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Nissan and Chrysler. Can't We Get These Two Kids Together?

Sitting with Carlos Ghosn, CEO of both Renault and Nissan, this week at our offices, I became pretty sure I was looking at the future CEO of Chrysler.

He told us that the deals to supply Chrysler with a Versa and to have Chrysler build Nissan’s Titans are deals that stand alone. And they are.

Ghosn also said that this is a time where the markets wouldn’t like to try and absorb a big deal like Renault-Nissan taking on Chrysler. I don’t know about that. Deals are still cooking in other industries. Ghosn still wants a North American alliance partner. I don’t ever see it being Ford. And GM was a non-starter. Unless he is eyeballing Tesla or Shelby, Chrysler is it.

What seems pretty clear is that Chrysler LLC owner Cerberus Capital would love love love to off-load the automaker for more than it has put in, even if it’s $5.00. Center for Automotive Research chsirman David Cole told me this week that, “Cerberus doesn’t have a lot of time with this thing.”

Carlos knows that he is really the only game in town for Chrysler. Ghosn, in my estimation, is smart. He sees Chrysler’s price going down from here, not up. And he can afford to wait Cerberus out for a while.

Meantime, DaimlerChrysler Daimler AG has reduced the value of its minority stake in Chrysler LLC by almost two-thirds after the U.S. automaker made a 340 million euro ($529.1 million) punch to Daimler’s pretax profits in the first quarter.

Daimler retained a 19.9 percent stake in Chrysler when it sold the majority control in August 2007 to Cerberus. Daimler now values its stake in Chrysler at 547 million euros ($851.2 million). At the time of the sale, Daimler valued the stake at 1.4 billion euros ($2.18 billion.

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