Chrysler exec sees automaker viable by spring
A top Chrysler LLC executive says the automaker should be viable by springtime because of its restructuring, introduction of new and improved vehicles, and higher sales due to loosened credit and sweetened incentives for buyers.
Vice Chairman and President Jim Press defined "viable" as remaining solvent and continuing to invest in new products, with an ability in the future to repay government loans.
But he told reporters Saturday at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention that he doesn't know when the privately owned Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company will return to profitability.
Press said Chrysler can be viable if the U.S. light vehicle market shrinks from last year's 13.2 million in sales to just over 10 million. As recently as 2007, the market exceeded 16 million.
The struggling Chrysler has received $4 billion in government loans so far to hold off bankruptcy, and it expects to get $3 billion more after it files a viability plan with the government by Feb. 17. Without the loan money, its executives have said it would run out of cash.
Press told reporters that the country was living off loose credit and fast spending for years, and a correction probably is good. But that means automakers have to be prepared to make it on sales that are far lower than in previous years.