By on May 8, 2007

crowbar.jpgIn Greek mythology, Heracles performed twelve tasks set by King Eurystheus. Any one of these tasks would have finished off a mere mortal, but the dynamic demigod persisted, prevailed and finished the job. Of course, ol' Herc only had to do things like slay the Nemean Lion, kill the Stymphalian Birds, obtain the Girdle of Hippolyte and capture Cerberus the guardian dog of Hades (not to be confused with Cerberus the guardian dog of GMAC). I mean, it's not like he had to do something really hard, like save the Chrysler Group. That's the one task that could have turned our hero back into a zero. Just ask Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Chrysler Group, Tom LaSorda.

Last fall, DaimlerChrysler hit the wall. Sales of Chrysler's truck-heavy product portfolio were dead. The company was saddled with a surplus of over half a million vehicles Dealers were fed up, thanks to corporate "channel stuffing" (forcing dealers to take vehicles they didn't want and/or hadn't ordered) and other heavy-handed Chrysler mismanagement. And while the Mercedes-blessed 300 was a solid hit, DCX corporate development boss Ruediger Grube publicly stated he didn't want Chrysler polluting Mercedes by pursuing cross-brand platform sharing.  

During a fiscal year that ended-up dropping $1.4b, every management decision seemed ill-advised and inappropriate; carefully designed to push the Chrysler Group over the ledge. Ignoring his own management malpractice, DCX CEO Dieter Zetsche took a good hard look at his dazed and confused American patient and told LaSorda to sort it out. LaSorda was charged with preparing a recovery plan in time for DaimlerChrysler AG's Annual Press Conference on February 14, 2007.  

Although LaSorda inherited Chrysler's mess from his German overlords, our intrepid hero rolled up his sleeves and set about cleaning up DCX' Augean stables. LaSorda set a cost-cutting target: $1k per vehicle. Meanwhile, DCX finally came to their senses and dumped Joe Eberhardt (the man who alienated their entire dealer network). LaSorda added sales and marketing to his labors and set about devising a Hades exit strategy.

LaSorda developed a comprehensive Recovery and Transformation plan. It addressed Chrysler's key problems in seven different areas: product strategy, fixed costs, structural changes/manufacturing, material costs, revenue management, quality and capital management.  Chrysler's Main Man was set to announce the plan with a publicly stated goal: returning the Chrysler Group to profitability by 2008. And then…

Doktor Dieter used the same press conference to drop a bombshell: DCX was thinking about dumping Chrysler "exploring all options" concerning Chrysler's future. It didn't take a genius to figure out what Zetsche meant. Instead of "can we turn Chrysler Group around?" it's "who'll give us the most for this turkey?"  It was a stunning though perhaps inevitable betrayal of LaSorda's Herculean efforts.

Although LaSorda was told to press on, the rug-pulled-from-underfoot situation has taken its toll on Chrysler's mental health. Employee morale is at an all-time low. German stockholders are pushing for a quick sale. The Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) doesn't want them to sell. The United Auto Workers union (UAW) is covering all bases, from talking with potential buyers to considering bidding themselves. Bidding front-runner Magna is sucking up to the CAW and UAW, talking with them about unionizing the company's current operations. Executives are bailing out. Yet the show has to go on.

At this point, Tom LaSorda probably wishes he was facing the Lernaean Hydra. Still, he's made some genuine progress. He's cut production, eliminated the last vestiges of the infamous sales bank, introduced several new (if not exactly stellar) models, and announced a $3b construction program for drivetrain and engine plants. For April, Chrysler Group's sales rose two percent above last year, countering Mercedes' loss and keeping DCX on the positive side of the ledger. 

But LaSorda's labors are far from complete.

According to LaSorda's turnaround plan, Chrysler will eliminate/buy out 13k jobs. But even if the automaker finds the necessary cash and shoulders the ongoing legacy costs, it won't be enough. Chrysler needs concessions. With a change of ownership in the offing, it's a Sisyphean task. 

