By on August 8, 2008

What do you get when you Ram a Titan?Chrysler doesn't do well outside it own backyard, or play well with others. The American automaker's attempts to expand globally in the early ‘60s ended with Chrysler selling their European operations (Rootes Group, Simca and Barreiros) to PSA Peugeot Citroën. In the 70's, Chrysler off-loaded their Australian subsidiary to Mitsubishi. ChryCo's last U.S. partnership with a Japanese manufacturer (Mitsubishi again) ended on less than cordial terms. The "merger of equals" with Germany's Mercedes-Benz almost [may actually have] killed it. So why would Chrysler entertain the idea of another off-shore partnership? And why would Nissan ever want to partner with an automaker as moribund as Chrysler?

Chrysler has inked an agreement with Nissan whereby the Yanks will build a full-sized pickup to replace the transplant's dead-in-the-water Titan. Should the deal come to fruition, Nissan will be "free" to stop producing their four-wheeled Dodo. They can then convert their Mississippi Titan plant to produce more commercial, commercial vehicles.

In return, Nissan will build a small car for Chrysler. And now, even as Chrysler says they have "no new alliances" to announce, the media suggests that Nissan will also build some version or another of their Altima midsized sedan for Chrysler dealers. Although the move transforms the much-touted "Project D" into "Project Dead," the automotive "outsourcing" would save Chrysler tens of millions of precious dollars in product development. Oh, did I mention Chrysler's contract with China's Chery to produce a subcompact for Dodge? Same deal.

Connect the dots and you have the meta-strategy outlined here before: Chrysler as K-Mart. It's only a matter of time before ALL of Chrysler and Dodge's products would be, in effect, store brands: other people's products labeled as Chryslers/Dodges. IF it has the time, Chrysler will maintain factories for their truck lines (operating at a reduced capacity) and get out of the automobile manufacturing business entirely. 

So what's in it for Nissan? A line of rebadged Nissans may sound like just what the doctor (Z) ordered for Chrysler, but what chance does a Nissan badged Ram have?

History says not much. In the ‘90s, Ford assembled and sold the first generation Nissan Quest minivan as the Mercury Villager. Splat! After 2002 Ford and Nissan went their separate ways. In fact, American-badged versions of imported brand vehicles have always sold poorly, especially compared to the original. Think Quest/Villager, Matrix/Vibe, Eclipse/Talon, Corolla/Prizm.

Likewise, the import-branded version of American trucks have been sales zombies. Chevy Colorados did nothing as Isuzus. The Ford Ranger goes nowhere as the Mazda B-series. The Dodge Dakota sells even more poorly as a Mitsubishi Raider. A Nissan Dodge Ram might do better than the Titan, but that says nothing good about either truck.  

One can only surmise (as many have) that Nissan's simply testing the waters, trawling for the remnants of Chrysler's production capacity, easing the eventual hauling-up of same. One can also look at history and see why Nissan would consider cozying-up to Chrysler: the company's [once and sole remaining] "crown" jewel. Jeep.  

Obviously, DaimlerChrysler/Chrysler has done much to damage the iconic brand. Jeep sales are down 21.2 percent year-to-date (YTD). The Commander (down 54 percent in July) and the Compass (down 45.9 percent in July) are disasters. And yet the not-so-great Jeep Patriot is up four percent last month. The model offers proof– if proof be needed– that Jeep remains a powerful brand with excellent potential.

European and U.S. fuel economy regulations or no, with Nissan's connections in Asia and Renault's presence in Europe, a Nissan-owned Jeep could become a world-wide brand. Yes, Jeep's cursed; every company that's bought it has gone to the wall or belly-up at some point. But the brand still sings its siren song, all these years later.

The question is, of course, can Cerberus hang on long enough to strip and flip Chrysler/Jeep outside of C11? Moody's just downgraded ChryCo deeper into junk bond territory and bestowed B2 status on Chrysler Financial. Cerberus isn't in the habit of losing money. They'll have to do something soon. Selling off Chrysler NOW seems to be the best way to stop the cash hemorrhage.

Nissan isn't stupid enough to swallow Chrysler whole (especially bits and pieces can be had for pennies on the dollar). Nissan would end up with unneeded production capacity, outdated factories, the UAW, segment-trailing models and an executive staff that seems to excel at losing money. Other than the full-sized truck lines and Jeep, everything else would be surplus to requirements. Any thought of taking Chrysler back upscale would run headlong into Infiniti.

