Marchionne: New Chrysler Burning Less Cash, But Taxpayers Remain in Dark

Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne tells Bloomberg News that the company is burning less of its valuable and limited cash than it was a few months ago, but he doesn’t say how much less.

Chrysler is not publicly listed, so Marchionne says he doesn’t have to get into specifics.

Chrysler went through $9.6 billion in cash in 2008. The automaker reorganized around what it considered its best assets in Chapter 11 and $6 billion in fresh financing from the U.S. and Canadian governments.

“We are still burning cash, but it’s slowed down by far,” the news agency quoted Marchionne.

That said, it is not lost on the CEO, who is also head of Fiat’s auto group in Italy, that the American public has a vested interest in knowing some of Chrysler’s specifics.

He says he is discussing with the U.S. Treasury auto task force how much information will be disclosed and how often going forward.

Fiat owns 20% of Chrysler and is managing the company now after the Federal government lent the automaker billions to stay in business.

Today is the day that monthly sales are reported by the automakers. Chrysler, reporters were told yesterday, would issue a press release with sales information. But the automaker plans to discontinue the traditional monthly sales call with reporters to discuss the sales figures in more detail, and offer media outlets an opportunity to ask a few other questions.

GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota have long held conference calls with reporters to discuss their company and industry trends. Right out of the box, though, Fiat is pulling back access by the media too its executives.

Let’s see…a foreign owned company takes over an American icon with the aid of U.S. taxpayer money and then gets, some might say, uppity about disclosing information as a first impression.

Hardly seems sociable.