Not So Many Briefcases Left: Does Dr. Z Really Want To Make A Deal On Chrysler?

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This whole "Chrysler Group for sale" thing has gotten so much interest that, well...ok, so not that many automakers really appear to be so much interested. The list of "interested parties" (or the list that won't comment on their interest, which in and of itself means...well...not much either) has gotten even smaller since yesterday when we found out Renault-Nissan wasn't interested. We've now heard V-Dub isn't interested in picking up the slack from their cross-national automaking buddy, Daimler-Benz. All of this lack of interest isn't helping DaimlerChrysler's stock price, which experienced a run up to $74-plus a share as speculation of a sale intensified all through last week. But as potential parties have popped out of the media mind's eye this week (and the auto punditocracy has actually made phone calls to query them on their interest) — the stock's dropped a couple of bucks down to a more earthly $70. Speculation is that other automakers are interested in bits n' pieces of the Chrysler Group — one wanting Jeep, another wanting the dealer network, another oddly enough just wanting a key to the Auburn Hills HQ (we don't think that was Joe Eberhardt, but we could be wrong on that) — but not so much wanting to swallow the enchilada whole (or would that be schnitzel?). With so few parties seemingly interested in buying the 'merican side of the German-American hybrid outright, both we and the NYT are wondering why would DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche be so interested in not selling it off chunk by badge-engineered chunk?

Maybe...'s because Dr. Z isn't actually all that interested in seeing the group he once helmed sold off at a yard sale? Pardon us for speculatin' sentimentally here, but we've heard the king teutonic knight has a bit of a soft spot for his old stomping grounds in Auburn Hills. We know the kids and the little lady certainly seem to like it state-side, and it'd be a shame to have to pack up the house and move everyone back to Stuttgart permanently. But in all seriousness (or however serious we get), maybe Dr. Z's using this as a play to keep the board at bay, while he gives Tom "Slim-Faster, dammit!" LaSorda time to make cuts and level the boat again. If so, it's one hell of a risky bet. But a smart move for a man looking to keep the political ability to continue working for his beloved cross-Atlantic merger. Who knows, we're just speculatin' anyway.


The Suitors for Chrysler Grow Sparse [NYT]

Running Out Of Dance Partners: Renault-Nissan Denies Interest In Chrysler Group; YES, Hyundai...Wait, Umm...NO, Hyundai...Wait...; Before You Even Ask: Despite The Friendly Wave, Fiat Has "Zero" Interest In Chrysler; Hyundai "Has Its Hands Full," Not Interested In Chrysler; Buy Chrysler For $13 Billion: JP Morgan To Formally Kick Off Auction This Week?; This Is Our Country, This Is Our Chrysler?; General Motors Provides "No Comment" On Chrysler Acquisition Rumors [internal]