Not long after President Obama announced Chryslers bankruptcy filing and deal with Italys Fiat just after noon today, reaction from all quarters -- politicians, industry officials, dealers associations and others -- hit the Internet. Heres a sampling of what is being said:
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A.:
This transaction represents a constructive and important solution to the problems that have plagued not just Chrysler in recent years, but the global automotive industry as a whole. Bringing together Fiats world-class technology, platforms and power-trains for small and medium sized cars, and its extensive distribution network in Latin America and Europe with Chryslers rich heritage, strong North American presence and talented and dedicated workforce will create a powerful new automotive company, while helping preserve jobs and a manufacturing industry that is critically important to the U.S. and Canadian economies.
General Holiefield, head of UAWs Chrysler department:
While we work to complete the process of court approval, the steps taken today are important milestones in restoring a great American car company to financial health, keeping manufacturing jobs here in the United States, and preserving a secure retirement for tens of thousands of American workers.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.:
The rogue hedge funds that refused to agree to a fair offer to exchange debt for cash from the U.S. Treasury -- firms I label as the vultures -- will now be dealt with accordingly in court.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.:
Unfortunately, a minority of its secured lenders -- mainly hedge funds and other creditors -- have held out for more and prevented this agreement from taking effect immediately, making a short-term bankruptcy proceeding necessary.
While I would have preferred to avoid bankruptcy proceedings, the good news is that all the elements have come together save that one piece, so bankruptcy now appears to be but a short delay on the road to a brighter future for the company.
Jeremy Anwyl, CEO Edmunds.com:
The merger with Fiat is a critical milestone in the evolution of Chrysler, and holds much more promise than the merger with Daimler in the 90s. Chrysler has one last chance to create relevancy for its brand in order to convince consumers to overcome the risks and buy its vehicles.
John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association:
Bankruptcy, however, must not be used to drastically reduce dealer numbers. Dealers generate more than 90 percent of manufacturer revenue and are not a cost to the automaker. A rapid reduction in dealer numbers would not only do absolutely nothing to improve Chrysler's viability in the short term, but it would actually work against Chrysler's stated objective to increase revenue and cut costs.
Vince Snowbarger, acting director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.:
Chrysler's entry into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today does not change the status of its defined benefit pension plans. The plans remain ongoing under the sponsorship of Chrysler, and are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. As the bankruptcy process unfolds, the PBGC will work with Chrysler, its unions, and all other stakeholders to ensure continuation of the pension plans.