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Fiat to up stake in Chrysler to 30% in coming days

ROME, Apr 11 – Fiat will increase its stake in Chrysler to 30 percent level within days, the Italian auto giant\’s chief executive Sergio Marchionne said Monday.

"There are just a few details to be ironed out, which do not depend on us," Marchionne told journalists at Balocco, near the northern city of Turin, adding that it could happen "in the coming days" and possibly as early as Tuesday.

During his comments made at the unveiling of a new Jeep model, the Fiat chief also denied press reports that the launch of Alfa-Romeo in the United States could be delayed till 2013.

Last week Marchionne said that the increase in Fiat\’s stake in Chrysler to 30 percent from the current 25 percent would happen "within the next 30 to 60 days."

He added then that the auto giant was likely to raise its stake again to 35 percent before the end of the year.

In January, Fiat increased its stake in Chrysler to 25 percent from 20 percent as part of a deal signed after the iconic US auto brand emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

The five-percent increase was made possible after Chrysler announced that it would begin production of new Fiat-designed Fully Integrated Robotized Engines (FIREs) at its plant in Dundee in the US state of Michigan.

According to the takeover terms, Fiat can raise its stake to 30 percent once Chrysler has reached a certain level of sales outside the US, Canada and Mexico.

Marchionne, who also heads up the US auto company, said in January that Fiat may boost its holding to 51 percent before a planned share offer by the Chrysler Group at the end of this year.

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