Chrysler Collapses

Back in July, I called Chrysler corporate “road kill”. I don’t think I was particularly prescient, but the evidence reported by the New York Times seems to indicate that the private equity purchase of Chrysler was particularly poorly timed.

Stephen A. Feinberg, one of the country’s most powerful — and secretive — financiers, hoped to make a fortune out of the detritus of the American auto industry. Instead, he seems to be losing one. On Wednesday, Chrysler, which owns the Jeep and Dodge brands, said its sales in the United States fell by a third in August — nearly twice the industry average — as the downturn in the auto business dragged on. Honda eclipsed Chrysler as the nation’s No. 4 seller of cars, and Nissan is closing in fast.

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0 Responses to Chrysler Collapses

  1. joeschmoe says:

    w. edwards deming was right.

  2. Morgan Warstler says:

    Hey Jon, do you know anything else about Feinberg?

  3. Jon Taplin says:

    Yeah- He bought GMAC from GM. Another brilliant move.

  4. Hugo says:

    I think it’s the fault of Daimler Benz. Just when Jeep Chrysler Dodge was doing well, in kommen der schmartzyfartsies, to dump old German tooling on American assembly lines, to capture the Jeep name with its marketability, to lock up the rights to revival of the relatively fuel efficient HEMI engine (a kind of GM Northstar, but with pedigree), and to dismantle and glue back together their own German, Brindle-Fly versions of existing Chrysler platforms. The results are hideous, as anyone can see. The choices run mainly to a gangster’s hearse, a gangster’s muscle car, a gangster’s roadster that comes with its own Platinum blonde and luggage by Mark Cross, and various revivals of our beloved German Tanzer Division, the Jeep line.

    How come we seem never to call it “cultural imperialism” when it happens to us?

  5. Hugo says:

    That’s Panzer.

  6. Brian says:

    The question will be which foreign maker steps up to buy Chrysler? The Chinese are eager to enter the U.S. market, but no Chinese firm is big enough yet to have the leverage.

    If Tata hadn’t just bought Jaguar and Land Rover off Ford, they would be interested, but my money is on Fiat or Renault.

  7. Phil says:

    Chrysler was dying long before Daimler. I spent more than ten years in the automotive biz, as a parts guy and wrench-twister, and I know first-hand what utter shite Chrysler products were and are.

    Fugly, over-powered and under-engineered, consciously marketed to the same knuckle-dragging demographic that is going to present the greatest impediment to real change in attitudes and behavior as we transition to a post-oil world. That’s the new Chrysler.

  8. len bullard says:

    Ugly is the operative word. I’ve been amazed at what I see driving on the roads. It is as if styling had become Soviet. Bug ugly.

  9. Ken Ballweg says:

    Welcome back Hugo. Glad to see the wrist healed, and all is well there I assume.

    Phil’s right. The Hemi, while a marvel of engineering was designed to haul a lot of weight in a straight line, fast. They really put a lot into trucks, and recapturing the Chrysler 300’s glory days. Bad bets both in the days of spendy gas.

  10. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- I second the welcome back. I do think the German’s fucked it up, but they were smart enough to unload it on an overconfident Hedge Fund Baron just before the market for their gangster mobiles tanked.

  11. Hugo says:

    Thanks, Ken and Jon, for your well-wishes. In the end, there, the plastered forearm with nitrile-gloved fingers did seem to take on behaviors all its own; for example, in thrusting straight-armed salutes to the gangbanger hearses minted by Daimler-Benz-Mopar.

    Although I do worry about the Diesel line and about whatever other patents might be vital to our commercial and personal fleet — the fleet that keeps the economy fleet — I don’t care whether Chrysler continues to field passenger vehicles. What’s to miss? It’s just regrettable that they may have taken down the Jeep brand, which brand never really belonged to them in the first place. In the span of just two or three years, Jeep became a company specializing in producing and selling vehicles incapable of handling the sort of off-road conditions for which even the average Subaru is well equipped.

    To say that the Germans deliberately sabbotaged the company is probably an understatement. I say we get some fellow duffers, pull together some scratch, and throw the interlopers out of Pebble, taking out, say, Porsche for all time while we’re at it. I fancy a Porsche Woody V-8; how ’bout you?

    Mein DasseinMeister Klaus ist convinced dat diss ist der Futur uffen der Woody wagon. The Volk in Hamburg and Berlin will eat it up! (I picture a promo involving free, color-quoordinated surboards for the roof-rack option!)

    Hat’s off, Ken, for “spendy gas”.

    Wasn’t that Harry Truman’s political mentor, BTW?

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