Nissan's supposed production agreements with Chrysler give Cerberus more credibility (i.e. time) with its financial backers. They also give Nissan a chance to see what's under the hood before the auction starts. It's a win – win situation– until someone loses. Whatever happens, that won't be Nissan. 

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54 Comments on “Chrysler Suicide Watch 38: Nissan Comes a-Courtin’...”


  • avatar
    Scottie

    Call me odd, but the French did wonders at AMC with Jeep. XJ’s were great SUV’s. I’d rather see Jeep go to Renault/Nissan, than India or China.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    It would be something of Jeep coming full circle ending up in the hands of Nissan/Renault once again.

    Jeep will still be a viable brand, but as more of a niche for the off road and out door enthusiasts.
    They can still get a decent share of the light truck market.

    The mass appeal of using a Cherokee, Liberty or Grand Cherokee as a rugged grocery getter ended with $4/gal gas.

    I’m interested in seeing what sorts of commercial products Nissan makes with the former Titan plant.

  • avatar
    morbo

    Hmmm…

    The Frontier, Pathfinder, Wrangler, Cherokee, Liberty, and Ram all under the single Jeep brand. A single, one stop truck/SUV market for real trucks and SUV’s. You know, what GMC isn’t.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    An Altima-based Dodge/Chrysler would be great. Quality and reliability, foreign concepts to any Chrysler in the past 30 years. A Nissan-badged Dodge truck would be disasterous in my mind. Regardless of the Titan’s growing pains, it is still a superior chassis to Dodge’s.

    Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly ‘get’ the Patriot’s popularity….true Jeep styling in a Cherokee wrapper. Simple and honest except you can’t do much off-road. How many Jeeps ever go off-road? The improved interior coming down the road will only enhance it’s attractiveness.

    Chrysler as we know it is screwed. Except for the fabled legacies, they currently have very little competitive product, and nothing in the pipeline.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    I think Renault just wants AMC back. The Premier rises again. lol.

  • avatar
    Scottie

    Renault wants an Encore.

    This Alliance will be a good Medallion for the Auto Makers Cars.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    Nissan giving Chrysler a small car makes perfect sense, but Chrysler giving Nissan a pick up truck makes less sense.

    Firstly, the pick up segment is dying.
    Secondly, don’t Nissan have enough pick up trucks of their own?

    It would have made more sense for Chrysler to buy Nissan Versas at a cheap wholesale price and re-sell them (after re-badging and a front grille change) at a market price. Much like Rover did with the Tata Indica.

    Chrysler don’t have much to offer Nissan. They don’t have any fuel efficient technologies and all their expertise is in trucks and SUV’s; a market which is lean at the moment.

    Having said all that, Chrysler is still part owned by Daimler. Why don’t Nissan ask for a cheap licence for the Blutec diesel technology? That would suit Nissan down to the ground as they are pushing diesels more than hybrids and that technology would give them a significant leg up over the other Japanese makes.

    Incidentally, the reason Chrysler never flourished abroad is because they never adapted their range for global tastes. In the UK line up, we have crossovers, SUV’s, muscle cars and sports cars, but no small cars or family sedans. We did have the Neon (which was OK) but it isn’t enough. Where’s the Mondeo beater? Say what you want about GM and Ford (and goodness knows, I have!) their range in Europe is VASTLY different to the NA line up. There’s well styled, (reasonably) well built small and medium sized cars (e.g Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Astra etc)

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly ‘get’ the Patriot’s popularity….true Jeep styling in a Cherokee wrapper. Simple and honest except you can’t do much off-road. How many Jeeps ever go off-road? The improved interior coming down the road will only enhance it’s attractiveness.

    I wholeheartedly agree. I want a Patriot specifically because it looks just like our family’s old AMC-era Cherokee.

    Really, the reason Jeep’s owners have all went under isn’t because it’s “cursed”, it’s because all its owners have been terrible automakers. AMC, the Frankenstein’s monster stitched from two separate automakers, made awful cars at its end, especially the Gremlin and Eagle. Chrysler was pushing bankruptcy in the seventies before it ever saw a Jeep badge.

