Free and Clear

Chrysler pays off its loan

Confidence. There was no scarcer commodity at Chrysler two years ago, when the company tottered at the edge of bankruptcy. But that quality was center stage last week when Chairman Lee Iacocca announced that the company is ready to repay its remaining $800 million in federally guaranteed loans. "This is our declaration of independence—financial independence," said Iacocca. The money is being paid off seven years before it is due. Only last month the automaker unexpectedly returned $400 million of the $1.2 billion it borrowed in 1980 and 1981.

Chrysler can well afford to write these big checks. With...

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