Chrysler LLC on Thursday announced a new executive
vice- president position to expand alliances with overseas
automakers, something that industry analysts say shows a new sense
of urgency to find partners outside of North America.
The company named Simon Boag as executive vice-president of
global alliance operations, reporting to president and vice-chairman
``Growth in markets outside of North America is critical to the
success of Chrysler,'' LaSorda said in a statement. ``We are looking
for new alliances and growth opportunities all over the world.''
Chrysler has been in talks with Nissan Motor Co. about building a
vehicle for Chrysler, and it also will build a minivan for
Volkswagen AG. In July, Chrysler announced a deal with China's
biggest independent car company, Chery Automobile Co., to jointly
produce and export small cars to western Europe and the United
Many analysts have said that Chrysler needs to quickly find a
global partner to capture growth in emerging markets and buffer a
declining U.S. auto market. Such a partner could take an ownership
stake in Chrysler, which last year was uncoupled from Daimler AG
after a stormy marriage. In August, Daimler sold an 80.1 per cent
stake in Chrysler to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital
``I think it would be advisable to get a strong partner,'' said
Burnham Securities analyst David Healy, who added that partners
could save millions or billions by developing vehicle underpinnings
and engines jointly.
Erich Merkle, vice-president of auto industry forecasting for the
consulting company IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids, said Chrysler is
primarily a North American company with little presence overseas.
``You have to have a position in some of these emerging
markets,'' Merkle said. ``Looking 10, 15, 20 years down the road,
those markets are going to be substantial.''
Merkle said Chrysler must move quickly, but establishing a
full-blown alliance with partners exchanging equity stakes and
trying to save money through manufacturing, design and management
combinations might not work.
``It's really easy to recognize those synergies on paper, but
trying to recognize those synergies in the real world is very
difficult,'' Merkle said.
Healy said alliances to design products or engines are more
likely for Chrysler than trying to merge management, especially if
both companies need the same things.
``Spending the development bucks once rather than twice makes a
lot of sense,'' Healy said.
Chrysler's statement said Boag, who joined the company in April
2005 as vice-president of assembly and stamping operations, will
lead the operations side of Chrysler's alliances. He also serves as
co-chair of Chrysler's efforts to develop electric and other
advanced propulsion vehicles.
Company spokesman David Barnas declined to comment beyond the
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