    I would rather see Jeep go to Ford than Nissan. Ford and Jeep have a history starting at World War II. Ford built Jeeps using excess production capacity during the war.

    A Wrangler powered by a torque-adjusted Duratec 35 would probably do pretty well off-road, and deliver better mileage than the current unit.

    And Katie: The truck market isn’t dying, just shrinking. People are escaping their trucks-as-commuters and are beginning to use them for what they were meant to be used for: Towing and hauling.

    People will always need trucks.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    @ The Luigiian

    Dying? Shrinking? The end result is the same. Less market for other makers, which means less money going about.

  • avatar
    86er

    Katie, the “pick up segment” is not dying, it’s undergoing what the financial types call a “correction”.

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    Katie,
    Trucks sales will come back. Haven’t you ever went winter coat shopping in the spring..when they are cheapest?

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Ren-issan would be buying a whole lot of macho cred, here and overseas, with a real truck brand, or two.

    As for the Titan plant, I think they’d be smart to produce a multi-purpose platform like the Dodge (MB) Sprinter, especially with Ford bringing the Transit here soon. There really is no point to an american van with a V8 when the Sprinter type has more room and gets better mileage with its turbo diesel. I can imagine a growing market for these vehicles in the US.

  • avatar
    threeer

    With Jeep being the sole exception, I can’t see Nissan gaining much by getting in bed with Chrysler. It isn’t like Nissan isn’t struggling a bit themselves, but to then tie themselves to the boat anchor that is Chrysler would be near fatal. I could care less about the remaining Chrysler line-up, but for God’s sake, please rescue Jeep! Dump the Commander and Compass…continue to develop the Wrangler and improve the capabilities of the Patriot. If that is Nissan’s intention, then that’s the only real benefit I see…

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    “Ryan Knuckles :

    Katie,
    Trucks sales will come back. Haven’t you ever went winter coat shopping in the spring..when they are cheapest?”

    That analogy doesn’t work. When I go winter coat shopping in spring, it’s because I KNOW there will be a winter coming.

    There’s no guarantee that cheap oil will come back. Granted there is still plenty of oil in the world, but, increasingly, it is coming in the form of “costly to extract” (e.g Oil shale). The easily extractable oil is drying up and now oil prices will plateau out at about $110 – $120 per barrel.

    Which means (as someone put it) trucks will go back to what they were designed for meaning it’ll be more of a fringe market than a mainstream one.

    That’s what I think anyway……

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Once upon a time in a land far far away a car company called Rover group linked up with Honda. Rover bought Honda designs and put the Rover badge on them.

    This worked for a while until new owners BMW realised that the Rover 45 (which was really a Honda) was a real stinker. Sales dropped, Land Rover was sold to Ford and Rover withered away and die.

    Some simalarities maybe….

    Oh and Rover’s last design was a car called the City Rover which was a rebadge of a TATA car from India. That bombed. Did someone mention Chryslers coming from China?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Katie I don’t really get your arguement. Just cause the market is shrinking doesn’t mean there isn’t any money to be made in it. You just have to be smarter, more efficient and lower your devlopment costs so you still see a decent profit from the lower number of sales, which is exactly what Nissan is doing. Let Chryler spend the money in development and just rebadge and make it look like a Nissan exterior and then sell it at your dealers. Lower risk for Nissan in a slightly more risky market right now.

    There is always going to be a need for trucks just not the fashion trucks of the last few years. It’s a bummer though because I think the Titan is a way better truck then the Ram, at least the platform.

    RF – comment window is getting flaky again.

  • avatar
    OTTO SALES

    ASK a USED CAR DEALER !
    Here we go again….The All-TI-MA By Chryco…
    We own a”real car lot” in Port Washington WI 53074
    We are holding too no-one for a franchise..so we can “blow” our whistle with out fear of forced sellout.We like many aspects of being able to hand pick our inventory.We love NEONs here..they are decent kids cars,student cars…easy to repair
    (ya we know about head gaskets,we do not have time to hear about it from you!)All cars have issues!
    That said Oh how the Auto-World will change when everyone downsizes production.Looking for a cheap car for the kids Well hold on to your ankles..
    The time is over!New cars are not going to sell like they did,at fire-sale prices.So applaud the death of the 3 or who ever you Diss…the day is going to get longer.If you have a really good car I am going to buy from the new car dealer…I have buyers for the good ones.The Joe’s who pounded em JUNK.EM…So we watch the Alliances as they form and prepare for the day they are traded.We will put our hand in the AIR HIGH for the right stuff.I do not see this alliance as being it.Bring back a real Neon or Escort!Or Dart!or Datsun!
    Otto Sales

  • avatar
    ex-dtw

    Totally agree, there will always be a need for the pickup truck, especially in NA. It is not a choice for a large portion of the market and it isn’t going anywhere.

