Marchionne: Fiat and Chrysler will be merged image

Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC will eventually merge even if Chrysler goes for an initial public offering, Sergio Marchionne said.

“We will eventually have a merged car company,” the chief executive of both automakers was quoted as saying by Reuters at the Detroit auto show. Last week, a minority owner of Chrysler pushed the U.S. automaker to take the first step toward becoming a public company again by demanding that Chrysler registers shares with U.S. regulators.

VEBA, a voluntary employee beneficiary association which owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler, has the right to make such a demand because of a 2009 agreement that got Chrysler out of bankruptcy and left Fiat as majority-owner. According to Marchionne, Fiat has no interest to reduce its stake in Chrysler or to give up its call option rights to buy Chrysler stock from VEBA. Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler.

In July last year, Fiat tried to exercise the first of several options it has under the 2009 bailout deal that require UAW’s VEBA to sell another 3.32 percent of the company. When the two sides could not agree on a price for those shares, Fiat sued the trust and asked a federal judge to decide.