33. Guarantees granted, commitments and contingent liabilities

Guarantees granted

At 31 December 2013, the Group had pledged guarantees on the debt or commitments of third parties totaling €31 million (€50 million at 31 December 2012), as well as guarantees of €15 million on related party debt (€25 million at 31 December 2012).

SCUSA Private-Label Financing Agreement

In February 2013, Chrysler entered into a private-label financing agreement with Santander Consumer USA Inc. (“SCUSA”), an affiliate of Banco Santander (the “SCUSA Agreement”). The new financing arrangement launched on May 1, 2013. Under the SCUSA Agreement, SCUSA provides a wide range of wholesale and retail financing services to Chrysler’s dealers and consumers in accordance with its usual and customary lending standards, under the Chrysler Capital brand name. The financing services include credit lines to finance dealers’ acquisition of vehicles and other products that Chrysler sell or distribute, retail loans and leases to finance consumer acquisitions of new and used vehicles at Chrysler’s dealerships, financing for commercial and fleet customers, and ancillary services. In addition, SCUSA work with dealers to offer them construction loans, real estate loans, working capital loans and revolving lines of credit.

Under the new financing arrangement, SCUSA has agreed to specific transition milestones for the initial year following launch. If the transition milestones are met, or otherwise satisfactory to Chrysler, the SCUSA Agreement will have a ten-year term, subject to early termination in certain circumstances, including the failure by a party to comply with certain of its ongoing obligations under the SCUSA Agreement. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, SCUSA provided Chrysler an upfront, nonrefundable payment of €109 million ($150 million) in May 2013, which was recognized as deferred revenue and will be amortized over ten years. As of 31 December 2013 €102 million remained in deferred revenue.

From time to time, Chrysler works with certain lenders to subsidize interest rates or cash payments at the inception of a financing arrangement to incentivize customers to purchase its vehicles, a practice known as “subvention.” Chrysler has provided SCUSA with limited exclusivity rights to participate in specified minimum percentages of certain of its retail financing rate subvention programs. SCUSA has committed to certain revenue sharing arrangements, as well as to consider future revenue sharing opportunities. SCUSA bears the risk of loss on loans contemplated by the SCUSA Agreement. The parties share in any residual gains and losses in respect of consumer leases, subject to specific provisions in the SCUSA Agreement, including limitations on Chrysler participation in gains and losses.

Ally Auto Finance Operating Agreement and Repurchase Obligations

In April 2013, the Auto Finance Operating Agreement between Chrysler Group and Ally Financial Inc. (“Ally”), referred as the “Ally Agreement”, was terminated. Notwithstanding the termination of the Ally Agreement, Ally will continue to provide wholesale and retail financing to Chrysler dealers and retail customers in the U.S. in accordance with its usual and customary lending standards. Chrysler’s dealers and retail customers also obtain funding from other financing sources.

In accordance with the terms of the Ally Agreement, Chrysler remains obligated to repurchase Ally-financed U.S. dealer inventory that was acquired on or before 30 April 2013, upon certain triggering events and with certain exceptions, in the event of an actual or constructive termination of a dealer’s franchise agreement, including in certain circumstances when Ally forecloses on all assets of a dealer securing financing provided by Ally. These obligations exclude vehicles that have been damaged or  altered, that are missing equipment or that have excessive mileage or an original invoice date that is more than one year prior to the repurchase date.

As of 31 December 2013, the maximum potential amount of future payments required to be made to Ally under this guarantee was approximately €167 million and was based on the aggregate repurchase value of eligible vehicles financed by Ally in Chrysler’s U.S. dealer stock. If vehicles are required to be repurchased under this arrangement, the total exposure would be reduced to the extent the vehicles can be resold to another dealer. The fair value of the guarantee was less than €0.1 million at 31 December 2013, which considers both the likelihood that the triggering events will occur and the estimated payment that would be made net of the estimated value of inventory that would be reacquired upon the occurrence of such events. The estimates are based on historical experience.

On 1 February 2013, the Canadian automotive finance business of Ally was acquired by the Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”). Dealers with financing through Ally were offered new lending agreements with RBC, as the Ally-financing arrangements did not transfer with the sale. As such, Chrysler Group no longer has an obligation to repurchase dealer inventory in Canada that was acquired prior to 1 February 2013 and was financed by Ally.

Other Repurchase Obligations

In accordance with the terms of other wholesale financing arrangements in Mexico, Chrysler is required to repurchase dealer inventory financed under these arrangements, upon certain triggering events and with certain exceptions, including in the event of an actual or constructive termination of a dealer’s franchise agreement. These obligations exclude certain vehicles including, but not limited to, vehicles that have been damaged or altered, that are missing equipment or that have excessive mileage or an original invoice date that is more than one year prior to the repurchase date.

As of 31 December 2013, the maximum potential amount of future payments required to be made in accordance with these other wholesale financing arrangements was approximately €262 million and was based on the aggregate repurchase value of eligible vehicles financed through such arrangements in the respective dealer’s stock. If vehicles are required to be repurchased through such arrangements, the total exposure would be reduced to the extent the vehicles can be resold to another dealer. The fair value of the guarantee was less than €0.1 million at 31 December 2013, which considers both the likelihood that the triggering events will occur and the estimated payment that would be made net of the estimated value of inventory that would be reacquired upon the occurrence of such events. These estimates are based on historical experience.

Arrangements with Key Suppliers

From time to time, in the ordinary course of our business, Chrysler enter into various arrangements with key suppliers in order to establish strategic and technological advantages. A limited number of these arrangements contain unconditional purchase obligations to purchase a fixed or minimum quantity of goods and/or services with fixed and determinable price provisions. Purchases under these arrangements from third parties were €167 million in 2013 (€340 million in 2012). Future minimum purchase obligations under these arrangements as of 31 December 2013 were as follows:

(in € million)
2014 197
2015 153
2016 109
2017 62
2018 9
2019 and thereafter 22

Other commitments and important contractual rights

The Group has important commitments and rights deriving from outstanding agreements, summarized below.

