• Mar 19, 2008
We are just back from the kickoff keynote speech for the 2008 New York Auto Show and have to wonder where in the Big Apple we can score some of what Bob Nardelli is smoking. While his words sounded somewhat encouraging, they were about three months old for the most part and didn't sound terribly convincing to most ears. He outlined Chrysler's 4-point plan for the future, telling the assembled breakfast-seekers that enhancing the core, extending business, expanding the market, and executing flawlessly are the keys to Chrysler's future. OK, sure. That could apply to just about any enterprise. Using the company's global assets to reduce redundancies is obviously going to help, cutting non-profitable models and reducing the number of options and packages makes a lot of sense, too. His main focus was on product, pointing out that designing and building "aspirational" products was vital to getting people back into the Chrysler fold. We can understand how that leads to something like the Challenger, but the Journey doesn't seem like it meets that criteria as well. Maybe the briefly mentioned Grand Voyager and a Cherokee with a "special" roof will surprise us later today. We shouldn't be too hard on Nardelli and Chrysler, as the company is working on turning itself round. Unfortunately, this company's got a large turning radius.


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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "We can understand how that leads to something like the Challenger, but the Journey doesn't seem like it meets that criteria as well."

      The Challenger and Journey was in development long before the new Chrysler executives were hired.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Brent's point is key- everything that's been released up 'til now has been in the works for some time. Journey was complete before the Cerberus purchase; and anyone who thinks they should have dropped or delayed it is delusional. Right now, Chryslerbus has their hands full cleaning up the mess Daimler left.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OK, I'll give you that, but Chrysler STILL paid off those loans YEARS ahead of time, with interest.

      Of course, Daimler are the ones that fired Lutz...who of course, is the driving force behind GMs current revival.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A) I don't like Bob or Jim...they can both go take a flying leap off the Auburn Hills HQ. Bring back Lee Iacocca for a year or two..he's the man.

      B) They only need to profitable..not a volume seller. When they were taken over by DB in 1998 they were the most profitable car company in the world per dollar spent, with BILLIONS in liquid assets. DB are the one's that minimalized Chryslers operations in the first place, and fired all of it's intelligent upper management.

      My only hope is that Chrysler can hold out long enough to get new products on the market.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yep, Iacocca is surely the answer. Bring back his fake-wire-wheel and opera-light mentality of putting lipstick on a pig (K-car chassis with some extra fake wood and a voice to tell you the door is open).

        Ramming stuff into production his own people tell him is not ready (electronically controlled transmission), or opposing the one line that was worth a hoot, the LH series.

        Please.

        From my view, Chrysler survived because he was a showman on TV and bagged the government loan guarantees. His alleged acumen in product decisions had nothing to do with it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      He and Cerebus have no intention of reviving Chrysler, just gut it and sell what remains for a fast buck, their cold souls immune to the legacy of this car company and the costs to the employees. Look for Nardelli to repeat his shameful trashing of Home Depot then exit with yet another golden parachute beyond imagining. But one could hardly expect better from a close buddy of The Decider.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "He and Cerebus have no intention of reviving Chrysler, just gut it and sell what remains for a fast buck, their cold souls immune to the legacy of this car company and the costs to the employees."

        This is ludicrous, and I can't believe people keep bringing it up. They'd have no hope of breaking even if they did that; Chrysler isn't *worth* enough (in salable assets) to recoup their costs. Their goal (As with most private equity) is to make the company profitable, then take them public and rake in the money.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cerberus' lack of sincerity is abundantly clear in the pointy-haired boss babble they're spouting here and elsewhere.

        Chrysler is one *badly* listing ship. Anyone genuinely interested in righting it would be saying, "look, we bought this functionally bankrupt outfit because X, and we're doing Y to achieve car-guy vision Z." Thus far, I've heard nothing from Cerberus that suggests interest in anything but short-term profitability.
      • 6 Years Ago
      they should muzzle this jerk and let Jim Press handle the public intros. Leave "Minimum Bob" to count beans.
      • 6 Years Ago
      90% of the crap execs spew out at press conferences are things that apply to all companies int he same industry. They never say anything new.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I sure hope Uncle Sam does not bail out Chrysler again because they really are failing and/or lacking in all areas. They had a good run in the 90's but it's the end of the road now. They could have saved a little face by keeping DSM alive and using some of Mitsubishi's styling designers & engineers but instead they decide to go all American and fuglied up their Sebring and Avenger lineup. They also kill the Neon and bring on another ugly uninspiring vehicle in it's place called the Caliber. They also killed the Magnum and are going to kill the Viper. They also really bungled up the Jeep lineup. I hope Tata or Mahindra can buy out Jeep and bring that company back to where it used to be when it was AMC.

      Chrysler, not that it pains me to say this, is done for. Anybody who works for them I highly suggest polishing up your resumes and either seek a different automaker or an entirely new profession.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I am glad you aren't running Chrysler. You want to keep vehicles that don't sell and don't make a profit. (Magnum and Viper respectively.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man, I almost forgot they hired him.
      jw
      • 6 Years Ago
      IT'S TO LATE FOR CHRYSLER...IT'S CHOP AND SHOP TIME..
      • 6 Years Ago
      HMMMMMMMMM...

      Is that "aspirational", rather than the "HALF ASpirational" gems like the Avenger?

      At least it sounds like the bew guys get the point: the German Geniuses allowed "distinctly styled crap" to be put on the road, once they realized their cost structure meant they could not compete with Asian brands in value. I suppose they thought that the "loyal American buyers" would not notice they were driving junk.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just gave up on Chrysler, trading in a 2007 Dodge Caliber on a Nissan Versa. The Caliber had great design with a smooth running engine, but warranty service was terrible a both the dealers I tried. First, the door locks suffered the same "won't close" issue as on the Sebring and Avenger, but Chrysler refused to do anything about it even when I held the door shut with my hands instead of relatching it to show them the problem was real. Second, they couldn't "find" a quarter panel rattle that sounded like a castaneda and drove me nuts for 22,000 miles. On my Hondas and Toyotas, when I take them in for minor stuff like this they jump on it and fix it. Chrysler must be so broke they are telling their dealers to stonewall anything short of broken down, won't run. Sad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think that you are over generalizing. My dealer services are great. I have a Pt Cruiser GT and I get the best services when ever I go to the dealer. They are willing to check any problems that I may have. Fortunately I havent had any problems with the Pt Cruiser. As far as your Honda experience, I had the exact opposite. I used to own a Honda Civic and that car was so problematic after the second month of ownership. It rattled, it stalled on me on three occasions (it was an automatic) and some interior pieces started coming off. The dealer did not want to do anything to it because they claimed I did it myself. After that I traded in the Civic, I have no regrets.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What I am reading is that Chrysler is following through on its plan to model itself after BMV. Rather than be in the volume business it wants to sell fewer, higher profit cars. To do this it will be a "premium brand" which is where the aspirational vehicles fit. This will increase it's appeal to foreign make when Ceribus sells it.
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