By grabbing the last of Chrysler’s shares owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments, Fiat has taken a 55.3 percent controlling stake in the once-beleaguered U.S. automaker, and the federal government has rid itself of the Chrysler’s ownership.
Now that Fiat has assumed a majority ownership of Chrysler, the Italian automaker can appoint most of the American company’s board of directors as the brands’ product portfolios begin to integrate. Overseas, several Chryslers including the full-size 2011 Chrysler 300C full-size sedan and the 200 midsizer, will be going on sale this fall in Europe badged as Lancias. In the U.S., Fiat’s presence consists only of the 2011 Fiat 500 subcompact car until 2013 when the Alfa Romeo luxury brand is expected to relaunch its North American presence.
While Fiat can now focus on steering the ship, it’s not the only owner of the Pentastar company. In the 2009 restructuring of Chrysler, arrangements were made to give the rest of the company’s stake to the United Auto Workers union through its Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) trust that manages the workers’ health care fund.
Next Monday, the United Auto Workers are expected to begin wage negotiations for a new collective contract to span over the next four years.