U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC has stemmed the pace at which it uses cash after emerging from bankruptcy last month as a slimmer company, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said in an interview with Bloomberg published on Wednesday.
Chrysler went through $9.6 billion in cash in 2008. The Detroit car maker reorganized around what it considered its best assets and $6 billion in fresh financing from the U.S. and Canadian governments.
We are still burning cash, but it's slowed down by far, the agency quoted Marchionne, also the chief executive of Italy's Fiat SpA , as saying.
The question is how quickly we can stop the bleeding. That is priority No. 1.
He declined to say how quickly the company is using cash.
Marchionne is cutting inventory and adding new platforms and engine technology to redefine the product portfolio.
Fiat acquired 20 percent of the new Chrysler formed from the bankruptcy. The combined company is the world's sixth-largest carmaker, with annual sales of 4.5 million vehicles.
Marchionne said he wanted to disclose Chrysler's financial information even though the automaker was not publicly listed, Bloomberg said.
He said he was working with the U.S. Treasury to decide what information Chrysler might report and when.
ALFA ROMEO AND DODGE
By the end of the month, Marchionne wants to decide how the new company will manage its Dodge and Alfa Romeo brands, which he sees as American and European counterparts.
One solution might be to sell Alfa Romeo models under the Dodge brand in the United States and Dodge cars as Alfa Romeos in Europe, Marchionne said.
Chrysler should be able to take control of its European dealer network by September, Marchionne added.
Marchionne said he was not searching for another partner in Europe or Asia, even though his offer for General Motors Corp's came up short.
He said on Friday he would not sweeten his bid to top frontrunner Magna International Inc's offer to buy the company, even though he is still interested in the German brand.
The executive said a plan to spin off or list the Italian company's car-making operations has been put on hold since its bid for Opel is not moving forward.
Fiat does not need cash, Bloomberg quoted him as saying.
The company met its operating profit and cash-generation objectives in the second quarter, Marchionne said.
Marchionne said he expected Fiat to generate even more cash over the next 12 months as market conditions improved.
If Fiat decides to issue bonds, it would be to lengthen maturities on its debt, not for getting fresh cash, he said. Fiat has about 4.5 billion euros of debt coming due this year.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; editing by Simon Jessop)