California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Chrysler: A Year Later

I has been a year now, Charlie Brown, for Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli. How has fared? Well, the lineup is still woefully lopsided, but his team has approved over 500 line-item changes to prop up existing products and make them more competitive. Nardelli also wrangled some top talent from other companies to help Cerberus move the metal. We’ll soon see upgraded interiors in its most fuel efficient models and a brand spankin’ new vehicle will be derived from the Nissan Versa’s “Nissan B platform.” More concerning is the Project D that will replace the woeful Sebring and Avenger sedans. The leader of the project left for unknown reasons, but certainly it wasn’t because it was the best job ever. Does it makes sense for Chrysler to reinvent these sedans or should it save cash and simply place its own top hat on Nissan’s Altima’s “Nissan D platform?”

In some ways, it must be refreshing to work for a privately held firm. You walk in with your recommendation and make a case for it, they either approve or disapprove it and you’re done. It’s not all lollipops and ice cream, I’m sure that they are watching every penny and sometimes may be asking too much from too little. The bottom line for Cerberus is to make a profit. The company would prefer to fix up the “American Icon” and sell it at a profit, but at the end of the day money will be gotten from this stone—either as one boulder or smashed into gravel.

I don’t know that another executive could have moved any faster. The inherited lineup is what it is. I think the key is to fix what you can, and partner on almost every future product. There is no money to be made going it alone.

source: A year after Cerberus' takeover, Chrysler struggles to drive forward

Another interesting article on Cerberus and Chrysler is an AP piece that can be found at msnbc. The opinion of some former auto industry executives is that Cerberus never expected a one or two year turnaround and will stay the course for at lease a few additional years.

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