By on November 27, 2009

The day the music died? (courtesy:lotpro.com)

It’s heartbreaking. To see a major company that literally carried a healthy portion of America’s heartland go up in Euro-flames. I remember the beauty of it. The 1990′s minivans that completely obliterated their competition. LH sedans that were state of the art for their time. Cloud cars that had more power and road feel than their American brethren. Neons that were so good that even Toyota was jealous. Believe it or not, I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there. But to get it out…

You need a reality check. Chrysler has been lead by idiots for 10 years now. The few successes of modern times have been so limited, that not even the word Limited means anything at Chrysler anymore. Limited. As in a last gasp of breath before the good night. We all have discussed what’s worth saving (Jeep, Ram, and the Vans). But how about the memories? What cars will be the halo for Chrysler’s journey to the automotive afterlife.

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50 Comments on “Hammer Time: Bye-Bye Miss Minivan Pie...”


  • avatar
    86er

    I sympathize with your position Steven.  I know they built a good truck in the one I’m currently driving, so I know they can do it if they want to. 

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’ll give on the Neon and PT that were, until the Focus came out, pretty good for a domestic compact.  The Cloud and LH cars, though, nice as they were had serious reliability problems for a good chunk of their existence.
     
    What is a shame is that, towards the end of the pre-Daimler era, most of this was straightened out.  Chrysler had made some of the steps that Ford would take soon after: they’d dramatically improved quality and had set up a pretty good warranty process.  You could, within reason, buy a late-run LH, minivan and/or PT Cruiser and get a car that was actually pretty reliable (though the Neon’s interior was pretty bad).  Then Daimler just wrecked the whole thing.
     
    The zenith was the PT Cruiser.  It’s a pity that enthusiasts seem to hate it, but it rode well, was fun to drive (for the class), had great space for people and stuff, versatile seating and a unique look. To top it off, it was probably the first domestic car in a very long time that Consumer Reports recommended.  I would have bought one but for the dealer gouging at the time.  It was all downhill after that.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      The PT was fun to drive??!!? Not compared to the contemporaneous Focus wagon, or even the Vibe GT/Matrix XRS. Unless you mean comical to drive…I must admit that that one I had to rent for 2 weeks after I crashed my own car had me smiling.  

  • avatar

    Over the last 26 years Chrysler has sold over 12 million minivans. If nothing-else, there are many millions of people who will always remember spending their childhood riding around in the back of these.

  • avatar

    While I hope they survive, I wonder how much of this is based in reality.  Yes, they can build good vehicles as the Ram seems to be done well.  But even their hits are misses. 
    When the PT Cruiser came out, I liked it; maybe because it was different, but still.  But I’ve driven them and they have not been competetive in a while, if ever.  Even if their reliability is good, the car itself was mediocre.  It drove poorly, felt cheap, and Chrysler used the government classification to saddle it with an inefficient truck-ish engine.  Then, aside from (not-so-)special editions, the only change I know if are the different headlights and tail lights. 

    The 300 shows they have the potential, but then to do almost nothing to improve it?  If they’ve made any significant changes, I don’t know of them.  Here’s a design they knocked out of the park, and then just let it wither (again, except for special editions) while they focused on other things.   Both of these vehicles show the potential, and at the same time, they show the reality. 

    I hope Fiat can improve the culture and leadership of the company and improve the reliability, quality and vision of their cars.  But even if they do, it will be a while before I even consider a Chrysler.  (Even though the Journey would definitely fit our needs, it’s not even on my list of cars to look at.) 

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Steven: wasn’t the first paragraph before the jump a quote by someone else  ? [and not a flame: Hammer Time is one of my favorite columns on TTAC ]

    It’s the part about the Neons and “Toyota being jealous” that jogged my memory. Seems like I have read that claim somewhere. Was it ever even close to being true?
    It seems that a paragraph was left out.

    What you said after the jump is so true [and reads more like your style]. 10 years a long decline.

    The 300 will be remembered. The PT. Cab Forward, and of course the 50s and 60s fin and muscle era cars will all be part of that legacy.

    I don’t know that any Fiat platformed product from Chrysler will have even the road prescence of the current 300, much less be a halo car for them.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there.”
    How many talented people are actually still on the payroll after Daimler’s reign of terror and Cerburus’ slash and burn through the workforce?

