Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Chrysler CEO: We're 'operationally' bankrupt

Automaker scrambling to sell assets just months after private equity buyout as credit crunch deepens - report

Subscribe to Companies
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Chrysler Corp., the troubled automaker bought by private equity just four months ago, is scrambling to sell assets amid indications of huge losses, as access to cash becomes increasingly scarce, according to a published report Friday.

"Someone asked me, 'Are we bankrupt?'" the Wall Street Journal quoted Chrysler boss Robert Nardelli telling employees at a meeting earlier this month. "Technically, no. Operationally, yes. The only thing that keeps us from going into bankruptcy is the $10 billion investors entrusted us with."

To raise money, Chrysler is looking to sell over $1 billion in land, old factories, and other holdings, even if it has to let those properties go for under book value, the Journal said.

In an interview with the Journal, Nardelli confirmed the comments and declined to give a financial forecast for 2008, saying only that Chrysler "will make a pretty significant improvement" over the $1.6 billion the company is set to lose this year. The Journal said Nardelli originally hoped to turn a profit in 2008.

The rush to raise capital comes amid constricting access to money as more banks and other lenders face heavy losses related to subprime mortgages.

Chrysler's owner, Cerberus Capital Management, is now facing serious subprime-related losses from GMAC Financial Services, which it bought from General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) for $12 billion, and is also trying to walk away from a now pricey deal to buy United Rentals Inc., (URI) the Journal said.

Cerberus bought Chrysler from German automaker Daimler in a deal that closed in August.

In the arrangement, Daimler (DAI) essentially paid Cerberus to take the automaker, which fell to No. 4 in U.S. sales behind Toyota Motor (TM) in 2006, in an effort to get out from under a $1.5 billion loss from last year, along with continued obligations to union members and retirees. To top of page

Photo Galleries
15 top-paid CEOs The 15 highest-paid corporate chiefs in America took home nearly $700 million last year -- about $47 million apiece on average. Expedia's Dara Khosrowshahi tops the list -- with $95 million in total pay. David Zaslav, who was no. 1 last year moves down to no. 15 this year. More
Driving Bentley's new SUV Spending an afternoon in Bentley's luxurious new $230,000 SUV. More
Best cars for the super-rich The Robb Report has selected these as the best new cars and SUVs for anyone who doesn't have to worry about how much they spend. More
Sponsors