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Archive for Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chrysler struggles to come up with big seller

November 2, 2008

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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.

Comments

sjschlag 5 years, 5 months ago

Mercedes Benz did a good job marketing Chrysler products when they owned the company. Many american buyers for years wanted a larger rear drive sedan with a V-8 engine. Mercedes benz realized that this demand existed and rolled out the 300C, which proved to be a very popular car. Most other american auto companies have ignored the car market and focused on their pickup and SUV markets. This will undoubtedly cause their downfall, unless they can come up with compelling small/medium car offering. Without the guidance of Mercedes Benz, Chrysler will without a doubt falter in this economy.

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

how about PT cruisers with diesel-electric hybrid engines?

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

how about PT cruisers with hybrid drive?

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lunacydetector 5 years, 5 months ago

this is a story about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. chrysler did away with the fuel efficient neon and went with the less economical caliber. when the gas prices shot up, chrysler didn't have a vehicle to compete. i own two chryslers myself and love these cars. they have been very reliable and for the money a great deal.i think the underlying problem before the gas crisis was the merging or buyout by mercedes. after mercedes took over chrysler's design lacked the cutting edge look of the recent past.the company that owns chrysler now isn't savvy in automobiles.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

And yet, with all the complaining, Toyota sales in March of this year were only 14,000 units more than Chrysler (242,000 to 228,000), and Honda sales were far behind (143,000). Incidentally, one of the biggest increases for Toyota (partly responsible for the reversal from last year when Chrysler outsold Toyota in March) was the Tundra, a full-sized truck, which increased 12% from 3/07 to 3/08. (Ford and GM still outsold Toyota, the largest Japanese automaker.)

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average 5 years, 5 months ago

"While the gap is closing (it may widen again as gas prices plummet), Americans buy more Accords than Civics, and more Camry's than Corollas. Even with imported cars, Americans choose the larger cars more often."With automatic transmission and base engine, the Camry and Accord get as good or better mileage than the best (smallest) thing in a Mopar showroom today. For larger cars with much better resale value history.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"I would argue that the Big Three (ford, gm, mopar) have failed to offer a compelling smaller car that people actually want to buy. Nobody wants to drive a dodge neon, chevy cobalt or ford focus, but for some reason sales and re-sales of Honda Civics and Toyota corollas seems to be pretty high:"While the gap is closing (it may widen again as gas prices plummet), Americans buy more Accords than Civics, and more Camry's than Corollas. Even with imported cars, Americans choose the larger cars more often.

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Godot 5 years, 5 months ago

The appropriate headline, "Chrysler desperately seeks a buyer,"

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Daytrader23 5 years, 5 months ago

I was just in America and rented a Chrysler, What a piece of junk, really it was. I can't believe its 2008 and their cars handles worse than German cars of the 80's. The mileage was crap as well as the performance. They deserve to go under for producing crap.

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sjschlag 5 years, 5 months ago

"Blame your neighbors, not the car companies; the manufacturers are building both what people want and what the environmentalists/liberals/government wants - but what the people want is what they've been plunking their money down to buy."I would argue that the Big Three (ford, gm, mopar) have failed to offer a compelling smaller car that people actually want to buy. Nobody wants to drive a dodge neon, chevy cobalt or ford focus, but for some reason sales and re-sales of Honda Civics and Toyota corollas seems to be pretty high...I would say that people who want to "buy american" are forced into buying more expensive trucks and SUVs not because they want a larger vehicle, but because the smaller vehicle offerings from Ford, GM and Chrysler are so horrible nobody would buy them unless they needed to. In international markets GM and Ford produce desirable smaller cars- the European Ford Focus has been very popular and very reliable; Opel products sold in Germany tend to be much more stylish and have greater build quality than their American counterparts. It's true that people desire SUVs, but could it be that the American auto companies realized they could potentially make more money by selling a larger vehicle? Could they have engineered american tastes through advertising and poor small car offerings to desire a larger SUV or pickup truck?

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notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

monkeyhawk (Anonymous) says: "I have rented Chrysler products."Oh, great factor to base your judgment on as to dependability and quality. After all, rental cars are always driven carefully and always maintained to the highest, not the cheapest, standards.[Rolling eyes]

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average 5 years, 5 months ago

