• Apr 8th 2009 at 10:35AM
  • 59
Jim Press arrives in Fiat 500 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Marking the first time in a long time that an Italian vehicle other than a Lamborghini or Ferrari has appeared at a U.S. auto show, Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press showed up at his company's press conference this morning in a Fiat 500. "We're not announcing anything," he made sure to say as he exited the vehicle and took his place on stage to start the presser, though the act speaks for itself. Chrysler's future hinges largely on whether it can broker a partnership deal with Italian automaker Fiat before the government's newly imposed deadline that arrives in less than a month. Before he began reciting reassurances that Chrysler's OK to the crowd of journalist, Press remarked, "Wouldn't that make a great company car." Indeed it would, Jim.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is supposed to get us excited about a Chrysler-Fiat deal so we can throw more money at Cerberus. No Sale.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "There are still companies that want to expand here. Hyundai (which all of you LOVE for some reason) comes to mind."

        It doesn't matter. For one thing, many of these plants are in heavy union areas, and if Hyunyota were to buy up any of them you know they would be under intense pressure to have UAW represent the workers. And you and I know damn well they don't want that.

        Second, the cost to renovate, re-tool and adapt these old plants for another manufacturer would probably run pretty close to the cost of just building a new factory.

        "If Chrysler's factories are not worthy of buying, then they are not worthy of saving."

        False dilemma.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's not easy to localize a vehicle. So you have a factory, then you have to change the factory to build a new vehicle and get your supply chain going. Getting all the suppliers on board and tooling reading is a major expense, probably close to if not more an a factory itself. They may want to move production to NA, but if the economics of it don't make sense, then they won't.

        Auto sales are down 40% across the board, who wants more factories when the ones they already have aren't running at capacity and are taking all kinds of extra time off?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I empathize with you Mazda, but I'd rather see our industry come out of this stronger with all the fat cut off "

        walk through the halls of Auburn Hills. Chrysler has no fat left, and a lot of muscle has been cut away.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I'd rather see them liquidate and have their assets sold off at auction. If a factory or business entity is viable, you'll see Toyota, Hyundai, Fiat or Ford come in and buy it."

        No they won't, and I'm tired of the Internet Know-Nothings repeating this lie as though it was unassailable truth. Everyone has too much capacity, and given projections that vehicle sales are never going to return to what they were a couple of years ago, that will remain the case. Toyota, Hyundai, et al will not buy old plants that they can't use. Hell, Toyota has a multi-billion dollar plant they just built in Texas that they can't use to capacity.

        If GM or Chrysler liquidate, the plants will sit empty for a few years until they're demolished and the land sold.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats one of looking at it.

        Another way of looking at it would be that it might allow us access to some great European hardware while at the same time giving a safety line to Chrylser, one of America's car-makers.

        I think America needs more positivity today. Instead of "oh thats my tax money" it should be "how can I help one of our national car-makers survive".

        Don't bash me for it. I simply want to see a country I'm deeply fond about regain it's confidence.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I empathize with you Mazda, but I'd rather see our industry come out of this stronger with all the fat cut off - not propped up artificially with taxpayer loans that may not be paid back. Chrysler is not a viable company any longer. I'd rather see them liquidate and have their assets sold off at auction. If a factory or business entity is viable, you'll see Toyota, Hyundai, Fiat or Ford come in and buy it. Same goes for GM.

        I'd rather have a really really strong Ford, Chevy and Cadillac than a solvent Ford, limping GM and shaky Chrysler continuing as is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the govt has forced Cerberus to give up its financial stake (at least controlling stake) in Chrysler Corp as a condition to agree to provide additional bailout funds.

        ...in return, Cerberus may be able to completely write their Chrysler expenses off in their taxes....who knows. But Cerberus has to give up control of Chrysler and allow it to become a wholly-owned corporation again. No word if Daimler was required to relinquish any of their "worthless" shares in Chrysler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Will he leave in disgrace?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "We're not announcing anything," he made sure to say as he exited the vehicle and took his place on stage to start the presser, though the act speaks for itself."

      What exactly is the "act" speaking? "Get distracted by my shiny blue 500 and ignore how quiet Fiat is staying about all of this?" Fiat was supposed to have made a decision by Feb. 17. Haven't seen it. Then by March 31. Haven't seen it. Then Obama puts a gun to Marchionne's head and says "you have 30 days to put up or split." Still nothing yet. While everyone covers Press' flat out misrepresentations (remember the "partnership" lie a few days ago?) no one seems to be covering that everything isn't exactly peachy for Fiat back home.

      The facts - that Daimler failed (regardless of the reasons), Ghosn passed, and the US government is unlikely to give Marchionne the almost totally risk-free deal he expected - aren't going unnoticed in certain quarters. Hope something works out for Chrysler but I'm not holding my breath it'll be Fiat.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Chrysler is the tramp of all cars

      They've rebranded or distributed so many cars in the past

      Hyundai (in Mexico)
      Simca (Omni/Horizon)
      Renault (through AMC)

      Most of these have ended in failures!
      • 6 Years Ago
      All, I know that you are all clamoring for FIATS. Last time they were here, their cars had a record of falling apart. Motoring in the US is very different from motoring in Europe. This is why the euro marks that are successful here build US market specific models. If FIAT just loads up a boat with euro-market units, they will once again fall on their faces.

        • 6 Years Ago
        correction: Euro marques....
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll take one with our without the Chrysler/Dodge badge. Maybe 2.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why in the name of Christ would they badge the machine as a Chrysler?

      This isn't the 1970's and 80's - the Fiat name doesn't mean cheaply made and unreliable anymore. Fiat has become cool. That Cerberus would cling to the Chrysler brand name (now believed cheaply made and unreliable) is to piss away a slice of the "hip and trendy" market that ChryCo and every other American maker fights for.

      What an utter mess, and yet more proof of Chrysler mis-management.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Could have been a publicity stunt By Jim Press to create some buzz.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great time to bring back Plymouth ;-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      This car costs 26K$ in the UK, for that much, you would need to be an enthusiast or a Fiat lover to consider one. The Cooper-S starts at 22 and is cheaper, safer, faster and isn't a lemon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You really don't know that cars cost a LOT more in Europe?

        The US price would have to be much lower, and it could be because European prices include car related taxes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Abarth that is - not the base cinquecento.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, I do know that cars cost more in Europe. I've lived there. But from all the info that's available at the moment, they are predicting that it's going to sell in the mid 15K £ to compete with the Cooper S at 15995 £.

        Regardless, these are all speculations. But if they indeed are going to butt head with the Cooper S, it needs to start a little bit lower than that.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Unless the Mini Uk site lied to me, that's where I got the prices for the Mini from. As for the Abarth - I couldn't find anywhere with the pricing only speculations of how much they're going for.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sam, you're WAY off. The Abarth 500 costs £13,600, and that includes things like duty, VAT, etc. That's exactly the same as the BASE model MINI Cooper, which is £13,700 out the door. So probably something along the lines of:

        $14k base model 500
        $18k Abarth 500
        $21k Abarth 500 SS

      • 6 Years Ago
      The front of the 500 almost seems made to put the Chrysler wing fascia on it. Not that I want it to happen though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jim Press is such a dick.
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