    And it isn’t about having enough “truck of their own”. It is about appealing to a stridently loyal market with a product that is cheap to produce and develop while still delivering (somewhat) on what that core market requires.

    “They don’t have any fuel efficient technologies and all their expertise is in trucks and SUV’s”.

    Exactly, lean or not, a market correction is what is going on here and that experience/know-how is quite valuable to those that can efficiently tap it.

  • avatar
    mel23

    Or be able to take advantage of the Cummins/Dodge link up. I wonder whatever happned to the plan to put a small Cummins in the Durango or some such. Haven’t heard anything about that in over a year.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I understand what’s in this for Chrysler – cars someone might be willing to buy.

    I don’t see why Nissan wants to sell rebadged Rams. I can imagine the discussion at the executive roudn table –

    ‘Gentlemen, here is my idea. We are having trouble selling our trucks, so we’ll rebadge American made trucks and sell those.”

    “Sir, you mean we’ll rebadge the F-series trucks? ”

    “No, he means we’ll rebadge Silverados. ”

    No, gentlemen, I mean we’ll rebadge America’s third place, thrird rate truck, the Dodge Ram.

    And just when the Nissan brand is starting to have a better image than it’s had in years. Makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    finally the pieces are being fleshed out. We know something had to happen at Chrysler and Nissan always was there in the wings. Cerebrus cannot carry on independent making cars, no one has those kinds of deep pockets anymore. How to get out from under is the only question left. I always felt only parts of the Chrysler empire are viable and will continue jeep, some dodge trucks and little else. We also know that by now Cerebrus knows the longer they stay the more they lose, so giving first divs to someone like nissan is gong to be quicker and easier than a full bankrupcy and trying to restart the entire company. Mercedes knows cars and they knew the gig was up at Chrysler. (Zetsche might have even had some of the fuel information that all the rest of the masters of the universe said couldn’t be predicted.) Mercedes will go down as the last people to run the entire chrysler corp. If nissan can keep part of chrysler alive that is the best we can hope for. One way or another Cerebrus will be gone and soon from the car business.

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    KatiePuckrik
    That analogy doesn’t work. When I go winter coat shopping in spring, it’s because I KNOW there will be a winter coming.

    There’s no guarantee that cheap oil will come back. Granted there is still plenty of oil in the world, but, increasingly, it is coming in the form of “costly to extract” (e.g Oil shale). The easily extractable oil is drying up and now oil prices will plateau out at about $110 – $120 per barrel.

    Which means (as someone put it) trucks will go back to what they were designed for meaning it’ll be more of a fringe market than a mainstream one.

    That’s what I think anyway……

    I don’t know much about the European marketplace, but in rural NA, trucks will never go away, no matter the price of fuel. Lifestyles may change to reduce the cost (ie. a cheap, efficient beater for commuting, less joy rides, etc), but trucks are not going away.

    IMO, Nissan would be making a good move to rebadge Dodge trucks. It reduces their risk and is more focused on the world’s largest truck market, NA. The Japanese tend to have quirky (in good and bad ways) designs, which are much more suited to cars than trucks. An American designed and built truck could help them in that way.

    That being said, what you are saying does apply to the large SUV market. I don’t see it rebounding unless fuel price drop dramatically.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    You guys are right, trucks will never go away.

    But Katie is also right. The easy oil is all gone, or will soon be.

    Shale and other sources of oil are much more expensive to get. It ain’t gonna improve without SOME drilling, and probably won’t immprove much as long as China, India, Russia, and the USA are all vying for the same few remaining oil deposits.

    Pickups, SUVs, busses, lorries, and other large vehicles will not go away in our lifetimes, but I don’t think oil will get “permanently cheap” ever again, even with a lot of increased drilling.