Chrysler is so screwed up. The most efficient car I can get at a Mopar showroom today, the Caliber, will get exactly the same gas mileage as the my carbureted 1981 Dodge Aries K-Car got when it came out. Oh, yeah, but the K-Car was roomier. Jeesh that's sad. The intention a few years back was that by now Chrysler would be only making trucks, and importing SmartCars and Chinese (Chery) models, so they had no R&D on small cars.My car is the most fuel-efficient car made in North America. It's made in a UAW plant in California. Yes, it's a Toyota (although you can get the hatchback with a Pontiac logo if that makes you feel better), and Toyota is actually able to make money selling them.I'd rather five hundred bucks goes to Katsuaki Watanabe (CEO of Toyota) than $3000 of my money (in extra fuel costs) go to the Saudis, Angolans, or Venezuelans. Call me funny that way.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"The fact that the last American car you owned hasn't been built in over thirty years might explain your unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge about modern American products."That was my point, as I stated in the following paragraph.I have rented Chrysler products. In fact, last year I drove one to the gulf. It had under 7500 miles on it and the transmission was going out. I rented a Chrysler convertible in Florida a few years ago that lost the undercarriage cover while I was on the freeway. I also frequently drove Tauruses when my Jaguar was broken - which was every other week. I would not ever consider another Jag, either. My father, who is a WW2 veteran, would not drive anything but Chryslers, and certainly not a Japanese product, now drives a Honda after having his transmission go out in Cirrus with only 34,000 miles on it.Most people would place dependability over brand loyalty, especially if they hope to get 150,000 - 200,000 miles out of a vehicle.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

4paz (Anonymous) says: "The American car manufacturers think they build what American people want, but, in reality, they went out and sold the people on gas guzzlers, and continue to do so. They have told Congress that they can't increase fuel efficiency, yet they produce fuel efficient cars for other countries who demand it."Like any other business, the car companies can only sell what people buy. Since the gas problems of the 70's, every American car company has sold a mix of smaller economy cars and larger less fuel efficient ones. People bought the big ones. The car companies never said they can't increase fuel efficiency, they had difficulty making fleet mileage requirements when they offer something like a Mustang with a four, six, and V-8 engine and everyone buys the V-8; when they build little Ranger pickups (essentially a re-badged Mazda B3000) and the number one seller is the big F-150; when Chrysler, most of whose cars are indeed quite efficient, can't get people to buy anything but the "small-volume niche vehicles" like the Viper, Magnum, Charger, and Challenger. Blame your neighbors, not the car companies; the manufacturers are building both what people want and what the environmentalists/liberals/government wants - but what the people want is what they've been plunking their money down to buy.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: "It's not just the build quality, it's the overall package. Producing fuel-hungry ugly hunks of yesteryear isn't going to cut it in today's market."I have two cars, both Chrysler products. One is a full-sized car with most of the bells and whistles, and it gets over 20 around town and 30 on the highway. The other is a compact I bought used for the sole purpose of commuting; it's old and tired, pretty worn out actually, with the compression down and other signs of age, and it still gets 34 on my commute.As far as what you don't think will sell in today's market, maybe you should read the story again. The cars that are selling better than last year are the ones you speak of, the "fuel-hungry hunks of yesteryear."****monkeyhawk (Anonymous) says: "Sorry, Marion, have to disagree with you on this one. My last American made product was a Vega."The fact that the last American car you owned hasn't been built in over thirty years might explain your unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge about modern American products.****Just curious as to how many of these folks parked their Japanese, German, or Swedish cars (filled with Venezuelan and Iranian oil with the "No offshore drilling" bumper stickers attached) in the garage of their new house built with Mexican & Guatemalen labor, hung up their made-in-India cell phone, plopped down in front of their Korean TV, and fired up their Taiwanese computer to bch about how the evil Republicans allowed American jobs to move overseas and how Obamamama is going to bring them all back.

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4paz 5 years, 5 months ago

The American car manufacturers think they build what American people want, but, in reality, they went out and sold the people on gas guzzlers, and continue to do so. They have told Congress that they can't increase fuel efficiency, yet they produce fuel efficient cars for other countries who demand it. If they fail, wouldn't it follow that capital could be redirected to a small start up company that would build what the people want. These mammoth corporations have a monopoly on capital, so it's next to impossible to start a new car company.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 5 months ago

The near total ignorance that most of you have regarding engine design and automobiles is becoming apparent in you posts.I suppose that you do not realise that engines utilising the hemispherical combustion chamber design (Hemi) are the more efficient than those which do not; mostly due to reasons which you would not understand or accept but we'll try a few.The "hemi" design is the IC engine design of the future because in addition to being more efficient, it developes more horsepower per unit of displacement than any other.The hemi is less fuel sensitive than, let us say, Ricardo designs or overhead valve designs using wedge-shaped combustion chambers, making it ideal for multo-fuel technology; E-85, etc.The hemi desiogn has been used by BMW for years in many of its models as wel as by other manufacturers.Although the citation contains facts, you may want to take a look anyway:http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Fuel-Economy-Improvements-73-Percent/story.aspx?guid=%7B1CF189C6-C283-4C90-93D5-1FE3896C0BF5%7DDon't know a lot about hemis, do there, toe?I will also be noted that most of the Asian auto plants located in the USA do not have union contracts and are therefore not being extorted by that wonderful outfit, the United Auto Workers and are therefore at disticnt financial aadvantagea.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"How many Americans do GM, Ford or Chrysler employ versus your beloved imports?"Ask that same question in a few years.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 5 months ago

