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Marchionne says Chrysler stock offering to come in 2011

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Marchionne says Chrysler stock offering to come in 2011



Chrysler will watch General Motors' stock sale closely, but won't move forward with its own initial public offering until sometime in 2011, CEO Sergio Marchionne said today.

"I want a full year of financial results," Marchionne said Saturday night during an event at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills. "It also depends on how quickly and successfully GM's stock offering goes."

GM is expected to release information next month in the first step toward selling shares to investors. The process will allow the U.S. government to start reducing its 60.8% stake in the company.

Marchionne was attending an inaugural gala for the Walter P. Chrysler Museum honoring former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, Tonight Show host Jay Leno and the late Virgil Exner, Chrysler's design chief from the 1950's and 60's.

Chrysler is expected to report its second consecutive pre-tax profit Aug. 9. But the automaker is only beginning a makeover of its product lineup, which began with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and will eventually include more than a dozen redesigned or upgraded models in the next 18 months.

Marchionne, foregoing a suit and tie as always, greeted the honorees, as well as Ford CEO Alan Mulally and newly elected UAW President Bob King in his trademark black crew neck sweater even on a sweltering, humid evening.

He commended Mulally and Ford for its $2.6 billion second-quarter profit and strong sales.

"I'm very impressed with what Alan has accomplished," Marchionne said. "He's a good standard setter for the others."

Marchionne also said GM's announced $3.5 billion acquisition of AmeriCredit is good for Chrysler because it frees Ally Financial, formerly GMAC, to grow its auto financing operations with Chrysler dealers and customers.

Iacocca did not participate in a short press conference prior to the gala, which was also organized to raise money to promote and expand the museum's collection of cars and technology from Chrysler's 85-year history.

Leno, who owns about a dozen classic Chrysler models in his 115-car collection, said Detroit automakers are beginning to win back respect even from hard-bitten show business types who gravitate toward European or Asian luxury cars.

"When a Chrysler 300 drives down the street in Hollywood and someone says, 'Isn't that a Bentley?' that's a good sign," Leno said. "A buddy of mine the other day mistook the new Taurus for a BMW."

The comedian also clarified comments he said were misinterpreted about his impression of the yet-to-be sold Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicles.

"It's not meant to wow you," Leno said. "But I was very impressed with it. The technology is superior to the (Toyota) Prius. You can even drive it without using any gas if you want to."



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