Chrysler CEO: We’re Talking to Third Parties

DETROIT (Reuters) – Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said on Monday the automaker is talking with “third parties” interested in exploring tie-ups as it seeks to leverage its assets amid a global credit crunch.

Nardelli declined to specifically confirm news reports that Chrysler has had talks with General Motors Corp about a deal to combine the No. 1 and No. 3 American automakers.

“I can tell you that we have approached and have been approached by third parties who are interested in exploring future possibilities with Chrysler,” Nardelli said in an email to employees that was obtained by Reuters.

“As the Company evaluates strategic options to maximize core operations and leverage its assets, we engage in a dialogue with these parties,” he added.

Nardelli said in the email the credit crunch presents a more serious issue to the automotive industry than $4 per gallon gasoline.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)