• Jan 2nd 2009 at 9:27AM
  • 6
It's not just North America that is yielding an ugly red balance sheet for Chrysler. ChinaStakes.com reports that the automaker's position in China is in rough shape, too. Right before the taxpayer bailout of General Motors and Chrysler became official, Chrysler's Philip Murtaugh exited the company after just 15 months on the job, creating a leadership void in its Chinese operations. Murtaugh had joined Chrysler to lead its Asia/Pacific operations after 32 years at GM, the last ten of which were spent heading up the General's Chinese division, and a stint at China's SAIC.

The thinking was that Murtaugh would be the perfect man to establish successful relationships and footholds in China for the Pentastar, but things evidently haven't exactly worked out that way. At all. Chrysler is still without a joint-venture partner in China, and without such an agreement, production and distribution operations in the country are basically non-starters. Other business relationships the automaker has in China are described as being alternately "overcomplicated" and "inefficient", and recent negoatiations with companies like Great Wall haven't lead to anything. Chrysler's tiny sales footprint in China probably hasn't helped matters, either. Murtaugh's division reportedly had little juice with the home office as a result.

The search for business partners in China will now reportedly be lead out of Auburn Hills, which also has to deal with the immediate problems Chrysler faces in its own home market. One has to wonder, if Chrysler couldn't turn around its Chinese business with an experienced and reputable man on the ground in-country, is it really reasonable to think that managers in a boardroom half a world away will fare any better... especially when they're dealing with an even more pressing crisis on the home front? After all, it's hard to worry about painting the fence when the house is burning down.

[Source: ChinaStakes.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Chrysler "overcomplicated" and "inefficient"? That's unpossible!
      • 6 Years Ago

      it's almost impossible to grasp the "jump" from any problems Chrysler is having in China to anything that is going on here. perhaps you can elaborate on the parallels you see; I don't see a single one.

      I don't see a single thing written about Beijiing Jeep. any reason for that? for those not familiar, that joint venture was started in 1983 by American Motors, and was the second joint automotive venture started in China, right after Shanghai Volkswagen. Chrysler inherited Beijiing Jeep when they purchased AMC in 1987. the venture continued when Daimler "merged" with Chrysler, and the Chinese facility produced various Mercedes, Mitsubishi, and Jeep models. Daimler kept the Chinese facility when Cerberus bought Chrysler.

      the way the article is written, it would appear to the uninformed that Chrysler has never been in the Chinese market before. not true! as a matter of fact, their presence in China occured even before GM's joint venture to build light trucks and Buicks there in 1992.

      we've had no doubt hundreds of stories here on Autoblog in the past few years about the abysmal quality of Chinese vehicles like the Brilliance, among countless others. do you think (just maybe) this could be one of the reasons that Chrysler is having a tough time finding a suitable partner? how many articles have we seen here on Autoblog about Chrysler's on-again-off-again relationship with Chery Automotive? in almost every article, when Chrysler officals were asked about a time frame for production (and importation to North America), it was always 3-5 years. and they reason given every time was one thing: QUALITY.

      not a word mentioned about the fact that the downturn we are experincing here is a WORLDWIDE event, and auto sales are off in China as much as they are here, if not more. not exactly a good time for spending money for expansion, is it?

      I applaud Chrysler for concentrating on it's home market here in North America. times are tough for the auto industry worldwide, and it's best for ALL companies to get their home markets in order first. we're relatively lucky in this department than the Japanese; they face a shrinking domestic market, not an expanding one


        • 6 Years Ago
        quality of chinese _designed_ cars and quality of chinese made/assembled cars are two very different things. please realize that chinese joint ventures with other companies produce high end models of mercedes, bmw, audi and volvo in china.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Give the Chinese Challengers and they will buy them all up. Trust me!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I actually agree with that idea - the Chinese market is all about looking good and a zooty muscle car with loud paint job (and a louder engine) fits the bill perfectly. One must understand that performance is not exactly at the top of the list for the average Chinese consumer, it's about buying a car that others will admire so exterior and interior is what sells.

        I say ship some to China and rebadge them as special editions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sure the UAW is to blame over their too. All those overpaid lazy workers in China. Maybe they can cut their pay and reduce their benifits. Then everything will be all better.