General Motors has opposed Fiat Chrysler’s motion to dismiss the racketeering lawsuit it filed against the Auburn Hills-based automaker last year – the latest development in what is likely to be a long, tedious court battle between the two automotive giants.
FCA filed the motion to dismiss the RICO lawsuit back in January, saying GM had failed to prove that it offered bribes to UAW officials with the intent of weakening GM’s business. GM hit back at those claims in a letter released this week, which claimed that FCA’s low-cost deal with the UAW, obtained via bribes, put GM at a competitive disadvantage and increased the likelihood of it entering a merger with the Italian-American conglomerate.
GM slapped FCA with the RICO lawsuit last November, accusing the automaker of “paying millions of dollars in bribes,” to the UAW in order to “obtain benefits, concessions, and advantage” during the 2011 and 2015 collection bargaining processes. GM’s case hinges on the claim that FCA bribed the UAW with the specific intent of weakening its business and forcing a merger between the two companies.
Former CEO Sergio Marchionne, who passed away in July of 2018, had previously sought to merge FCA with another automaker in order to reduce rising its vehicle development costs. The Italian-Canadian executive met with GM CEO Mary Barra back in 2015 to discuss a potential merger, but was turned down. At the same time, Marchionne was helping to draft a UAW proposal that would cost GM millions and hamper its business, GM’s response letter released this week claims.
In a statement sent to Automotive News, GM said it remains sure of its case against FCA and looks forward to proving its claims in court.
“We are confident in our position on these matters an in our RICO case as a whole, and we look forward to the next steps in the case and ultimately preparing for trial,” a GM spokesperson said.
In November, GM General Counsel Craig Glidden said the lawsuit is “intended to hold FCA accountable for the harm its actions have caused our company and to ensure a level playing field going forward.”
FCA intends to “vigorously,” fight the lawsuit in court and maintains GM’s accusations are without merit.
Source: Automotive News