Late Friday evening Chrysler received its first $4 billion in government loan money from the $17.4 billion approved as an emergency measure late in December, pushing its bottom line closer to the $2.5-3 billion minimum it needs to remain in operation. Covering debts and meeting supplier payment demands is priority one at this point, though the company hopes to return to some degree of normalcy soon.

Without the loan money, Chrysler's cash hemorrhages in the second half of 2008 would have placed the company in danger of bankruptcy or liquidation. Now, along with General Motors, Chrysler is on the road to recovery, though it is not all the way there yet.

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli expressed the company's gratitude for the loan money, reports The Detroit News. "We recognize the magnitude of the effort by the Treasury Department to complete the multiple financial arrangements and appreciate their confidence in Chrysler," he said. "We would like to thank the many constituents who worked with us to meet the loan requirements. This initial loan will allow the company to continue an orderly restructuring."

GM already received a similar loan amount of $4 billion and will be receiving another $9.4 billion in combined funds over the next two months, but Chrysler's $4 billion is all that's been allocated for the company so far. Speaking before Congress late last year, however, Nardelli said the company would need as much as $8 billion to completely reform its operations.