The Fiat-Chrysler partnership has been brewing since well before the economic meltdown and federal loan bonanza of late 2008, but it's still taking shape as the carmakers find ways to work to their mutual benefit. Today Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reaffirmed his confidence that Fiat will be able to help Chrysler out of its hole.

In fact, Marchionne thinks Fiat will not just help Chrysler out of the red, but add significant value to its operations. Technology, products and design are some of the ways Fiat will bolster Chrysler's business situation, he says.

Far from the picture of the out-of-touch and clueless management the mainstream media portrays of Detroit, Marchionne told White House officials he was impressed with Chrysler's recognition of their problems, reports The Detroit News. "The feeling that I got from them is that they recognize the magnitude of the problem and there's an absolute determination to finding a solution. At least, they're engaged."

Whether being 'engaged' is enough to save the day, however, is another matter. There are many in the industry that point to Chrysler's performance over the past decade as evidence that it is rotting from within. Even Daimler's infusion of technology and resources didn't improve Chrysler's position in the market.

So what makes Fiat's partnership different? It will essentially be giving its "technology, platforms, engines, know-how" and more to Chrysler for free, saving billions in R&D over the next 7 years. With the new products and technology, Fiat thinks Chrysler will be armed with the size and variety it needs to not just survive the coming decade, but reach profitability.