    Haulers and commercial vehicles will likely continue to decrease in sales to the point where it won’t be efficient for the factories to run full-time lines to make them.

    They’ll have to consolidate. Like a lot of newspapers that have consolidated their printing operations, or the “United Launch Alliance” we now have for launching rockets into space.

    Maybe these bigger vehicles will be made in small batches, and only when there are enough firm orders on the books to financially justify a factory makeready.

    I think eventually, maybe in 20 or 30 years, we’ll have to do one of these to order a truck:

    1. Order a fleet of them to be manufactured, and put down some earnest money.

    Or

    2. Order one from a broker who is ordering a fleet, be it on behalf of a company or a consortium of individuals.

    or

    3. Commission one or more vehicles to be made; like kings and emperors used to commission a symphony or a play. Again, earnest money would be needed or else the factory makeready wouldn’t be worth the trouble and cost to the manufacturer (or manufacturing “team”).

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Pick up trucks will not go away completely, but sales may drop to 20-30% of their peaks. That means that smaller players like Nissan can’t afford to pay the costs of designing a new pickup for the meager sales that such will bring (and the Titan in particular is down even more than the domestic full size pickups are). Rebadging somebody else’s design makes sense, and I suspect Nissan got a better deal from Chrysler than they would get from Ford or GM. Likewise, Chrysler hasn’t a clue how to build a small car, and they need one, like, yesterday, so having Nissan (and Chery) do the dirty work is also a good idea.

  • avatar

    Dynamic88
    I don’t see why Nissan wants to sell rebadged Rams.

    And just when the Nissan brand is starting to have a better image than it’s had in years. Makes absolutely no sense at all.

    Those were my thoughts when VW announced they’d be selling rebadged Chrysler minivans under a strange name.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’ve said since they hired Nardelli that the strategy must be to turn Chrsyler into a distributor/retailer rather than a manufacturer. Pick stuff from a bunch of vendors to sell in the stores. Maybe they will even change the company color to Orange … yuck.

    Full sized pickup trucks are not going away … but the market doesn’t really need five manufacturers and six brands. Soon Nissan will drop out and reduce the manufacturer count to four, but the market would do just fine with only two. Heck, there are only two companies in the entire world making large commercial aircraft.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    Isn’t Chrysler already K-Mart? The Current Sebring/Avenger are based off of a Mitsubishi chassis. The 300/Charger/Challenger(?) are based off of an old Mercedes chassis. I’m pretty sure the Caliber is based off of some dumpster out behind the Chrysler design studio.

    Chrysler would be smart to get the platforms from Nissan (which are already shared with Renault.) Many consider Nissan’s mid-size platform to be the best in the industry (unlike Mitsubishi’s), so given a good foundation, Chrysler can work on the rest of the car. Nobody would confuse the Laguna and Altima, so I’d hold out hope Chrysler can come up with a distinctive product that is competitive.

    Let’s just hope they’re not planning on pulling another Routan.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    The U.S. has big farms, wide roads, and long distances so I don’t expect us to start buying the tiny trucks used in Asia and Europe but isn’t there a market for a truck with a reasonable size engine, low bed, and drop down sides for easy loading and unloading?

    Most pick ups here in Phoenix drive around empty while the owners brag about their ground clearance, towing capacity, and torgue but seldom use/need these features.

  • avatar
    Rix

    There are plenty of farmers, tradesmen and highway departments that will continue to need trucks. Your state DOT will not start buying focuses. Also, the farm belt, which is avid pickup country, is doing incredibly. I read a story in the paper about a soybean farmer in missouri today. I pulled up excel and google and he is pulling in $22 million gross. Even if his costs are high, he can afford a new F-150 if he wants. Or a Bugatti Veyron, for that matter.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    There is one problem with the “new” uses for pickups in America. First, it is really the old use, in times of old trucks were the most un-glamorous part of the car business. The work truck was all there was. This means, if we are going back to the future the majority of new trucks will be the base (read low profit) models. Tradesmen and corporations are usually doing nasty things with their trucks like getting them all banged and beaten up on job sites and doing messy hauling. These buyers will aways check off the rubber floor mats, plastic seat covers, no up graded sound system etc. Thus the truck will now only earn about what a smaller car will make another huge transition (read kick in the groin) for Detroit. It is the low margin truck sales that are going to be left that will give Detroit ulcers.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t have much faith that Cerberus’ plan is going to ultimately succeed, but the logic behind it is nonetheless pretty good.