LaSorda's doing his best to keep Chrysler employees motivated amid the uncertainty. In an effort to shore up flagging morale, the exec sent an email to his employees all but begging them to keep their focus. "Let me be clear. We have a solid plan, but success depends on your active engagement. It is all about harnessing our energy to execute the Recovery and Transformation Plan." 

Given the overwhelming "sell" vibe coming from of the majority of the DCX board and German shareholders, LaSorda has to feel that he, like Hercules, is expected to accomplish his tasks unassisted. Hercules took twelve years to get ‘er done; LaSorda's expected to make Chrysler Group "solidly profitable" in two. If he does, it will be the stuff of legend.

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39 Comments on “Chrysler Suicide Watch 14: Tom LaSorda: From Zero to Hero and Back...”


  • avatar
    jolo

    Chrysler’s not going anywhere. They (DCX) can’t give it away and everyone who are bidding for it will back out once they look at the books closer. They are only doing all of this to increase stock prices and antagonize all their workers (salaried and hourly alike); this is a negotiation year. LaSorda is safe and he knows it. This is a business stunt that is part of a grander scheme. Stay tuned…

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    DCX (read German management) yanked the rug from under Mitsubishi.

    Didn’t those Germans ever hear the story about how a 3 legged stool is far more stable than 2 legged or 1 legged stool?

    Mercedes. Chrysler & Jeep. Mitsubishi.

    3 legs. One falters, the other two are there.

    Daimler Benz on it’s own is like a one legged stool, or to use another analogy, like a one legged man at an ass kicking contest.

    Let the Germans sell Chrysler. They’ll deserve what they get next.

  • avatar

    I still think Chrysler is “Toast” no matter how Tom L tries his hardest to turn it around, I also think if Magna does buy it, they will see there folly and try to sell it off again in pieces, a very dim future for all involved.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    it is a smart move by teutons to drop the gorgeous chrysler dead. you see what happens when you allow yankees to design a merc in alabama..a mega poor fit and finish m- klass( gen 95-2006), that almost destroyed long built german quality image.never ever allow americans to share your business with, for they will only take your hardware and give in return…. well, dealers lots, uhm, ads on internet… uhm…nothing. and chrysler has to make their own platforms if they want customers trust. you can`t build trust on previous gen merc chassis.and even 300 looking good, it has never ever even come close in quality to mercedes. it`s still american plastic feel inside. but looks like chrysler is not a car company at all, for i haven`t heard they would have created any new platforms. just another stealth move by grabbing mitsus old eclipse platform and rechryslering it with cheap all over interiors. this is how americans fake reliability- base cars on foreign platforms, or the parts that go wrong, replace with imported mitsu or merc parts, then add pure chrysler non- breakable plastic mirrors or carpets, and then shout out that our reliability skyrockets! i hate mercedes for it is so snobbish and boring, but i respect them for playing fair game- they use only merc engineered parts.there is nothing to respect chrysler for- they should study fair rules of manufacturing. ditto, the GM- an american revolution with not a single american engineer participating in it. you stupid idiots, you must not save money on each car, but invest more and make them more domestic. because the word DOMESTIC ( and discounted) was usually the only reason people bought your average cars .

  • avatar
    NickR

    Actually Mercedes’ quality has been poor for quite some time now, extending throughout their model range and regardless of where they are built. My C Class was the worst anyone I know ever owned, and if you look at Consumer Reports they are at the bottom of virtually every list that reflects reliability. That’s one of the reasons I was skeptical about the whole merger in the first place. Chrysler’s quality may have been lacking, but it was actually better than Mercedes. There really wasn’t a lot for the Pentastar to learn from the Germans…apart from perhaps an imperious, duplicitous management style. Oh yes, and appalling customer service.

    Chrysler didn’t bring anyone down.

    In any event, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about things turning around for Chrysler. I live close to Magna’s headquarters, and know people who work their. They run a good shop but their management style is inconsistent with a style that would be required to deal with the UAW. They are not nearly benign or patient enough.

