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Chrysler and Fiat cultures are merging well

A top Chrysler executive says Fiat and Chrysler have made good progress at merging their two cultures. 

The Italian car company was put in charge of the Detroit car company two years ago. 

This is Chrysler’s third attempt after failed mergers with German car company Daimler and an investment group, Cerberus Capital. 

Chrysler’s head of World Class Manufacturing Massimo Risi says it helps the companies have a lot in common, especially the ability to survive.

"Both companies are coming from a very tough period," Risi tells reporters at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.  "What happened to Chrysler in 2009-2008 was something that Fiat was very close to."

Risi acknowledges with a broad smile that Italians and Detroiters may communicate a little differently, but he says being prepared for those differences is more than half the battle.

“Both companies need each other," says Risi.  "And I think that both companies are working with an open mind.”

Fiat now owns 53.5% of Chrysler, after buying the U.S. Treasury’s stake in the company.    

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.