Fiat boosts its stake in Chrysler to 30 percent image

Fiat boosted its ownership stake in Chrysler Group LLC by 5 percent Tuesday as the Italian automaker met several benchmarks set by the U.S. government.

The announcement was made in a communique’ issued by Fiat’s Lingotto headquarters.

After the deal was completed, the treasury owned 8.6%, Canadian governments owned 2.2% and the trust fund, also called a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, owned 59.2%.

“It broadens the Chrysler Group-Fiat partnership and then it enhances the Chrysler Group’s international position,” Eileen Wunderlich, a spokeswoman for Auburn Hills, Michigan- based Chrysler, said in a phone interview.

The 5% rise, which Chrysler confirmed, took effect after Fiat achieved two goals related to Chrysler’s international sales. One, which required Fiat to help Chrysler increase its revenue from markets outside of North America by $1.5 billion, was achieved recently.

The goals were part of a complex deal the U.S. government reached with Fiat in 2009 that gave the Italian company a stake and management control of Chrysler.

Marchionne has said he would like to increase Fiat’s ownership to majority control before taking the company public. To do that, Chrysler would need to produce in the U.S. a car with a combined fuel-efficiency rating of 40 m.p.g. and repay about $7.2 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments.