In crises past, Chrysler has somehow managed to stamp out a blockbuster hit vehicle to pull itself away from the cliff's edge.
But as it faces a possible sale to another automaker and what may be the most serious problems in its 83-year history, industry analysts say there's nothing in the current product portfolio that looks like a savior.
Chrysler's U.S. sales are down 25 percent through September, the worst decline of any major automaker. Losses are mounting: well over $1 billion for the first half of the year. Things are so bad that Chrysler LLC wants to shed a quarter of its salaried work force, and its owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, is talking with General Motors Corp. and others about a sale.
Of Chrysler's 26 models on sale in both 2007 and 2008, only four have sold more this year than last, and three of those are small-volume niche vehicles such as the Dodge Viper. The company's market share has dwindled from 16.2 percent in 1996 to 11 percent this year, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.