  • avatar
    oldowl

    We enjoyed our LH, “cab forward,” Dodge Intrepid. Agile for a large car. Interior was on the cheapo side, but that doesn’t matter much when you’re on the road. It held up OK, and we sold it to a private party for a reasonable amount. No regrets.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Same here, but a Concorde.  Great driver.  Good power, reasonable milage, and I never once had to do anything but regular maintenance.  The only thing that went badly was the cheap airbag cover on the passenger side.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Recall fondly the van driven by an air-headed dame with a cell phone clamped to her head and a herd of mini-humans squawking behind her as she semi-drove with a minute amount of her mind focused upon the driving task requiring all around her to make allowances for her lack of attention and/or innate driving ability to prevent collisions while traffic, in general, is slowed by 48 percent and because of the broad’s ineffective driving that left-turn-lanes controlled by stop lights would have perhaps 3 vehicles pass through vice the possible 10 or 12 due to the sloooooow reactions of the mini-van controlled female?

  • avatar
    dastanley

    Such wasted talent.  Chrysler really had their sh!t together until Daimler sucked it dry.  However, for me, I’ll always remember Dodge/Chrysler by their 60s/early 70s muscle cars.  I almost, ALMOST, bought a Neon a few years back as a second car/commuter, and then thought better of it and got a Corolla.  I’d probably enjoy the Neon more - the Corolla’s as exciting as a wet dishrag, though reliable.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Well he did ask about Chrysler memories.  My only memory of a Chrysler product is from back in college when I worked for the campus maintenance department while going to school.  We had a first generation Dakota that they purchased for (mostly) a trash hauling truck.  It was a 2wd standard cab, long bed model.  Fairly basic truck, V6 automatic, and a ton of fun.  The cab was a bit cramped (I’m 5’11″ and found the leg room lacking) but god that thing would fly, I can only imagine how much fun the V8 beasts were!  A group of college kids beat the hell out of that thing running all over campus and town, sliding around in the snow, but it took the abuse.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I will avoid anything engineered during the Daimler era.  I’ve owned several Chrysler products from the 80s and 90s.  The worst was probably a 95 Stratus with the Mitsubishi 2.5 V6 engine.  The best was an 85 Lebaron GTS with the durable 2.2 and a rubbery 5-speed.  I still think my 96 and 98 minivans were/are exceptional values if bought used.
    The current generation of Chrysler minivans  have absolutely no character.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I own a 1986 K Car for use as my commuter wagon. For a 23 year old car which I do not look after, it has started every day I have used, rain, frost and cold. There are numerous niggles which I can’t be bothered to fix and it still keeps driving. And to cap it all I was involved in a small accident the other month where I avoided a pedestrian only to run into a Merc CLK – and the score was K Car 1 – Mercedes 0.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Chrysler memories? I gotcher Chrysler memories, right here…

    1976 Dodge full size van. 360 v-8, purchased new, dealer maintained 95% highway miles. Never anything heavier than kids, groceries, and my dirtbike.  After 65K, it had about no compression and the blue smoke looked like a trail of Marge Simpson’s hair.
     The dealer said “whaddya think, it’s gonna last forever?”.
    Yeah. That was the last domestic my parents ever bought as the Toyota Corolla wagon purchased at the same time as the van had already logged over 100K trouble free miles.
    Minivans? Total POS. Good thing they came with 10/100 warranties, because of the 5 people I know who actually bought one, every single one needed a new transmission at 70K miles. Every. Single. One.
    K-Cars? Ridiculously priced. ‘For 10K you can get a K-car, or for 8K you can get a better equipped Honda. The Honda will be here for the next 250K, maybe the K will do 50 before the first major repair.’
    Don’t get me wrong, the 300 was visually interesting when it dropped, the Viper is a fun toy, and I’m just weird enough t0 like the Atlantic-aspirational looks of the Crossfire. The Neon could been something.
    To my eye Chrysler always had the best looking stuff of the D3, but the build quality was the lowest of the low.   

