• Feb 7th 2008 at 7:24PM
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Chrysler's previous consolidation strategy, dubbed "Project Alpha," was implemented in 2004 to trim and combine dealers. All told, Chrysler was able to cut its dealer network down from 4,000 to 3,600. Not nearly enough to get outlets on par with demand. So Chrysler's co-pres, Jim Press, announced today that Project Alpha is out and Project Genesis is on the way in.
According to Automotive News, as you read this, business teams are fanning out across the U.S. to negotiate with dealerships to either buy other outlets or sell their own in an effort to pair down Chrysler's bloated sales network. The plan is to get all three of the automaker's brands – Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep – under one roof, with the possibility of creating satellite dealerships and service-only facilities in outlying areas.

But if all of Chrysler's wares are in plain sight of the public, won't that confuse consumers with all the product overlap between brands? Yes. And that's why Chrysler is looking to nix models that are badge-engineered duplicates of other vehicles offered by the automaker. So in addition to killing off the PT Cruiser, Pacifica, Crossfire and Magnum, more models are about to be cut out of the line up. We'd mention a few suggestions here, but we're sure you can come up with some of your own.

However, it's not all about the cuts. Press went on to say that Chrysler would develop new models to compete in segments that the automaker previously hasn't pursued and that even though sales outlets are going to be consolidated, Chrysler doesn't have the ability to hand out massive checks to dealerships on the chopping block.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow. Nothing like co-opting hyundai's market name.

      Lets see here.... Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep.

      Concentrate on the basics, and master them first. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. (do I sound like a jr. high PE coach, yet? :D)

      Four car lines each, for Chrysler and Dodge. Big and mid, and small, and coupe.
      Jeep does 4 or 5 different sized SUVs, compact CUV, Wrangler, Liberty, Cherokee, and Big Comanche. Dodge does trucks, but only trucks, not SUVs.

      Big RWD: 300D, Charger. Update with slightly more modern, slightly less retro style. NICE new interiors.

      Mid FWD: replacements for Sebring and Avenger. GOOD replacements, with NEW names. existing is ruined. Clean sheet. Compelling inside and out. HIGHEST PRIORITY.

      Compact: handsome small chrysler, sporty small dodge, and not the Caliber body. The Caliber looks more like an SUV than a car, and not as boring and "hi" as the Neon or PT Cruiser were. Compelling style inside and out is required, because that is all it has over japanese competitors.

      Coupe: Challenger is here, 'nuff said.
      A Chrysler crossfire/firepower new, modern, slick car. Lighter weight, smaller displacement, but still RWD. Split the price difference between Hyundai Genesis coupe, and G37 6MT Sport, and lighter weight than both. V6 or turbo V6 as the main line engine, V8 SRT model.

      Maybe make it a convertible hardtop, and let the Sebring 2-door DIE!!! The Chrysler coupe/convertible does NOT need to be tied to the mid-size FWD sedan. It can be platform shared with, and differently styled than the Challenger, on RWD chassis, just not quite so big and heavy in the bodywork department.

      Dodge Journey as a CUV/Tall wagon should be nice for the folks lamenting the Pacifica's departure, or otherwise cross shopping the Ford Flex. (if that actually describes anyone) or the Infiniti EX35. A bit more fashionable than the minivans.

      Dodge has the Ram. Ditch the UGLY dakota and Durango, as well as the Aspen. Leave the SUVs to Jeep, where they belong.

      Bring in a smaller trucklet, like the Rampage concept, that is significantly different than the Ram itself, for a smaller alternative, and competition to the Sport Trac or the Ridgeline. Not everybody needs a team of oxen, sometimes you only need a horse.

      Keep the Viper. It doesn't do that much harm to the bottom line, and it still acts as a halo. Probably not a top priority, though.

      Jeep. Junk the little crap, except perhaps "jeeping" up the Caliber, MAYBE. The existing Compass/Patriot are weakly styled. Caliber is more assertive looking than those. Vertical slot grille and round reflector headlight elements, and you are just about done.

      WRANGLER. 2-door, 4-door, 2-door trucklet, diesel powered, and flavors for any purpose. Maybe even a sleek little buggy-coupe body, like the Jeepster concept, to compete with the Hummer HX, or Range Rover coupe concept, if either come to market. This is Jeep's iconic model, even while being affordable.

      Cherokee. Drop the GRAND part on a new design. Grand Cherokee becomes just Cherokee (yeah, I know they used to be two different things...) and high end becomes Cherokee Wagoneer, or Cherokee SRT8. New design should be truly an improvement to the four-door SUV genre, and become a truly class-leading vehicle. Beat Explorer and the Lambda GMs, like a Jeep should. This is the Jeep market leader.