    If you want to understand Cerberus’ perspective, you have to look at this as a private equity operator would and not as other car companies would measure it.

    Their goal is to lower their costs so much that even a moderate level of vehicles sales can generate a profit. If successful, this outsourcing concept should lower their break even point considerably. If it works, there would be no need to beat the Camry or Accord or even the Altima, but just to sell enough cars at a high enough price to generate a return.

    You also have to understand that Cerberus pretty much picked up Chrysler for free. The purchase price didn’t really go into Daimler’s pockets, but stayed in the company to be ultimately used as working capital.

    In essence, Cerberus assumed the liabilities and the cost of future operations, but got into the deal on the cheap. This means that they don’t need to earn that much in order to make it a profitable venture for the investors, just so long as they can control the burn rate.

    It’s not entirely a bad idea, but I suspect that their plan does not allow for enough time for this to happen, and fails to recognize the risks of putting the company’s product quality into the hands of competitors. One of those things that looks great on paper, but in practice is probably going to be tough to implement.

  • avatar
    OTTO SALES

    Trucks should /will always be a part of our HAULING culture.The manufacture that produces a real “mid size” about the old Dakota/T100 size will get the biz.Pulling a boat will change.I have the need of truck and a car.Today I own both.The farmer next to my parents house in the 60’s drilled it into my head the truck is used to haul loads.It lasts longer if you used exclusively for a purpose..When we were hauling US we drove a car.Still makes sense.
    Hyundai has some neat trucks as concepts and manufactured units for the rest of the world.It amazes me that we are so blind and smug not to look around the world and consider other options.
    Ex Ford produces a Hd regular cab short box powered by in-line diesel 6.WOW !SA only.The engine appears to be a Cummins.
    Bigger is not always better.The automobile started in Europe where the cost of energy was always a consideration.Empty 3/4 ton trucks driven by tradesmen on the way to fishing and watering holes is history! Or is it?Trucks that suck are in transition.How about this concept?Pay some one to deliver that sheetrock..in Europe has small/mid size diesels with cab overs like the Old Jeep FC 150/170.Flatbeds that carry a 10 ft load.Hm-mm is this the new Nissan truck coming? Bet- cha it is!
    Thanks again…
    Otto Sales

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    pch101 You think the cerebrus plan was good because chrysler was cheap. Yes, it was cheap for a good reason, it was losing billions and more red ink was on the horizon. In the car business you can either make or lose huge amounts of money. Plus, you must constantly invest huge amounts for future products. The chrysler soon to be introduced new model backlog was packed with trucks & suv’s.The one car that could have helped, the new Sebring was a flop. Mercedes knew they were billions and years away from designing an entirely new product cycle which chrysler needed and still does now. Chrysler was not the first business given away by the seller to stop future and certain losses. It won’t be the last.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    In the car business you can either make or lose huge amounts of money. Plus, you must constantly invest huge amounts for future products.

    That’s the entire point: Cerberus is trying to outsource those functions so that it doesn’t have to carry their costs. Less cost –> lower break even point and less risk (at least in theory.)

    Mercedes knew they were billions and years away from designing an entirely new product cycle which chrysler needed and still does now.

    Again, that’s the impetus to outsource.

    Before they acquired it, I have little doubt that Cerberus had a general idea that the car lines should be pared down or scrapped entirely, and that the focus should be on trucks, because they are better at making those.

    Nissan is a logical partner for large trucks, because Nissan wants to have a truck in their lineup but has had real trouble in building a satisfactory version of their own.

    I see many problems with the Cerberus plan, but those problems are not on the cost side of the equation. Ultimately, they still have serious revenue and branding issues, plus they are entrusting core products to outsiders who have less incentive to care about the outcome than Cerberus does.

    If I was advising Cerberus, I don’t think that I’d recommend putting their fate into the hands of Chery, Tata or another company, particularly a company without a US presence that might have an incentive to screw up their end of the bargain just enough to lower the sales price of Chrysler when it comes to sell.