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      Did any Honda compete on size and price with the K-cars? The Accord always seemed smaller.
      Plus the major repair that the K supposedly needed at 50K would cost less to fix than the typical 60-100K maintenance that a Honda needed (ie, waterpump. timing belt, valve adjustment) and if you didn’t do the maintenance on the Honda and the belt broke it was goodbye engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Davey, I can’t speak to every Accord model, but my 83 Accord threw the timing belt around 100k, and one belt and water pump later it was up and running.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The LH sedans, the cloud cars and the Neon were great new, awful to own. Reliability was below the toilet as transmissions blew, engines croaked and head gaskets leaked
    At least that’s what I could gather from reading CR at the time
    Not sure if GM or Ford were any better but I don’t hear so many horrific stories about the Taurus or Lumina

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “I still think the talent base of Chrysler is there. But to get it out…”  I remember reading that quote some months ago and thinking that it probably represented a combination of willful denial and wishful thinking …
    As things spun out of control last year, I had had an argument with a swiss colleague of mine regarding the possibility of Chrysler successfully restructuring itself.
    My colleague believed because Chrysler had the experience of coming back from the dead before, that it would be able to do it again (vs. GM which had not been faced with such an existential crisis before) … I didn’t agree.
    My counter argument was that Chrysler had had the experience, but the experience gained was not totally transportable nor of indefinite shelf-life, because over the last 30 years, a lot of that experienced talent died, retired, moved-on, and among the senior Chrysler management team, there was no one who had held even a lower-level management position in 1980.  So of all that experience gained, little of it directly was directly acquired by the people currently in places of power, so all that really remained were the lessons of the case-studies and memoirs.
    And finally, during that discussion, I also argued that neither corporation would survive without wholesale changes in the management team, because it is a rare case that the management which leads a company to disaster will be able to steer the company out of it.
    No doubt that there are still dedicated and talented people in Auburn Hills, and with the new A-team taking over the halls of management, I have a much better feeling that Chrysler will have some hope.  I wish them well and hope that the economy, market and free cash flow all go Chrysler’s way.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Ah, those were the years.
     
    I thought as well Chrysler was THE design leader, and this from a Ford guy.
    From the “Cab Foward” to the fun to drive Neons, the early Cherokee and Liberty and then the 300 series.

    But they went numb.
    Jeep and Dodge all became square boxes…and Macho became their image.
    The Nitro.
    The Liberty box.
    The Commander.
    Even the Grand Cherokee became a nothing special to own box.
    And it WAS the luxury SUV to have, for years.

    And there went the female buyers.
    There was no more special image to Chrysler…except macho.

    I hope they saty alive…just to pay back my money.

  • avatar
    1169hp

      Help! I’m totally serious here.  What the Hell is a cloud car.  At first I thought you meant clown car, which would be entirely appropriate when referring to most Mopars.  However, I’ve seen this term (cloud car) used multiple times so I guess this is a legitimate reference to something.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What the Hell is a cloud car.
     
    Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge Stratus, Plymouth Breeze (yeah, they broke the similie on that one, but “Cumulonimbus” or “Nimbus” are portentous names).

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    @davey49,

    Guess it depends on how you define ‘compete’.  I don’t remember the exact measurements, but pretty sure the K-car 2/4door were larger than contemporary Accords.  And yes, a T-belt failure will cost ya.

    But, do you remember test driving a new K-car? The clunky doors, the squeaks and rattles the salesmonkey didn’t think mattered, the horrible interior, the misaligned body panels with gaps that you could slide Kate Moss through? Couldja even find one that had a 5 speed manual?  The paint that looked like it was put on with an oxtail brush? The horrible dealer experience?

    The early 80s was probably the last opportunity that the D3 had to win the hearts and minds of a generation.  The only definition of compete that matters is which car the consumer buys.  

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      I was 15 when the K-car came out, I’ve never driven one, maybe sat in one once or twice.
      I liked the Accord a lot better personally but I knew a lot of people back then who wanted an American car. Figure the K-cars were better than the X-cars and the Tempo/Topaz
      Even back then no one was looking for a manual transmission anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      It was a K-car that got us started buying Honda Accords. We drove a 1980 4-door with 4-speed, and thought it drove okay. Then my wife said, “Can we try that burgundy Honda Accord?” It was a 5-speed 4-door. Well, it was no contest; we bought the Accord. It was the first of five, and we’re still driving the 1999.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Not too long ago I saw an extremely well preserved early LHS and my first thought was dang, that is a really nice car, and the design doesn’t look all that dated — certainly not 17 years old.  It’s more of a genuine full size sedan than much of what is billed as such these days, and it looks like it could be updated without making all the design mistakes of this decade, i.e. gun-slit windows, high beltlines, bloated dashes and consoles, and mail-slot decklids.

