Chrysler seeks to sell it all to Fiat

The Associated PressMay 2, 2009 

— Attorneys for Chrysler said the company will file a motion by today to sell substantially all of its assets to Italian automaker Fiat. Eight plants, including five that the automaker revealed it will shutter by the end of next year, are not included in the Fiat deal.

While Chrysler faced its first hearing Friday in Manhattan bankruptcy court, court documents showed the ailing automaker plans to close plants in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin that employ about 4,800 people. Chrysler said they will be offered jobs at other plants.

The company also announced that President and Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda is retiring effective immediately.

Judge Arthur Gonzalez approved a series of motions at a swift hearing Friday, setting in motion a chain of events designed to ensure that Chrysler's bankruptcy process is the quick and "surgical" one the company and the U.S. government have promised.

Another hearing is scheduled for Monday morning, when Chrysler attorneys will ask Gonzalez to let the company start using $4.5 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments to keep operating under bankruptcy protection.

Chrysler attorney Corinne Ball, of the firm Jones Day, said the loans and the sale to Fiat represent "an important lifeline" for Chrysler's dealers, suppliers and customers. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday.

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