    With a product swap, Nissan has more incentives to make a deal work. The Indians and Chinese may not have the same motivations to make it work for both parties. This one is a crap shoot.

  • avatar
    Ptrott

    This whole Chrysler fiasco makes me ill. I am a HUGE mopar fan and am quite loyal. It pains me to see american companies so poorly managed year after year and to be the butt of many jokes. Daimler did NOTHING to improve Chrysler, much less grow it. I believe in american know how, but only when the americans in charge have the guts to tackle the problems and to build an AMERICAN company that is truely world class. Chrysler could be the domestic version of Honda if those in charge would see this as more than just another “deal” and see it as a resurgence in american manufacturing and engineering prowess. Why dont americans believe in america anymore?

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Frank Williams

    Those were my thoughts when VW announced they’d be selling rebadged Chrysler minivans under a strange name.

    That doesn’t make much sense either.

    Ptrott

    Why dont americans believe in america anymore?

    We do. I’d rather have an ipod than whatever it is Sony makes to compete with ipod. Apple knows it’s about the product. Detroit just doesn’t get that.

    For anyone

    How bad is the Titan? Can it really be worse than the Ram?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Dynamic88–

    Have you driven the 2009 Ram?

    Don’t bash it as 3rd rate if you haven’t.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The Titan is actually very good. Nissan should’ve made a regular cab version. That’s why sales are so low. There’s also no HD version and no engine choices.

  • avatar

    Katie is so right on Oil supply, we here in Canada ie Province of Alberta have lots of Oil in the Tar sands, the only thing Alberta will be building a Nuclear Power plant to extract the Oil from the Sand, thats why its expensive and costs just seem to be heading up every day, the amount of Oil in the Tar sands almost equals what is available in the Middle East, we also have Oil being drilled off our Eastern Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, this is good income for this area finally after being a have not Province for many years after the Fishery ran out of Fish.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I see some possible synergy between Nissan/Chrysler. The Chrysler brand could be eliminated all together as it would be superfluous with Nissan and Infinity. However, Dodge could continue to exist making full-sized work trucks and cheap entry-level cars destined for fleet sales (while not degrading the Nissan label). Jeep could obviously be a major global brand under Nissan management. Then there is the Chrysler dealer network, which made huge advancements under Daimler’s ownership as it tried to take Chrysler “upmarket” while bringing all its brands under one roof. This could greatly expand Nissan’s sales territory, especially in the Midwest and rural areas where Chrysler has had a long term presence but Nissan dealerships are practically non-existent.

  • avatar
    capeplates

    With Nissans record how can they ever consider any deal with a company thats dead on it’s feet – the Japanese are usually quite astute so they must know something the rest of us dont

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    iNeon :
    August 9th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Dynamic88–

    Have you driven the 2009 Ram?

    Don’t bash it as 3rd rate if you haven’t.

    No, I havn’t driven the ’09. ’06 is the latest I’ve driven.

    Is the ’09 really a quantum leap forward, compared to the ’06?

    davey49 :
    August 9th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    The Titan is actually very good. Nissan should’ve made a regular cab version. That’s why sales are so low. There’s also no HD version and no engine choices.

    Thanks for the info. That makes sense – lack of choices.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    There will always be a market for trucks, but that doesn’t mean the deal made any sense for Nissan. The biggest market for trucks is going to be rural areas, which is exactly where Nissan is not. Nissan dealers are largely in urban areas and city dwellers are largely not going to need large trucks/SUVs. There will still be people who need them in the city, but there isn’t a huge market for them. Those who own boats or do a lot of hauling in urban areas will now only use their truck for it’s intended purpose and not as daily drivers. So, they will purchase them less often because they use them maybe once a week. Those that purchased trucks or SUVs but don’t really use them for hauling things will be few and far between.

    If Nissan do expand to rural areas, it might make sense. But they will be attending that party long after Toyota and Honda have already arrived.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    I’d rather deal with a Nissan dealership than a Dodge dealership any day of the week. For that reason I’d stick with a “real” Nissan. Will the re-badged Nissans be sold at the usual Mopar Firesale discount ?

