a prerequisite," he said. "Before we received any funds from the U.S. Treasury, the top 25 executives in this company had to sign waivers foregoing any severance (or) any bonus."