SMe - all the more reason why this country needs to be more creative in its new industries! Wind and solar could produce lots of jobs for skilled workers who used to manufacture cars. Chrysler and Ford could start developing battery technology for hybrids so they could be manufactured here and not overseas. That said, our two biggest industries, weapons and Hollywood, are steaming along nicely as exports.

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

what happened to the diesel-electric hybrid auto thatMercedes-Chrysler planned?

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SMe 5 years, 5 months ago

Chrysler does build good automobiles and has for years.And as far as Honda and Toyota plants there's a question I'd like to pose to you (rhetorical because I know the answer but wager you don't)How many Americans do GM, Ford or Chrysler employ versus your beloved imports?Every import product you purchase reduces what's left of America for your children and grand children.

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

like all of the big three / Chrysler should just have one line - Chrysler (automobiles) & JEEP (sport utes & jeeps).Ford needs to curtail Mercury.GM needs to clean house of duplications big time.i would have sidelined Buick before Oldsmobile but really Pontiac nees to go along with Buick now.all 3 need to focus on innovation -- not a huge array of models.

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

JEEP / Chrysler have and have had several good products over the decades leading to industry innovations.minivans?sport utes?

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spiderman 5 years, 5 months ago

Michael Feldmans' radio show on KPR yesterday had a good monologue line about the GM / Chrysler merger.he proposed cars & SUV's where the passengers could remain standing to get a better view.'Jesus Chrysler' i think was the proposed new name.

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toe 5 years, 5 months ago

Worst most unreliable car I ever owned was a Chrysler. This company is also irresponsible, building gas guzzling vehicles. Buy a Hemi with that SUV? Chrysler is old school and old technology with a better than average body shop.

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classclown 5 years, 5 months ago

Just to address your "asianmobiles" statement marion...Toyota has 5 manufacturing plants in the U.S. with another slated to open withing 2-3 years.Honda has 13. Though that includes plants that make non automotive items such as lawn mowers as well. And motorcycles which I'll allow you to categorize yourself.Nissan has 3, though I couldn't find what exactly they make in those plants.Hyundai/Kia just finished building a plant here although they've had a design center here for a while.I'm not looking any more up. Just wanted to point out that many (if not most) of the so called "asianmobiles" or "rice burners" (for those that remember that term) are indeed manufactured here in the United States.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Forgot to mention that one of the main reason I buy Toyota brands is because they are non-union. Imagine this - the boss actually sits down to lunch with the laborers.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 5 months ago

Both Chrysler and Ford had a choice, years ago, to build hybrids or SUVs. They made their choice and now it is biting them in the arse. It is unfortunate in terms of what it will do the car industry in this country, and to the workers, but this is the nature of free enterprise. Unless of course you think that Socialist Bush should bail them out too.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, Marion, have to disagree with you on this one. My last American made product was a Vega. I have driven mostly Japanese since then (many years ago). I can count on them to start, and I can count on them not to lay down on me.When a person has driven American lemons, which were the rule rather than the exception, it is difficult to conjure up the interest to even look into new domestic models, when you clearly understand what you get from foreign makers. Besides, I want a vehicle that is produced completely in the US. That's why I buy Toyotas.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 5 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: It's not just the build quality, it's the overall package. Producing fuel-hungry ugly hunks of yesteryear isn't going to cut it in today's market."Marion writes:And just which of Chrysler's products are you referring to?

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gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

It's not just the build quality, it's the overall package. Producing fuel-hungry ugly hunks of yesteryear isn't going to cut it in today's market.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 5 months ago

gccs14r (Anonymous) says: If Chrysler would have built a good product, Chrysler wouldn't be in trouble."Marion wrties:I think you people had best check some of the more recent quality reports on American cars.

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gccs14r 5 years, 5 months ago

If Chrysler would have built a good product, Chrysler wouldn't be in trouble.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 5 months ago

KEITHMILES05 (Anonymous) says: No way will Chrysler survive."Marion writes:Perhaps Chrysler wil not survive and that will make you USA hating "liberals" just happy as all H*ll because another part of America will have bitten the dust, throwing thousands into the unemployment likes while you zip around in your Asianmobiles.

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