  • avatar
    07Frontier

    Took the Frontier in last week for scheduled maintenance. I saw one retail customer being helped, and about eight more salesmen just milling about. I know one hour on a Thursday afternoon is not very representative, but business was the slowest that I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine what it was like for the Det2.8, especially Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Orian

    If oil doesn’t drop significantly, truck sales will crater even farther than they already have.

    Poser trucks shouldn’t exist – if you haul stuff at least twice per week for a living, then yes, a truck is a need. With prices still well over $3.50 a gallon and not likely to go much lower again I can see the US finally starting to downsize. We’ve lived in this “supersize” everything mantra for too long now in every aspect of our lives.

    And the Titan is a far better truck then the Ram. Nissan would be better off adding more options to the Titan than rebadging a Ram. Look at what happened when Mitsu rebadged a Dakota!

  • avatar
    westhighgoalie

    If Nissan buys Jeep, they could keep the models but give them far better fuel efficiency, Imagine a wrangler that got 24 or 25 mpg high way or maybe a Grand Cherokee that could do that. Maybe they could shave weight off of the wrangler and possibly get it to high 30 mpg.

    Chrysler has no drive to improve fuel economy on jeep (they think people get a jeep because its a jeep, not cause of gas, and they are right) But imagine all of the people that would flok to the brand if their fuel economy got better.

    Off road pedigree and 24 mpg… YES PLEASE!

  • avatar
    theraff

    Could it be that Chrysler won’t merely be selling RAMS to Nissan?…perhaps Chrysler will be Selling NISSANS to Nissan…Nissan Trucks. Look it as Contract Manufacturing. They get design and Content from Nissan to Revive a DEAD Pasenger Car line…Nissan gets Inexpensive and ready Production Capacity WITHOUT exposure to the remainder of Chrysler’s Problems.

    With some discipline and focus on the parts of both “Partners” this is a good strategy that boosts Chrysler’s Survival Chances, and Provides Nissan with an answer to expand profit and keep Trucks in their lineup.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Why would Nissan team up with the festering butthole known as Chrysler? Times must be REALLY ‘ruff to stoop this low.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    A complete agony of Chrysler. If Companys own platforms represent their muscles, then Chrysler won`t be even saved by a gastric bypass. No matter how you downsize your body fat, it doesn`t increase muscles. You just dwarf yourself. Chrysler represents American dream, where noone needs to toil hard work of creation, where you can excel at cheating your lives away by slapping small emblems of your fathers sweat on transplants achievements. Asians wipe you out , organ by organ, every single obsolete platform or engine you have, one by one, every single precision mechanism. Along goes the expertize. Your abilities, that you built up in your gyms of R&D are depleted faster than ice cap of Kilimanjaro. All you do is murmur under your chins, makes sense , makes sense. How come it has never made sense for Toyota? for bimmers, for honda? You become a nation of kmart, where you get generic brands and dive into cancer of consumerism being pipefed by chinese 3bn a day cash infusion to make your high cholesterol economy running. Would Nissan be that stupid to make alliances with a company that has no meanigful platforms , and is bleeding its tired heart out? Wake up Nissan, since when an alliance with any American manufacturing company would have been beneficial for both parties? Common!

  • avatar

    Mr LaSorda said today that Chrysler would putting a lot of money into a Michigan plant to make a new vehicle to be sold under the Jeep name plate, interesting times isn’t it and some of us thought that Chrysler was on death’s door!?

  • avatar
    OTTO SALES

    Most/many prefer not to drive ‘PASSENGER CARS”
    Most buyers say they want to drive a TRUCK/HAULER
    of some sort..carrying more than drivers butt..
    Smart cars (type) should be the answer..but they are not.The manufactures responded by building at least one of everything.We got the cars we deserved /asked for.Jeep was the answer(Scouts died)Blazer was right on!Who wanted a full size Ram-charger?or Bronco?Suburbans were right,Excursions were wrong.Want wood grained sides on a wagon buy the Buick!Every division had to have its own.Division? Got to love that word!GM had Division!What is wrong with buyers who want Brand X ?,and want it built like and by the other guys?Want a Dodge buy a Dodge and shut up!Want a Nissan buy it!Re-badges do not work EVER!
    Imitations with a different name.
    Fantasy…

  • avatar
    Robert N

    And BBDO Detroit isn’t helping matters.

    ha!

  • avatar
    Robert N

    Joe and blow.

    Hey, that rhymes!


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