Chrysler will "probably" launch its public offering in 2011 and expects that 2010 will be a better year than it originally had forecast, the company's chief executive says.
Sergio Marchionne, who also heads Fiat SpA, told reporters Thursday that he thinks there is plenty of room for share offerings by both Chrysler and General Motors Co. in the next 12 to 18 months, and that he would not mind if GM went first.
"I think there is enough appetite, and I am always respectful of the bigger guy," he said. "If he wants to go first, he should. I mean, let him go. He's been itching to go. I spoke to Ed (Whitacre, GM's CEO) a while back. He wants to go public — let him go. We'll come in second."
Marchionne said that he expects Chrysler to get clearance for U.S. Department of Energy loans for green car manufacturing in the third quarter of this year.
The Obama administration has set a target of putting 1 million rechargeable cars on the road by 2015.
Chrysler recently said it will introduce an all-electric Fiat 500 to the U.S. market in 2012 and drop plans to develop a hybrid version of the 2011 Ram pickup truck.
In order to get the loans, the company had to demonstrate financial viability.
"I think we made significant progress," said Marchionne, who was in Washington last week talking to officials. "There was some skepticism in Washington, which I think we've cleared now."
Marchionne said he expects 2010 to be "a much better year" than the company had originally forecast and said that sales for the month of May were looking strong.
On "the American side, the market is on the mend. I mean, we're not going to see the crazy numbers that we saw in '06 and '07 (in terms of overall U.S. auto sales), but certainly we are going to be over 11 million this year and probably in excess of 12 million next year and those are good volumes to try and build a car business up."
"I am a lot less serene when it comes to European consumption."
He said growth there would be questionable based on the austerity measures being put in place to deal with sovereign debt problems.
"Regardless of how worried I am about the European market ... the likelihood of there being a contagion effect on the North American market is pretty limited," he said.
Looking to Canada, Marchionne said Fiat is still considering building its iconic Alfa Romeo sports car at Chrysler's Brampton, Ontario plant sometime in the future.
Marchionne will be in Dearborn, Michigan on Friday to launch the new Grand Cherokee, a crossover for Chrysler's Jeep brand, will launch in June and stands as the only all-new model that the automaker developed on its own and will have on the market during 2010.
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