    I can see Magna’s buying Chrysler as leading to the ultimate dissolution of the company.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Whoever declares bankruptcy first wins. Chrysler can’t declare as long as they are connected to DCX. GM has too much cash, Ford mortgaged the family jewels and has more cash but is smaller.

    Unless DCX can sell chrysler they are going to have to take it like a man

  • avatar
    windswords

    “long built german quality image”

    When it comes to Mercedes that’s an oxymoron.

    “you can`t build trust on previous gen merc chassis”

    We all been thru this before. It was never an “old merc chassis”. If you think so then try this little exercise. Take a 300C, put it on lift. Now take an old gen E class, put it on another lift. Now start taking off parts from the 300 and the E-class and start swapping them. Good luck, ’cause you won’t find any with the exception of the steering column that will swap. Tranny? Nope. Shocks? Nope. Exhaust? Nope. Gas tank? Nope. Engine cradle? Nope. Seat brackets? Nope. Floor pan? Nope. Driveshaft? Nope. Differential? Rear axel? I don’t know. But if they do swap, does that mean the 300 is an old E class? For a couple of parts?

    “just another stealth move by grabbing mitsus old eclipse platform…”

    If you are talking about the Caliber/Compass/Patriot and or the Sebring/Avenger they are built on revised CURRENT Mitsu Lancer platform, not an old Eclipse platform – and that was under orders by Daimler, not because Chrysler wanted it that way.

    “replace with imported mitsu or merc parts, then add pure chrysler non- breakable plastic mirrors or carpets, and then shout out that our reliability skyrockets!”

    Chrysler has consistently had better reliability overall with their own designs before the takeover than either Mitsu or Mercedes. Since Mercedes installed their version of “quality control” (and charged Chrysler for the “favor”) after the takeover, quality went down, not up. Now Chrysler is trying to get back to what they had before, empowered work teams based off the Toyota model to catch defects before they reach the customers.

  • avatar
    troonbop

    I was not please with my C class quality either. Laurel resting taking place.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I don’t think that Tom Lasorda is the same guy who used to manage the Dodgers.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Juris:

    The M-Class was not “designed by Yankees” in Alabama.

    First of all, Yankees? Southern men don’t need them around, anyhow…

    Secondly, the M-Class was designed in Stuttgart by Daimler-Benz and assembled in Alabama.

    The quality issues for the M-Class were centered on the poor (cost-driven) design, rushed into production to jump on the SUV bandwagen and the fact that they were making them in a new facility.

    Mercedes’ quality has been on a slide for some time. A couple fo reasons for this:

    1) They changed their design methods from designing the best car they could regardless of cost (W140 S-Class) to designing to a price point (W202 C-Class).

    2) Poured every advanced technology they could find into the cars, and quality suffered as a result (Brake-By-Wire).

    3) Lastly, they tried to be all things to all people. Mercedes were solid, conservative, autos designed to last ass long as you wanted to keep them.

    I know, I have a 1972 280SE 4.5.
    It’s a bank vault with skinny tires.

    Mainly, the problem with the “Merger of Equals” was that they never actually merged. The Daimler-Benz people looked down on Chrysler from Day One, and the Chrysler people knew it. There was no technology or platform sharing, and no parts commonality that may have resulted in cost efficiency. What they achieved was a company that, by virtue of having two “Headquarters”, two parts supply chains, two management structures, etc., was for all intents unmanageable.

    Jamie Kitman has a great article about this in the new issue of Automobile.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    All the beef about C classes… Electronics? Engine? Transmission? Other parts of drivetrain? I want to know because Mercedes introduce new bodies and engines separately, so you cannot always go by model year ranges.

    I just leased my wife a C230 (2.5L 24V engine and 7-speed automatic); I know the engine will be retired (at least in the USA) when the new 2008 comes out. Any reliability issues with this one? Please help me decide whether to buy it when the lease is over in 2 more years.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Yuppie….in a word ‘DON’T’. I don’t want to go off thread, contact me privately.

