Cerberus isn't wasting any time teaching its new elephant to tapdance. Just days after closing the deal, taking over Chrysler and bringing Robert Nardelli on board, Cerberus has earmarked $3 billion for new powertrain facilities, indicating some level of its desire to steward the brand back to strength. Work has started on three engine plants that will build a new family of V6 engines incorporating the fuel-saving multi-displacement system. Ground has also been broken on a transmission plant that will build a new dual-clutch unit co-developed with Getrag, as well as an axle plant that allows an efficiency gain due to Mercedes technology.
Frank Klegon, executive vice president of product development, cited Cerberus's ability as a private company to quickly put decisions into action. The move speaks to an awareness that product is key to a return to profitability. The new engines and axles will improve performance, but more importantly in light of CAFE requirements, they'll boost efficiency. Putting better parts into their current model lineup is one thing, but Chrysler desperately needs some compelling new product (as good as the new Sebring is, it's about as exciting as a bowl of un-set Jell-O) to really deliver the needed shot in the arm.
[Source: Automotive News - sub req]