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Chrysler: No Sale!

Chrysler: No Sale!

Sharon Silke Carty, USA TODAY

DETROIT — Chrysler held an impromptu press conference Wednesday morning to debunk rumors that it is discussing the sale of its brands, selling off its plants or going out of business. But being sold off as an entire company remains a possibility.

The company was reacting to a report published Tuesday that said Chrysler is in talks to sell key assets to Renault and supplier Magna, as well as plans to sell the PT Cruiser brand to a Chinese company.

“I’d love to tell the press directly what’s going on, instead of people putting out rumor-based reporting, which at this point is not healthy for the industry,” says Tom LaSorda, vice chairman and president of Chrysler. LaSorda is in charge of asset sales and acquisitions for the automaker.

Still, LaSorda says he wouldn’t know if the entire company is up for sale. That would be handled by Cerberus, Chrysler’s privately-owned and guarded parent company.

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Magna has hired Wolfgang Bernhard, formerly chief operating officer of Chrysler when it was owned by Daimler, further fueling speculation that a deal between the two companies may be imminent. Bernhard had worked as a consultant for Cerberus, when the automakers was in the process of buying Chrysler.

LaSorda says the automaker was in talks with Magna last year to partner in Russia, but that fell through because the Russian economy is so weak.

“Magna is a great company, but we’re not selling any brands, like a Jeep stand alone,” LaSorda says. “We’re just not doing that.”

The company is interested in finding buyers for tooling and machining it is no longer using for older brands. LaSorda says Chrysler has not had anyone formally express interest in the tooling, but potential buyers could include Chinese, Korean or Japanese automakers.

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