    Back to the subject at hand. If DCX does dispose of Chrysler, does anyone know how much unwinding has to be done? Not just in terms of component sharing, but even overhead like payroll systems, accounting systems, ERP, etc. That could cause a lot of logistical difficulties, taking time and energy away (again!) from building cars.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    @Yuppie: We’ve had the C230 and the SLK230 in our family, though never for more than two years. Never had any problems. There were some minor electrical problems with another C-Class back when it was first introduced. From my experience, cars tend to be be most reliable when they’re in their last years of the model cycle.

    @NickR: Recent reports claim that DCX wants to keep a minority in Chrysler and also keep some sort of partnership, probably including the points you mentioned.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    GS650G:
    Exactly.

    But Magna also has problems. If they buy Chrysler they risk all or part of their business with other auto makers.

    Trick is to buy it but put it under a holding company, force a strike and bye UAW. It has to be a separate legal entity from Magna.

    Word in Germany is that something may be announced this month, but you know how that goes.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    Juris,

    In the old days I drove nothing but Mercedes, then in the 90’s switched to BMW’s and now buy Japanese cars.

    Mercedes was a great company when it was ran by engineers, once they had to compete on price with Lexus and adopted American management thinking they started to go downhill.

    I’m not saying that a Lexus is a more desirable car that a big Mercedes, but Lexus did change Mercedes business for ever.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    RX-8 Guy:

    I’m from Pennsylvania, but couldn’t resist the punch line.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Yuppie:

    Your own ownership experience will tell you alot (although not everything) in 2 years. If you are having good results with the cars and you want to buy them then buy them. If you are having issues with them or they don’t being you joy anymore then turn them in.

    Ok back to the issue at hand. I don’t think Magna owning the majority or all of Chrysler has to impact on their business with other automakers. Delphi gets most of their business from GM and they were a GM company. But they compete for contracts with other makers. As long as Magna can show that can build quality and not breech any confidentiality agreements I don’t see this as being a problem. And what would be gained? Why risk a contract of hundreds of million or billions of dollars to steal an idea or technology for Chrysler? Seems that would be like cutting off your nose to spite you face. And may that the stuff Magna does is not anyway cutting edge or proprietary, i.e. just “widget maker”.

    Also, are we sure that Chrysler must be independent of Daimler or anyone else to declare BR? Do we have anyone who works in the legal field that could comment?

  • avatar
    rtz

    Why doesn’t Chrysler suggest a price to Kirk Kerkorian since they didn’t like the amount from his last offer? He has enough money and if he really wants it; he’ll do it.

  • avatar
    windswords

    rtz,

    I thnk that Daimler is still a little steamed about the lawsuit Cap’n Kirk filed against them. They don’t want to give him the satifaction of buying at any price.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    zarba- even if m-klass was designed in stuttgart, i will never ever believe that those feinsmeckers would ever allow to manufacture an SUV with huge fitting gaps between fenders and bumpers, headlights etc. with such non- durable materials as they did. i think american way of assembling is already criminal. i saw the oldsmobiles and pontiacs that were assembled so badly, that i have never ever seen the same cars being so poorly bolted together for europe. Also japanese toyota affords to put much cheaper materials for their american versions like solara or avalon, materials for european ones are a grade higher. why? ( your public has lower demands for material quality, most likely) what refers to sharing componenets with merc- the exact bolt on locations of merc e-klasse chassis coincide in mm with bolt on locations of chrysler 300 and dodge magnum.( there is no such thing as chrysler 300 floorpan.)chrysler`s is only exterior engines and tranny. and when i said eclipse platform- i meant dodge avenger, chrysler sebring.at least prev gen was.( the same is also underpinning the venerable mitsu 3000 gt). german quality of course is winding downwards, just check who is working in their factories. and merc wanting to keep up with lexus gizmoidness adds new gadgets, while reliability lacks. this is japanese strategy, they provoke germans to add new gadgets, knowing that they will fail in long run and customers will soon go to them- the gods of reliability. and chrysler had nothing to learn from merc? they should have learned that YOU HAVE TO BUILD HALO CARS WITH YOUR OWN ENGINEERING FORCE, BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT THE GODDAMNED ENGINEERING POTENTIAL OF THE FREAKIN` COMPANY. chrysler, get your greasy , from idliness swollen hands out of your pockets and start doing some physical, tangible engineering. leave the mitsu and merc in past. or else you are past yourselves.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Jurisb,

