Last week was marked by news headlines unlike anything most of us have seen in our careers. Global financial markets are in turmoil and continue to seek stability as governments work to restore confidence in their banking and financial institutions. Here in the United States, on the heels of record-low consumer sentiment and the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch now presents a more serious issue to the automotive industry than four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. On Friday, the stock market recorded its eighth consecutive decline, including the worst week on record for the S&P 500 index.
Other headlines you may have seen over the weekend reported that GM and Ford had been talking about a merger, and also that there is a possibility of one between Chrysler and GM. As a matter of policy, Chrysler does not comment on speculation or discuss its private business meetings, but I would like to give you a few facts to keep in mind.
The leadership team has shared with you on an ongoing basis that the Company is looking at a number of potential global partnerships as it explores growth opportunities around the world. Some of these already announced include our OEM agreements for small cars and trucks with Nissan and for minivan production in North America with Volkswagen. To protect the integrity of our Company and those with whom we meet, we do not confirm or disclose the nature of our business meetings, as many times they do not lead anywhere.
I can tell you that we have approached and have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities with Chrysler. As the Company evaluates strategic options to maximize core operations and leverage its assets, we engage in a dialogue with these parties. We do so keeping in mind our vision, our mission, and the best interests of those who have shown tremendous support for this Company -– including you, our employees, dealers, suppliers and customers.
It’s important for you to know that beyond those partnerships already announced, Chrysler has not formed any new agreements and has no announcements to make at this time.
On behalf of the Office of the Chairman and the entire leadership team, I appreciate your continued hard work and your tireless efforts to restore Chrysler to its rightful place in the automotive industry. The focus and dedication you show at this unusually challenging time reflect the strength and the fighting spirit that has made Chrysler the company it is today, and will be tomorrow.