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Sen. Corker Harangues Chrysler

Colorful Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) just launched into one of his long-winded, metaphor-strewn sort-of questions usually meant to shame a witness before him on the Senate Banking committee.

Today's victim is Chrysler chief executive Bob Nardelli.

"Chrysler doesn't really want to be a standalone business," Corker said. "That's well-documented. Your plan is to hang around so you can date someone and hopefully get married soon before you run out of money."

"I have a little trouble, when I look at your plan, that you haven't invested in product development, you don't have the technology to compete as a standalone, your dealership levels across the states might be valuable to a foreign company coming in -- it troubles me a little bit that all we're doing is providing a little bit of capital to hang around long enough to get married," Corker said.

Nardelli strenuously objected, saying, "I don't wake up every morning wondering how to sell the company."

Nardelli cited several long-term deals Chrysler has inked with other businesses as proof that it wants to remain as a standalone.

"There is not a human being alive in the auto industry who thinks Chrysler is doing anything other than trying to find someone to marry," Corker said. "I will never be convinced of anything different," he said.

Corker went on to say that last night he talked to a board member of Cerberus Capital, the private-equity group that owns 80 percent of Chrysler.

"That board member said to me there is no way they would make additional investments in the auto industry at this time," Corker said.

Nardelli acknowledge that its 2007 "divorce" from Germany's Daimler left Chrysler "somewhat hollowed out."

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 4, 2008; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bob Nardelli, Christopher Dodd, Chrysler  
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Next: GM, Chrysler Willing To Merge To Get Federal Money

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