    Check out this link:

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/me412.html

    and this one:

    http://www.allpar.com/cars/concepts/firepower.html

    The first is not a concept. It was a prototype. That’s what happens when you create a halo car that the German overlords don’t like because it embarrases them.

    Also if they have it on their website read the interview of Tom Gale by Motor Trend. The interview shows two things: Chrysler design led to the Detroit Auto Show becoming the premier show in the world and that Chrysler already had plans and the hardware lined up to build a rear wheel drive 300. After Daimler took over they made them use bits from the E class (and charged them for it) and delayed the program by up to two years.

    Daimler does not know how to run an international auto conglomerate. In my mind Schremp = Roger Smith of GM. They both had grand ideas (delusions?) but were woefully inadequate to the task of pulling it off.

    Mercedes does fine at what they do – building expensive, ego building luxury cars of great perfomance and style but sometimes questionalble reliability. If I had the money I can’t see paying 10 to 20k more for a Merc than what I could get in a Lexus/Infinity with much better reliability. Hell, I would rather buy a Caddillac at this time than a Merc.

  • avatar

    Would the pending sale of Chrysler not include the very profitable “Chrysler Financial”? This is a rhetorical question…

  • avatar
    jurisb

    chrysler had a hardware to build a rear-wheel drive 300? what would they have it built on, if the previous generation concorde/intrepid was FWD? i haven`t heard they would have created any new platform for rwd. and it`s hard to compare shiny concepts to a a production slr, even if it`s a low volume production. americans make the greatest concepts( the divine proportions) ( along japanese), and those concepts have nice interiors as well, but they can`t manufacture them, because manufacturing process is ensured by workers and bean counters,, whose quality demands and abilities are quite limited, compared to a concept car team, that involves usually some sophisticated gay designers, artists and best workers available.the concept has usually not so many plastic moulds ,and are leather wrapped, so it is easier to hide glitches. they don`t save money on concepts. so, by a halo car I mean a production vehicle that is a top dog in model line, has the most expensive equipment, and gives an image to a company.( like viper- powerful, aesthetically beautiful, and low- grade interior lackluster). It also gives an image of being domestic. As domestic it can be with an ancient lamborghini derived engine from 80ies. And a prototype is a test vehicle for already existing production vehicle that is being prepared for a launch. where have you seen at least to chrysler firepowers with a camou on a proving ground? Jim Dunne? anyone? at least German merc has impeccable fit and finish, material texture and GERMAN engineering underneath.chrysler?- german egineering, italian-style fit and finish, and korean-style material texture.and american…….. well, well…….. image.

  • avatar
    geeber

    jurisb: even if m-klass was designed in stuttgart, i will never ever believe that those feinsmeckers would ever allow to manufacture an SUV with huge fitting gaps between fenders and bumpers, headlights etc. with such non- durable materials as they did.

    This argument – or, more accurately, excuse – falls apart when we realize that Honda and Toyota are building vehicles here in the U.S. with excellent fit and finish.

    The Mercedes plant that builds the M-Class may be located in America, but it is still the responsibility of Daimler, and is under its corporate control. If Daimler can’t properly monitor the quality of its vehicles, regardless of location of manufacture, it has no business building cars outside of its home country.

    Honda and Toyota understand this; Daimler apparently does not.

    jursib: Also japanese toyota affords to put much cheaper materials for their american versions like solara or avalon, materials for european ones are a grade higher. why? ( your public has lower demands for material quality, most likely)

    No. Comparable vehicles sell for more money in Europe than they do in the U.S., so Toyota, and everyone else, can afford to use better materials.

    jurisb: chrysler had a hardware to build a rear-wheel drive 300? what would they have it built on, if the previous generation concorde/intrepid was FWD?

