Chrysler has always held a special place in TTAC’s chronicling of Detroit’s decline, enjoying a bespoke “Suicide Watch” in contrast to our Ford and GM “Deathwatches.” In the first entry in that series Frank Williams wrote of a gutted firm, dependent on incentives and flagging truck sales, seemingly doomed to drag its foreign partner into bankruptcy. Four years and countless opportunities for death with (some) dignity later, Chrysler presents much the same picture. Sure, it’s been rinsed of debts and excess capacity in bankruptcy court, but the Pentastar’s brands are still fundamentally damaged from years of self-abuse and the firm is struggling (and failing) to improve on last year’s sales numbers, which were recorded en route to said bankruptcy. Inventory may be under control, but Frank’s four-year-old assessment of an investor warning by JP Morgan could have been written yesterday [with “DCX” replaced by “Fiat”]:
JP Morgan remains convinced that management patience towards Chrysler has “worn thin and increases the likelihood that DCX will reduce exposure to Chrysler.” It’s the investment community’s equivalent of yelling “jump!” to someone standing on a ledge.
In fact, analysts from London’s Bernstein Research wrote nearly the exact same line yesterday. Chrysler has officially shuffled back onto the ledge, and once again the analysts are shouting “Jump!”