It's official. The U.S. government is shedding its stake in Chrysler, selling the last 6% of the company to Fiat for $500 million -- a deal that gives the Italian automaker majority ownership of Chrysler.
“As Treasury exits its investment in Chrysler, it’s clear that President Obama’s decision to stand behind and restructure this company was the right one,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement. “Today, America’s automakers are mounting one of the most improbable turnarounds in recent history – creating new jobs and making new investments in communities across our country.”
So, how will this affect Chrysler's positioning as "Imported from Detroit?" Will the critics tack on "...with profits headed to Italy?" Japanese and German cars (Toyota, Honda, BMW, etc.) made in the U.S. do not get credit as "American" cars, so will Chrysler be able to hold on to its "American" car company status, while it is owned by Fiat?
American consumers appear loyal to the roots of the company, rather than corporate ownership. The purchase of Budweiser by InBev appears to have done little to tarnish Bud's American Patriot persona. And Ben & Jerry's hangs on to its Vermont heritage despite being owned by British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever.
Perhaps the "Imported from Detroit" theme was one of the smartest directions they could have gone.