    Chrysler was working on a brand-new rear-wheel-drive platform, prior to the “merger.”

  • avatar
    windswords

    jurisb,

    Read the interview with Tom Gale if you can find it, he was “championing” the rear wheel drive 300 against the bean counters in the company who said it would be too expensive. This was all before the takeover. Also know that the concept 300 – N – the successor to the 300M (which was fwd based off Intrepid etc.) was a rear wheel drive concept. It looked nothing like today’s 300C. I saw this car in the flesh at an auto show. Great looking car. One of the car magazines did article on it. It was a running concept (and a convertible at that).

    While it’s true that Firepower was a concept the ME412 was not. It could have been built alongside the Viper. (Maybe would have required a expansion of the factory).

    Also it is well know that Chrysler concepts (at least pre-takeover) were much closer to production reality than the other auto makers. This was part practicallity and part lack of money – they couldn’t waste the money making “pie in the sky” concepts that could never be turned into real vehicles. Chrysler would have never made something like the GM Volt concept – “Here’s a great electric car. We don’t have the technology yet to make it go, but if we did this is what we would build!”

  • avatar

    It has just been announced in the Business section of the Globe and Mail paper(Toronto) that Frank S and his Magna company are getting ready for the Cash to purchase Chrysler along with Onex corporation. Frank S says he wont go into debt to purchase this company but he has the Banks lined up to help with the financing. he expect to hear within the next few weeks about this offer

  • avatar
    AJR

    When we had our Chrysler dealership back in the early 90s, we received word from Chrysler that it was building a new platform that could be fwd, awd, and even rwd. The platform was the LH platform. I’m not sure why they never made it into rwd, but according to the Chrysler material we received, they had the opportunity to do it.

    To make it an even stronger possibility, I’ve read some things here and there that Chrysler was looking to bring out its own rwd cars before Daimler showed up. It seems like I heard that the LX cars were pushed back a few years because Daimler wanted to do its thing with the cars. Personally, I think Chrysler would have had some great rwd cars on the road a few years earlier if Daimler would not have gotten in the way. The sweet Charger concept and the beautiful Chrysler 300 Hemi C convertible concept showed they were on their way. I really would liked to have seen Chrysler’s own rwd cars come out to show that Chrysler had the ability on its own to make some great cars. It was on its way there.

    I do have to disagree with windswords on his suggestions of the Firepower and ME412. Yes, they were cool cars, but I’m not one that thinks Chrysler needed to build them. They may look great to the car enthusiasts that might drool over them, but really they wouldn’t bring much success to Chrysler in the long term. The Viper was supposed to do that for Dodge – and it worked for awhile. Today, Dodge is being outsold by Toyota which doesn’t have this kind of halo car. The Plymouth Prowler didn’t help Plymouth when it was its halo cars. Chrysler needed to focus on the products real people need – and they really haven’t done that lately. With some exceptions (like the Wrangler and 300), most of the current stuff is mediocre and will be dependent on heavy incentives a year or two down the road. You can’t survive paying average family households for your vehicles.

    Also, just to let you know. It is not Infinity, rather it is Infiniti. Infinity was the radio equipment Chrysler used to use (or still does) for most of its cars. Nissan’s high level car brand is spelled differently. Also might want to look at Caddillac. Just noting some things.

  • avatar
    AJR

    I’ve watched this Daimlerchrysler “merger” play out ever since the original plans were announced by Bob Eaton in 1998, and I must say I hope it is coming to an end. I was no fan of the “merger” back then and I’m not a strong believer of it now. The sooner Daimler goes back home, the better. I know Magna wants Daimler to keep a small percentage, but at least they won’t run things in Auburn Hills anymore.

