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Marchionne, Elkann to skip Frankfurt Auto Show

by Bill Cawthon on

Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reports that Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has cancelled his appearances at two press conferences scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday during media days at the Frankfurt International Auto Show (IAA).

The show opened to the press today and opens to everyone on Thursday, September 12.

Marchionne cited “work commitments that cannot be delayed” as the reason the change in plans.

Fiat SpA chairman John Elkann will also be a no-show, saying he had “professional commitments.”

Since Marchionne is also the president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and the IAA is one of the most important car shows of the year, rumors are flying about the reason for the sudden change of plans. Speculation is focusing on the efforts Fiat is making to acquire the stake in Chrysler currently held by the United Auto Workers retiree healthcare trust, usually called the “Veba.”

The impasse over the value of the minority stake is a roadblock in Marchionne’s drive to fully merge Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group into a single company. At this time, the matter is in the hands of a Delaware Chancery Court judge who has indicated he may require a full trial, which could delay a decision for a year or more.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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