Chrysler CEO hails 'payoff day'

DETROIT — Less than two years after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Chrysler is poised to pay off its government debt, Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday.

"Tomorrow is payoff day," Marchionne said Monday at a grand opening celebration at Fiat of Lakeside in Macomb Township, Mich.

After raising $7.5 billion from bond investors and major banks in a deal announced last week, Chrysler plans to wire the money it owes the government today and has scheduled a celebration event for the afternoon with Obama administration officials. Chrysler owes $5.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $1.7 billion to Canada and Ontario.

"It is our expectation tomorrow that Chrysler will again regain its independence and its accountability to the capital markets," Marchionne said.

Marchionne said Chrysler should be able to save about $300 million per year from lower interest rates from its new financing with banks and bondholders because the interest rates are lower.

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