Santander nears deal as Chrysler financing arm - report

DETROIT Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:01pm EST

DETROIT Jan 17 (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC is close to a deal with Spain's Banco Santander as an in-house financing arm to be called Chrysler Capital, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

The deal could be finalized in the next few weeks, the report said.

Chrysler declined to comment on the report.

If the deal is signed, Spain's largest bank would replace Ally Financial Inc, a U.S. auto lender that is majority owned by the U.S. government.

Chrysler, majority owned by Italy's Fiat SpA, last April said that it would let its deal with Ally expire in April 2013.

Ally has been the preferred lender for Chrysler auto financing since Chrysler's bankruptcy in 2009.