Teksid

Fiat S.p.A. is subject to a put contract with Renault in reference to the original investment of 33.5% in Teksid, now 15.2%. In particular, Renault would acquire the right to exercise a sale option to Fiat on its interest in Teksid, in the following cases:

  • in the event of non-fulfillment in the application of the protocol of the agreement and admission to receivership or any other redressement procedure;
  • in the event Renault’s investment in Teksid falls below 15% or Teksid decides to invest in a structural manner outside the foundry sector;
  • should Fiat be the object of the acquisition of control by another car manufacturer.

The exercise price of the option is established as follows:

  • for the original 6.5% of the share capital of Teksid, the initial investment price as increased by a given interest rate;
  • for the remaining amount of share capital of Teksid, the share of the accounting net equity at the exercise date.

Chrysler

At 31 December 2013 Fiat held a 58.5% membership interest in Chrysler; the remaining 41.5% was held by the VEBA Trust. As described in Note 39 - Subsequent events, on 1 January 2014, Fiat S.p.A. announced an agreement with the VEBA Trust, under which its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fiat North America LLC (“FNA”), acquired all of the VEBA Trust’s equity membership interests in Chrysler, representing 41.5% interest of Chrysler. The transaction closed on 21 January 2014. In consideration for the sale of its membership interests in Chrysler, the VEBA Trust received an aggregate consideration of $3,650 million consisting of a special distribution paid by Chrysler to its members, in an aggregate amount of $1,900 million (FNA directed its portion of the special distribution to the VEBA Trust as part of the purchase consideration), and a payment from FNA for the remainder of $1,750 million in cash purchase consideration to the VEBA Trust. At the date of publication of this Annual report, therefore, Fiat holds a 100% interest in Chrysler and all rights (VEBA Trust Call Option and Equity Recapture Agreement) previously existing in respect to Fiat’s investment in Chrysler lapsed.

Agreement with UAW

On 21 January 2014 Chrysler and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (the “UAW”) entered into a memorandum of understanding (“MoU”) under the collective bargaining agreement with the UAW, in which the UAW made commitments to continue to support Chrysler industrial operations and the further implementation of the Fiat-Chrysler Alliance. In particular, the UAW has committed to use its best efforts to cooperate in the continued roll-out of our World Class Manufacturing (“WCM”) programs, actively participate in benchmarking efforts associated with implementation of WCM programs across all Fiat-Chrysler manufacturing sites to ensure objective performance assessments and provide for proper application of WCM principles, and to actively assist in the achievement of the Group long-term business plan. In consideration of these commitments, Chrysler agreed to make payments to the VEBA Trust totaling $700 million to be paid in four equal annual installments. The initial payment of $175 million was made on 21 January 2014 and additional payments will be payable on each of the next three anniversaries of the initial payment.

Sevel

As part of the Sevel cooperation agreement with PSA, the Fiat group is party to a call agreement with PSA whereby, from 1 July 2017 to 30 September 2017, Fiat will have the right to acquire the residual interest in Sevel S.p.A. held by PSA, with effect from 31 December 2017.

Operating lease contracts

The Group has entered operating lease contracts for the right to use industrial buildings and equipment with an average term of 10-20 years and 3-5 years, respectively. At 31 December 2013, the total future minimum lease payments under non-cancellable lease contracts are as follows:

 At 31 December 2013At 31 December 2012
(€ million)due within
one year
due between
one and five
years
due beyond
five years

Totaldue within
one year
due between
one and five
years
due beyond
five years
Total
Future minimum lease payments under operating lease agreements 133 350 227 710 147 347 222 716

During 2013, the Group has recorded costs for lease payments of €199 million (€184 million in 2012).

Contingent liabilities

As a global group with a diverse business portfolio, the Group is exposed to numerous legal risks, particularly in the areas of product liability, competition and antitrust law, environmental risks and tax matters, dealer and supplier  relationships and intellectual property rights. The outcome of any proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty.  These proceedings seek recovery for damage to property, personal injuries and in some cases include a claim for exemplary or punitive damage. It is therefore possible that legal judgments could give rise to expenses that are not covered, or not fully covered, by insurers’ compensation payments and could affect the Group’s financial position and results.

At 31 December 2013, contingent liabilities estimated by the Group for which no provisions have been recognized since an outflow of resources is not considered to be probable and for which a reliable estimate can be made amount to approximately €100 million (approximately €100 million at 31 December 2012). Furthermore, contingent assets and expected reimbursement in connection with these contingent liabilities for approximately €12 million (€16 million at 31 December 2012) have been estimated but not recognized.

Instead, when it is probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle obligations and this amount can be reliably estimated, the Group recognizes specific provisions for this purpose (see Note 26).

Furthermore, in connection with significant asset divestitures carried out in prior years, the Group provided indemnities to purchasers with the maximum amount of potential liability under these contracts generally capped at a percentage of the purchase price. These liabilities refer principally to potential liabilities arising from possible breaches of representations and warranties provided in the contracts and, in certain instances, environmental or tax matters, generally for a limited period of time. At 31 December 2013, potential obligations with respect to these indemnities were approximately €240 million (approximately €430 million at 31 December 2012). Against these obligations, at 31 December 2013 provisions of €62 million (€62 million 31 December 2012) have been made which are classified as Other provisions. The Group has provided certain other indemnifications that do not limit potential payment; it is not possible to estimate a maximum amount of potential future payments that could result from claims made under these indemnities.