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Once rescued by Fiat, Chrysler is now rescuer of Fiat

Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne
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Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

While Chrysler is finally making money in the United States this year, financial uncertainty in Italy is hitting car sales there hard.   

Inventories are swelling, and incentives are rising.

Fiat lost $285 million in the third quarter of this year, and the overall economic situation doesn't bode well for the company's fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Chrysler made a modified operating profit of $483 million in the third quarter.

Michael Robinet is with IHS Automotive. He said the merger of the two companies is working the way it should. 

"If the European market was down and possibly North America was up, it would help the company in total," Robinet said.

Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said he won’t raid Chrysler’s assets to benefit Fiat.

Robinet expects Fiat will be able to help Chrysler boost its sales globally.  That's especially true of the Jeep brand.

"Chrysler is increasingly going to be a very important cog for Fiat going forward," said Robinet, "And without them, their ability to diversify their demand from a global perspective would really be strained."

Long-term, Robinet said both companies must do better in China, the world’s biggest car market, where sales of Fiat and Chrysler brands are very low.   

Fiat is building a new factory in China to boost production in that country.

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.
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