    OTOH, I think the 300 has the same problem as the ’48 Hudson.  It was a blockbuster feat of design and engineering when introduced, but it is not easy to facelift or update.  Now that everybody else has caught up to the 300, the best thing for Chrysler to do is pull out another clean sheet of paper and start over.  But do they have the talent and the bucks to do that?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I know taste is a personal thing, but I thought the C300 was a lousy design, and the only reason it seemed like a break-out design and sold so well is that all the other designs were worse … now that everybody has upped their game in the last several years, the C300 is out of contention.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Unfortunately I’m afraid that ChryCo’s swan song won’t be very pretty. Even their best offerings are only competitive, and not class leading.

    The Ram, outside of the 1500′s coil spring rear suspension, doesn’t really do anything any better than its competitors. Ford and GM are all over the large truck segment, and Toyota’s dangerously close to the right formula as well.

    The minivans, I think, have taken a step back. The later versions of the last generation vans were quite good, although a little more attention to interior materials would have helped. Reliability was good, style-wise they were good looking vans, and the Stow and Go feature was a knock out of the park that nobody else had. The new ones are boxy, their interiors are just as cheaply done, and they just don’t seem to be as innovative as Chrysler vans of the past.

    Pretty much everything else from Chrysler that’s supposed to sell in any kind of volume is, at best, a disappointment. The 300/Charger that were breakthrough cars 4 years ago have been left to wither with few or no updates. On the exterior they now look somewhat dated and stale, and their interiors were never good to begin with. The Caliber is a joke, the PT Cruiser was okay a few years ago and ancient today, and the Sebring/Avenger are just crap. These are the cars that should be selling in volumes, and they’re just not good enough. Chrysler’s going into the abyss because they didn’t aparrently see a need to make class leading compact and midsize cars. It’s a shame, because they seemed to be on track in the ’90s, and then they just faded.

    Oh well, just write the obituary and bury ‘em. The quicker they’re out of the way, the sooner the other automakers out there can scoop up the potential sales and get back to making profits.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Yes, this latest write-up is a…. welll….
    This is NOT Edward’s fault. I had thought this one was still in the proverbial hopper. With all the dire predictions I’m hearing about Chrysler at the auctions these days, I thought that this subject was still unchartered ground for the HT columns. Doh! I guess this is what happens when you truly have too much turkey in multiple sittings.
    I have a fresh order of Lincoln Mafia Cars, along with a side of Black Friday and something else (maybe a write-up on my auto auction work) on bat for next week. Or maybe tomorrow. How does 8:00 A.M. Saturday sound?
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Sounds beautiful, and I’m saving up for a “mafia staff car,” make mine a dark color, leather interior, and I’d prefer the dual exhaust models, cause I’m gonna put Flowmasters and chrome tips on it anyway.  Besides I don’t remember these memories being shared before.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    “Neons that were so good that even Toyota was jealous.”
    Please back up this statement with some kind, ANY kind, of reference.

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      I don’t know if “good” was the right word but the Neon had a sporting quality that the young people liked and helped drive sales and gave it good “word of mouth”
      Toyota has never gotten the “youth vote”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I still think the Neon is a great looking little car.  But no, I wouldn’t take a chance on one.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      In terms of quality, there’s probably no question a Neon was never as good as a competing Toyota product. However, in terms of ‘fun’, a Neon (particularly the 2-door) was eminently more tossable and enjoyable than a drab (but reliable) Corolla.

      The same cannot be said of the Caliber, which is about as fun and tossable as a small Abrahams tank (with a cheap, hard-plastic interior that’s about as inviting, to boot).

      Without the fun quotient, and lacking Toyota quality and the Neon’s softer, more palatable appearance, it’s no wonder that the Caliber has, from its inception, been one of the poorest selling models in its class.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    My parents bought an ’86 Caravan in silver with red stripes across the rockers when I was 2 years-old. I’ll always have pleasant memories of the maroon violin case interior, the rear vent windows that opened by cranking knobs above the driver and front passenger’s head, and the time I was dismissed from school early because the van had blown a rad house and was smoking and leaking coolant all over the parking lot of the snobby private school my parents had enrolled me in.

    Like many, it blew its transmission before 70k miles, but to be fair, my dad occasionally used it as a work car – he transported shoe molds a few times with it, probably close to 1000 lbs of ‘em – and it made a several thousand mile trip from Montreal to Gaspe and back, with 4 adults, 2 kids, and a 2,000 lbs tent trailer. Not bad for a 2.6 that made maybe 115 hp coupled to a 3 speed. The only time I ever remember the engine giving trouble was the time the ignition conked out in a rain storm, but a bit of time spent with a hair dryer and WD-40 had it going again.

