Chrysler would be hard to divide, says CEO

DaimlerChrysler chief Dieter Zetsche remarked Tuesday that the Chrysler Group’s integration makes its brands hard to break up, as Blackstone reportedly prepares a bid for the US auto maker.

Speaking Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show, DaimlerChrysler’s chief executive officer said it would be difficult to split up the auto group that includes its Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler brands, The International Herald Tribune reported.

“Chrysler Group is very integrated,” Dieter Zetsche said. “The technical lines, like platforms, do not go along the same lines as brands. The less they are aligned with the brands, the more difficult it would be to think of any separation.”

The Tribune reported that the executive stressed his remarks were meant as an observation – not a comment on the possible sale of its troubled Chrysler Group division, which has reportedly attracted the interest of private equity firm The Blackstone Group, US alternative asset manager Cerberus Capital Management, and US automaker General Motors.

It’s been widely reported by the financial and mainstream press that both Blackstone and Cerberus executives have been meeting with Chrysler and examining its books.

According to a banking source, Blackstone is likely to bid $13.6 billion (€10 billion) for the Chrysler division, which lost nearly $1.5 billion last year and recently announced plans to lay off 13,000 North American workers. In 1998, parent company Daimler-Benz AG paid $36 billion for the company.