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TIMELINE: Auto industry in crisis

(Reuters) - Chrysler LLC has filed for bankruptcy after failing to reach agreement on restructuring its debt, and announced a link-up with Italy’s Fiat SpA.

Here is a timeline of the auto industry’s recent struggles.

October 23/24, 2008 - General Motors and Chrysler , which at the time are discussing a merger, pledge to cut jobs and close plants as the downturn in auto sales deepens.

-- France’s Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen slash profitability outlooks and pledge major production cuts.

December 4 - The heads of GM, Ford and Chrysler travel from Detroit to Washington in hybrid vehicles packed with action plans a month after being mocked for coming to earlier congressional hearings on private jets without detailed plans to revitalize their companies. They agree to work for $1 a year if lawmakers approve their bids for emergency government aid totaling $34 billion.

December 19 - The U.S. announces a $17.4 billion lifeline to Detroit carmakers from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief (TARP) program. GM is to receive $13.4 billion and Chrysler $4 billion. Ford says it does not need a loan.

January 13, 2009 - Germany unveils a 1.5 billion euro aid package, including 2,500 euro incentives for new car purchases.

January 20 - Fiat and Chrysler strike a deal giving the Italian manufacturer a 35 percent stake in exchange for access to technology and overseas markets.

February 6 - Toyota Motor Co, the world’s largest carmaker, forecasts a loss of some 450 billion yen ($4.95 billion) for the year to end-March, the first group operating loss in its 70-year history.

-- Italy unveils a $1.7 billion package of measures to help its car sector, including a scrappage incentive similar to Germany’s.

February 9 - France pledges over 7 billion euros of support for its car industry but President Nicolas Sarkozy causes controversy by insisting that carmakers protect French jobs.

February 13 - Spain approves a 4 billion euro package that includes 1.2 billion euros in credit for car purchases during 2009 and 2010 and aid to help parts makers upgrade plants.

February 17 - GM and Chrysler request nearly $22 billion in additional U.S. government loans.

March 19 - The U.S. Treasury pledges $5 billion to aid auto suppliers crucial to the survival of the industry.

March 23 - Tata Motors launches the Nano, slated to be the world’s cheapest car at less than $2,000.

March 29 - GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner resigns.

-- The board of Peugeot Citroen fires Chief Executive Christian Streiff.

March 30 - Canada offers C$4 billion ($3.2 billion) in bridge loans to the Canadian branches of GM and Chrysler.

-- Russia pledges over $1 billion to its auto industry.

April 7 - The European Investment Bank approves 866 million euros of loans to automakers.

April 8 - Opel’s Dutch dealers agree to invest in a fund to keep the carmaker afloat. Opel needs 3.3 billion euros to finance its operations.

April 22 - The world’s number two carmaker, Volkswagen, posts 76 percent drop in first-quarter operating profit.

-- World number two truckmaker Volvo says it will cut more than 1,500 jobs.

April 23 - U.S. industrywide retail auto sales decline about 33 percent in the first 16 days of April compared to a year ago, J.D. Power and Associates says.

April 24 - GM draws another $2 billion in government aid.

April 27 - GM offers its final plan to reorganize outside bankruptcy by slashing bond debt, cutting a further 21,000-plus U.S. jobs and emerging as a nationalized automaker under majority control of the U.S. government.

April 30 - Chrysler files for bankruptcy protection, saying it will sell its Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands into a new company to be owned by the government, Italian carmaker Fiat SpA and Chrysler workers.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Additional writing by Carl Bagh and Jijo Jacob; editing by John Stonestreet

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