    I miss the simplicity of that van, and I always thought that those stacked quad sealed beams looked pretty sharp, especially with the Dodge grille. Sadly, I never got to drive the thing; I was 13 when they traded it in for a ’97 Voyager Rallye, which felt more anodyne, and was MUCH rustier at 10 years-old than the ’86 was when we got rid of it. The ’86 probably never could have hit 110 MPH like the ’97 did, though – the mandated 85 MPH speedometer was probably pretty realistic in that car.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    The PT Cruiser is a piece of junk.  They (who killed Kenny) could kill the Chrysler name and just call it “Jeepramvan” … right? Right.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I would have figured that the 3 speed automatic vans would hold up well.
    I have a thought that often minivan transmission failures are partially the owners fault. They drive around towns/cities loaded with people in OD gear, lugging around at 30-40 mph in top gear. Excess weight+lugging+compact/cramped  FWD transmissions=excess heat=failures

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Man, this is a ” let them rot in hell but I sure had fun growing up in minivans,PT Cruiser rocks,no it sucks,Neon was good,no it was crap,” kind of day.
     

  • avatar

    Dodge Caravans.  I owned three of ‘em.  Ran each one well over 100K miles.   Best feature, each child got it’s own seat.  Made long family trips much more fun.   But I also remember the head gasket job on one of them, the timing belt that broke stranding me 400 miles from home,  and the massive oil consumption (2 quarts for every tank of gas) on the last one as it got older.
    And the Intrepid the the V8.  Fun to drive plus.  Too bad the V8 stopped running in the middle of Canada and required replacement.

  • avatar
    50merc

    “Cab Forward” was a styling gimmick with unfortunate consequences.  Chrysler’s ad slogan should have been “The wheels take up the space your feet need!”
     
    At introduction the build quality and reliability of the K-cars were awful, but the second generation (Dodge Spirit, et al) were cheap and comfortable transportation, and in my experience the four-banger and automatic were long-lasting albeit rather agricultural. To keep the factories running Chrysler got into the “program car” biz that made one or two year old cars really cheap to buy.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    Good memories of Chrysler products? Well, lessee here: the ’70 Dart—slant six, automatic, yellow, tan interior—my folks traded in when I was two years old (yes, I remember it, and not just from photos); the ’72 Dart—slant six, automatic, yellow, green interior—from which my grandfather walked away after running a red light and getting T-boned just ahead of the driver’s door by a speeder who knocked the car 30 feet down the road; the ’62 Lancer—aluminum slant six, pushbutton automatic, green/green—I found for my father when his ’84 Crapiece died, before I had a driving licence (I now have this car); the ’64 Valiant—running slant six, dead pushbutton automatic, beige—I bought for $350 and took apart; the ’65 Canadian Valiant (rebadged locally-built Dart)—slant six, automatic, metallic beige/beige—I bought out of Ontario from an ad in “Cars and Parts” shortly after getting my driving licence while living in Denver (I miss this car); the ’91 Acclaim—TBI 4-cylinder/automatic—that my mechanical-engineer grandfather abused viciously for about 200,000 nevertheless-reliable miles; the ’91 Spirit R/T that was fun to drive—blisteringly quick and stupid-fast with its big turbocharger, Lotus DOHC cylinder head, Getrag 5-speed, etc.—but no fun to keep running since it was barely not a prototype and costly parts tended to break; the ’92 LeBaron sedan—TBI 4-cylinder/automatic—which I bought off my mother for $1200 with 120k miles, threw $900 worth of brakes and exhaust on, and drove 45,000 cheap, reliable miles before selling it for $2400; the ’89 Ram pickup—318/auto—that did its job with competence and without complaint; the ’71 Dart—slant six, automatic—I bought for $600, spent multiple thousands of dollars refurbishing, and sold for $2700; and the ’73 Dart—slant six, automatic, A/C, power discs, power steering, vinyl top, deluxe little lights everywhere, and 46K original miles—that is parked in my driveway right this minute.

