• Aug 10th 2007 at 11:34AM
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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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't Cerberus bought company with the goal of becoming #1.

      They're first concern is a return to profitability. The 300 is a very importany car for them, Same as the CTS is to Cadillac.

      The Sebring aka ugly duckling, is not a bad car mechanically. However, Lipo suction, botox should be added to the of possible treatments for this car.

      Shrek aka Jeep Compass also needs to be de-uglified.

      That and the refinement of the over-all Corporate design theme. Especially Dodge. Not everything wearing the Dodge badge needs to look a RAM truck. While it's okay to have a corporate design theme, you need to stop slapping truck-like noses on your cars.

      The Avenger desparately needs to be refined. It just looks unfinished.

      The Pacifica, needs a do-over. Younger moms love this thing, Mini-vans are a dying breed. CUVs are the mini-vans of the 21st century.

      Besides, the Pacifica fills the Gap between the mini-vans and the Durango. You will regret killing this car. If you must kill something, kill Sherk.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Please just give us a true 6 speed automatic on all your cars and I would be happy. A 6 speed is fine when paired to less powerful engines. A 4 speed is not.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "as good as the new Sebring is" ???? Wow, what have you guy's been smoking ?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Albert, Chrysler was always the last to get on board with transmission technology. They have always and always had the worst transmissions both in technology and reliability. They had 3 speed automatics on new cars upto just a few years ago (Neon and Wrangler) so dont hold
      your breath.
      As MikeW has said many times, the 6 speed used currently is a 4 speed with 2 over drive gears. The only other tranny with more gears than 4 is the 5 speed Mercedes handed to them.
      I agree, Chrysler definitely needs an awesome accross the board state of the art transmission. They should go all out and make three 7 Speeds. One for 200hp or less, one for 200-400hp and one for 400hp and over.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Not really the last or worse. In the 60-70s Chrysler transmissions were legandary.

        The A413 speed auto is also a pretty tough tranny. Yes it was outdated but the 90's, but the Turbo Dodge guys run 300-400 HP through them all the time.

        The A604 wasnt a great transmission by any stretch of the imagination, But I would guess at least 20% of these units' "failure" and replacement were simply due to a plugged $150 solenoid pack.

        Mechanics simply didnt understand the unit, and instead of servicing the transmission, its a whole lot more profitable to replace the entire thing.

        Many shops, including sometimes, Chrysler's own dealers using dextron instead of ATF+3 or +4 shreded many a mopar tranny as well.

        Why doesnt anyone harp on Toyota/Aisin's few failures over the years?
        Jim Gilliland
        • 8 Years Ago
        Fordman, it was Ford that tried to buy Torqueflite 3 speed automatics from Chrysler when Ford could not make a competitive 3 speed automatic. The 727 Torqueflite is generally considered the best automatic transmission ever made. Obviously, in todays market, 3 speed automatics are not going to cut it bu that does not diminish the fact that the Torqueflite was superior to the Ford automatic during that period.

        It was also Chrysler that first came out with the first electronically controlled adaptive transmission, albiet it was trouble prone in its early years, mostly due to not using the correct transmission fluid.

        Chrysler has been using a 5 speed automatic in its trucks for some time now, Ford?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just like the "wildcard" in sports, it's easy to catch #1 if you're #2 or 3, but if you're #10, you have 8 teams to catch up to and unfortunately the 8 teams ahead of you are all good teams. Chrysler is that #10 and unless Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, etc. are all sleeping, Chrysler is not going to see the light of day any time soon...
      • 8 Years Ago
      " Putting better parts into their current model lineup is one thing,"......
      who said better parts? those who know mr bob, know that suppliers in China will be getting a wind fall of PO's .
      • 8 Years Ago
      Styling, product planning, interior design/quailty and brand positioning needs help too.

      I don't doubt that Chrysler employs real talent, they need people in charge that can let that talent loose to produce a line of vehicles people want to buy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Awesome. Glad to know they are doing something, and committing quickly. It gives a lot of hope.

      Nardelli or not, the key is to move fast, invest in new and better components, and get better end product out the door faster and at a good price. Cerberus green-lighting significant investments early on does show they understand this, and I suspect that those who are moping about this investment previously moped about the lack thereof.

      Mopers will be mopers, afterall.
      But they wont' be Mopars!
      (I know, I know ... lame) :P
      • 8 Years Ago
      Brands that have previously separated from DCX have done good, so it gives Chrysler some hope.

      Mitsubishi Motors, who has drowning in debt and loses became profitable immediately after they split from DCX; they have huge hits in Japan like the iCar.

      The meteoric rise in Hyundai was immediately after they bought back their stakes from DCX(which previously owned 10% of the company).
        • 8 Years Ago
        icar AKA smart !!!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Avenger/Sebring sucks, they know it.
      GM is finally rolling on the 6 speed automatic front. The 6t40 & 6t45 (made in china, what?) will do wonders for GM.
      The 2.4 with 6t40 in the malibu should be quick (16@90-17@85, depending on what size tires, 225/50 18-biggest, 215/60 16-mid sized, 225/50 17 smallest)
      About as fast as the 3.5V6 & 4t45, 16@90 in C&D comparo, but with better mileage.
      Maybe with a shorter axle ratio (~10%?) than 2.89 will help out the models with the large heavy oversized 18" wheels.
      Mercedes already has a high tech V6 (built to different design ideals (fuel cooler!) from the Japanese, they don't have to match the 2gr-fe) so they wouldn't need to partner on the Phoenix engines.

      Go Aussie for a 7 speed?
      • 8 Years Ago
      They need to do something. I am glad to see the forward movement but I will wait and see if they keep it up. They need to make quick changes now.

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