Chrysler wins over a key executive

Nov. 6, 2009 at 2:50 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The head of the largest U.S. auto dealership group, Mike Jackson, said he was confident in Chrysler Group's ability to make a comeback.

Chrysler sales fell 30 percent in October compared to October 2008. This week, however, the automaker revealed its five-year plan, which Jackson, chief executive officer of AutoNation Inc. embraced, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

"My main concern was if you stress-test it (the five-year plan), can they get through disruptions over the next year or two? I now believe they can," Jackson said.

AutoNation will now be "on the hunt for acquisitions" of more Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships, he said.

Chrysler fell into bankruptcy this summer and emerged controlled by Fiat SpA under the leadership of CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Jackson described his first impression of the Chrysler's new CEO.

"He's got a little office, one step up from a cubicle. He comes up to me wearing a tennis shirt with a backpack slung over his shoulder. I thought to myself, 'This is going to be magic or tragic,'" Jackson said.

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