Detroit's Big Three could become the Big Two if Tennessee law makers have it their way.
State officials have been lobbying Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne to select the Volunteer state for the Italian automaker's joint headquarters with Chrysler.
On Sunday, Marchionne met with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam at a ceremony celebrating the expansion of a Fiat subsidiary plant in Pulaski.
Published reports state that during the ceremony, Marchionne said Tennessee officials have been “working me over pretty well.”
Governor Haslam responded to Marchionne's rhetorical question about where the headquarters should by stating, “I vote right here.”
If the company relocates, it joins General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen in having major American automotive operations in Tennessee.
The remarks spawned headlines almost instantly about the possibility of the Detroit based Chrysler joining the likes of Volkswagen, General Motors, and Nissan who have made Tennessee the new hub for major American automotive operations.
“I personally think that Chrysler will stay in Detroit, there's even been talks of moving Fiat to Detroit so I think the prospects are slim,” said Michelle Krebs, Senior Analyst of edmunds.com, an online resource for automotive information.
Krebs said it is highly unlikely Chrysler will make the move to Tennessee since it recently opened a brand new headquarters in Detroit.
Plus, everything from their operations and technical centers to their road test facility are there. Krebs adds it is a risky and expensive move which could hurt the company's image.
“Detroit went through a lot to get general motors and Chrysler through bankruptcy, so I think it would be seen as very disloyal if Chrysler left,” said Krebs.
The merger could be completed sometime next year.