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How Chrysler became 'FCA US LLC'

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Ross D. Franklin/AP/File

(Read caption) Chrysler cars sit in a showroom at a car dealership in Tempe, Ariz. The company formerly known as Chrysler has changed its name to "FCA US LLC," the company announced Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014.

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In 2009, the auto industry was in turmoil. The global economy was falling apart, car sales had cratered, and the U.S. and Canadian governments had launched an audacious, contentious plan to bail out two of Detroit's biggest automakers, General Motors and Chrysler.

In hindsight, most analysts now view those bailouts as huge success stories. However, opponents still argue that the principle of federal intervention underlying the bailouts was deeply flawed, and that in a free-market economy, the government has no right to become so involved in determining the success (or failure) of private companies.

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Chrysler fans had an additional bone to pick: the bailout plan allowed a foreign company, Fiat, to take over one of America's Big Three automakers. 

For those people, insult has been added to injury: Chrysler is no more. As of this morning, the company formerly known as Chrysler has changed its name to "FCA US LLC".

Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

The announcement shouldn't be much of a surprise. After all, before listing itself on the New York Stock Exchange in October, Chrysler's parent company changed its name from Fiat S.p.A. to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (For anyone who cares, "S.p.A." is Italian shorthand for "società per azioni", while the "N.V." is Dutch shorthand for "naamloze vennootschap". Both essentially translate as "public company". The more you know.) Chrysler's change to FCA US LLC simply puts it more closely in line with its overseers.

Thankfully for car fans, the change is mostly a technicality. FCA US LLC isn't moving from Auburn Hills to Amsterdam. And brand names like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram aren't about to morph into unpronounceable acronyms anytime soon. The company knows where its suikerbrood is buttered, after all.