ROME -- Italian carmaker Fiat says it is consolidating its ownership of Chrysler by exercising an option to purchase around 3.3 per cent of Chrysler equity from a trust fund that manages health care for pensioners.

The announcement Tuesday said the purchase in the coming weeks will raise Fiat's stake in Chrysler to 61.8 per cent,

VEBA, as the trust fund is called, is the only other entity with a stake in the company now that government loans to the Detroit automaker have been paid back.