Expect to see many more Chrysler/Fiat headlines within the next few days. Hot of the press is a new report that Democratic senator Robert Menendez is urging President Barack Obama to require Chrysler to repay its federal bailout money if Fiat takes a controlling stake of the U.S. automaker.
Menendez said in a later to Obama that American taxpayers should not be investing in a foreign automaker. So far, the U.S. Treasury Department has handed $4 billion in loans to Chrysler LLC and $1.5 billion to Chrysler Financial.
The Chrysler and Fiat partnership will give the Italian automaker 35 percent equity interest in Chrysler LLC; however, it will not make any cash investment in Chrysler or commit to fund it in the future. As a part of the deal, Chrysler will get access to Fiat’s fuel-efficient small car platforms and engines.
Chrysler was not available for comment.