      Liberty is a good name, but should never have been "Commandeered" styling-wise. It should take the place of the past plain cherokee, much as it has, perhaps with a bit more CUV civility. Wrangler is the small-sized rock crawler, Liberty can afford more civility. Maybe even completely re-bodied Dodge Journey.

      If there MUST be a big SUV, then SUV-ize the Ram, and put a jeep face on it. Call it Comanche, or something, going against the Expedition and Suburban/Tahoe. Only if there is a business case that is profitable. The Commander was the WRONG vehicle, but that doesn't mean Jeep can't have a big dog.

      Jeep doesn't need a small pickup aside from the Wrangler JT multi-purpose vehicle. Let Dodge handle the small truck, with the previously mentioned Rampage.

      Chrysler goes near-lux/premium, with a modern sporty coupe.

      Dodge goes to muscular sporty, and a bit more affordable than Chrysler brand, big and small trucks, and the Challenger muscle car.

      Jeep does all of the SUVs, and only SUVs, and doesn't fool around with overly pedestrian junk.

      All of those can live harmoniously under the same roof, and cater to MOST of the mainstream genres and segments that Chryslerberus competes in.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Scrap the Dodge Demon unless they give it a proper RWD treatment.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chrysler should make luxury vehicles to compete with Mercedes and Cadillac. Dodge makes sporty, family cars, and trucks. Jeep makes SUVs. No Chrysler SUV, no Chrysler minivans - just luxury sedans and coupes. Dodge gets the minivans, a family sedan to compete with Malibu and Accord, Challenger, Journey, and Ram trucks. Jeep keeps the Wrangler, Liberty, Cherokee, upgrades the Commander so it can compete with the Explorer and Enclave and dumps everything else. If the dealers sell all three models, you won't have a Chrysler dealer complaining about no Chrysler SUV or minivan. He'll still be able sell Jeep SUVs and Dodge minivans.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The cars that sell best are the parts of Chrysler's lineup that is very weak. What size cars do the most sales volume? Compacts and mid-sized. With gas getting more expensive, and the new CAFE standards, I think those sizes will only continue to grow at the cost of trucks and SUVs.

      So what does Chrysler have to offer in those two markets? The lousy Sebring/Avenger, and the lousy Caliber/Compass. Why would anyone in their right mind pass up a Camry, Accord, Malibu, or Fusion for the Sebring/Avenger? They need to get a competitive car for that market.

      And for the compacts, they don't even have anything to compete with the Civic and Corolla. How can they not have a compact sedan? I think that market will grow even faster than the mid-sized for fuel economy reasons. The Caliber/Compass is the closest they have, but they more compete with the Matrix type cars, and not very well either.

      The problem is, both the Avenger and Caliber lines are relatively new products. They won't have any replacements for them for years. It's tough when even your newest product lines aren't competitive.

      I actually thought the PT Cruiser was one of their better products, but it needed an update. For a small wagon, I think the PT Cruiser was a better option than the Caliber is.

      All this talk about small sales volume things like a new Rampage or RWD Demon sports car are luxuries they can't afford now. Heck, I'm not convinced there is a big enough market for RWD sports cars to keep the Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro all profitable. That's why two of the three went extinct previously. I can't see a second RWD sports car making them any money.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Smartest thing posted all day

      • 7 Years Ago
      Jeep Compass, chrysler aspen
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Chrysler unit will be divided into two divisions: unit Alpha and unit Zappa.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just give up, Chrysler. Hell, Detroit for that matter. Like it or not, the imports win.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think a real problem is that the domestics have all become basically "truck" companies.

      They really are in over their heads when it comes to building cars that can compete on perception or merit with foreign brands. What do they do to try to convince us otherwise? Well they build some semi-retro muscle car to remind us that "once upon a time" they built cool cars. These aren't mainstream cars that will help the bottom line. These are desperate flailings of companies that have truly lost the ability to compete (at least not without (sometimes excessively) heavy rebates).

      "No really! We made cool cars 40 years ago! Seriously! Please come to our showrooms and buy a car just like the ones you can rent from budget!"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry - that was @ Tragedy
      • 7 Years Ago
      Smart comment. Try to say something intelligent and something that adds to the blog discussion next time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, 20 comments and unless I missed something, not ONE "Wrath of Khan" reference. I'm a little disappointed, guys!

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