Chrysler pays off government loans – Fiat to take control by decree

by Ben Hoffman

Chrysler paid off their loans of $7.6 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments six years ahead of schedule. While that lets the public off the hook for much of the 2009 bailout, the repayment was made possible by long term private financing of $3 billion, debt securities worth $3.2 billion, and additional credit of $1.3 billion.

Fiat plans to add a new fuel efficient car — currently called the Fiat 500 — to the Chrysler line, which should be ready for production some time next year at a plant in Illinois.

It resembles a cross between a VW Beetle and a Mini Cooper. Gas mileage is rated at 30 MPG city and 38 highway with a five-speed manual transmission. Not bad, but most of the savings will be for city driving. New Honda Accords get 34 MPG on the highway with a lot more comfort.

If they’re smart, they’ll expand the Jeep line to offer models comparable to Subarus.

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