  • avatar
    George B

    Most of my Chrysler memories are as a passenger in their larger products.  Had a boss who was a terrible driver.  I’d pick the left rear passenger seat in his Dodge Intrepid to maximize crush space for when he made crazy left turns across heavy traffic.  A coworker owns a Chrysler 300C.  Nice big car with enough room for 5 guys when we go out for lunch.  Both the Intrepid and the 300C were actually wide enough for 3 across seating in the back seat.
     

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    On behalf of the editorial team, I apologize for this inadvertent double posting.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I have a few Chrysler memories. In 1983 my dad brought home to my mom a 1980 Omni with a 4-speed manual.  Mom didn’t know how to drive a stick. After a while she learned. That Christmas my uncle had died and we had to travel to Ohio for a few days. On the way back to Michigan something went screwy with the transmission. Every time mom would try to push the car past sixty, the transmission would pop out of gear. It was just me and her in the car, and she was scared to death. A couple of months later dad traded it in for an ’82 Aires sedan. I thought the car suited our little family, but my dad hated it. It made a series of what my dad called “popping” noises that the dealer had no idea how to fix. That car stayed with us for eight months until it was traded for the new Buick that would eventually become my first car. Fast forward a few years to 1989, we had moved to Florida and my dad decided to trade his F-150 in on an ’88 Dynasty LE. Now that was a nice car in it’s day! I LOVED that car. It felt so upscale, and the Infinity stereo sounded incredible.
     
    Were any of those cars perfect? No, but I still have fond memories of them.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    F++k ‘em. They had their moment in the sun…they blew it…

  • avatar

    OK, I am calling total BS here.  Nothing Chrysler has made between about 1972 and 2005 has been worth crap.  People mistake fond memories of experiences with the cars they had during the experience.  The K-cars were utter crap compared to thier competition.  They were sold to buyers who would buy anything Mopar, just like the crap from GM was sold to die hard GM guys and the crap from Ford was sold to Ford people.  The LH cars were a vast improvement over thier predecessors, but compared to its competitors?  Crap.  The Neon???  Toyota was jealous of the Neon??  In what universe?  It was junk, the only benefit was low price.  The so-called “cloud cars”??  Total crap.  All those FWD pony cars of the 80s?  Sure, they could be fast, but they sucked.  Everything they made in the 80s and 90s fell apart.  Sure, the 80s were bad for everyone, but Chrysler was far from the top of the pile.  Utter crap, even in a decade of crap.  The PT Cruiser??  Sure it was a design revolution, I will give them that.  But reliable?  No, dont think so.  Same old crap, poor execution.

    Just read the comments… most everyone who owned a Chrysler product had major mechanical failures.  A few had decent ones, but I would most likely guess those people simply accepted component failures because of years of being conditioned that replacing transmissions is OK.

    Even thier new cars mostly suck.  The few hits they have are OK, but nothing is top of the heap.  The 300/Charger is a nice car, saddled with a crap interior.  Its benefit is styling and the big V8.  The G8 killed it in design and engineering, but it was too late.  There are no import competitors for the 300, thats why it succeeds.  The Jeep Wrangler will always sell as long as they dont totally screw it up, but we all know it could be better…. and once again doesnt really have any competitors.  The Grand Cherokee was OK, but cmon, not better than its competition.  But at least it isnt crap.  The new one though does look pretty nice in pictures, but its also a Mercedes in Jeep clothing.  What else do they have?  Caliber?  Crap.  Journey?  Nice idea, crappy execution as always.  All those dorky FWD Jeeps??  WTF??  The Avenger?  Now they were set up to have a solid mid-size partner for the Charger, people would have lined up.  And they offer us that crap-pile instead.  Thier minivans?  They were on top of the world for some reason, people ignored how crappy they were and loved them.  And they blew it, cant even stay on top of thier own mountain.  Its sad.  The Ram?  I guess they are OK, but everyone I know who owns one has to replace the tranny, although the rest of the truck seems to hold up well.  But why suffer?  You can get a Ford or Chevy that does the same things, looks almost as good, and doesnt need a tranny replaced!  Dodge guys buy Dodge, no matter how crappy they are, and thats who buys the Ram.

    Chrysler used to be great, back in the 50s, 60s.  They had style, they were classy, they were fast.  Since then, sure they had one or two winning designs.  Not a lot, but a couple.  The Viper was gutsy to make.  Too bad they never figured out how to build on it with lesser performance cars.  But everything they have produced since then was never as good as thier competition.  it may have been acceptable, decent, OK, good enough.  But better?  Never…


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