    I really am unsure of Chrysler’s future after a breakup occurs. A few years ago, I would have thought Chrysler could survive on its own. Now, I think the “merger” has done so much damage, destroyed so much good-will and brand equity that Chrysler and Mercedes are in worse shape than before the “merger”. Of course, Mercedes will continue to roll because of its name and loyal following, but cracks are forming in that armor. Chrysler has become the butt of jokes, has put out several mediocre vehicles that have been panned by the media and Internet chat sites, and is again in another rebuilding phase with 13,000 more jobs being cut to go along with the 40,000 or so let go when Dieter came into power. It gets to the point where Chrysler could be cut to the bone in terms of personnel. What good talent wants to stay on at a sinking ship? That will be something the new owners will have to address.

    As far as LaSorda is concerned, I’m not really crazy about him. I don’t know the guy and he seems like a nice person, but I find him to be a big push-over. He was handed the job due to his “loyalty” for his German bosses and has since tried to run Chrysler. I’m not sure of how much power he actually had because it sure did take him a long time to pull the reigns on Eberhardt’s over-production plans that put Chrysler into its current tailspin. Also, the new products coming out seem to have a chepaness to them that makes me think of the old GM. The interiors just aren’t very appealing and look low quality and cheap – qualities of the old GM. And some of the design decisions seem kind of bizarre and out of character for Chrysler (i.e. Sebring sedan, Jeep Compass). Long gone are the days in which Robert Lutz and Tom Gale made Chrysler the designer leader of the industry and an inspiration to those that value the automobile. Now, it just seems CG’s new products are built more for manufacturing efficiency and speed.

    Maybe I’m being too harsh on LaSorda. Maybe a lot of what we are seeing is coming from the Wolfgang/Zetsche era, but LaSorda was still there and had a voice in these decisions. Did he speak up, or did he nod his head in agreement so not to upset his German bosses?

  • avatar
    jurisb

    windswords- chrysler ME is a concept. period. as long as there is no production assembly line completed, and an exterior/interior parts stamping line, as long as there are no certifications from crash tests, safety measures, durability tests and sales list- it is just a concept. i don`t give a damn, if it could have been manufactured, or had an easy swapable engine from merc, i don`t care that chrysler was picking nose and pondering of building a rwd. All I care is the goddamned physical evidence of what they have built. period. and they have build zero. period. their rwd is a mercedes one.period. boeing also had plans of building superjumbo( index 214), then a sonic cruiser? what physical evidence did that have? zero.The difference between americans and others is, if americans promise to build something, it is very unlikely to go further than nice digital computer pictures.examples? duesenberg, cunningham, Chicago spire, Venture star, sikorsky s-x, crusader, dd-21,CVS-x, gm next gen minivans,all the orient x-31 space express nightmares, etc. we had ability, and we actually built – are 2 different worlds. and words. [email protected]

  • avatar

    This morning May 10th,2007 a Russian company has just purchased 1.5 billion dollars of Magna shares, so now Frank S. has more money available for his purchase of Chrysler! Times are changing are they not?

  • avatar
    hal

    Here’s a link to a FT article about the Gaz investment in Magna: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/a6d10e44-fee0-11db-aff2-000b5df10621.html

  • avatar

    The Russian billionaire that purchased shares in Magna is a Mr. Deripaska, before that Frank Stronach had asked Prime Minister Putin for his approval, which was given, so now Magna will have more Cash for there next Venture ie Chrysler purchase.

  • avatar
    windswords

    AJR,

    I never said that Chrysler needed to build the Firepower and ME412. There was a criticism that Chrysler never tried to develope a halo car (even though they have the Viper) with their own people.

    You were right about the 1st gen LH cars, they were designed to be fwd, rwd, and awd if the market called for it. The engine layout of the 1st gen LH was north-south, the trans was mounted east-west and turned by an extra “gear” (don’t know the technical term) to change the direction. Alas they only made them fwd.

    As for spelling – I don’t know if you were refering to my posts or not but ther is no spell checker for this comment section and most of us are posting comments on our lunch break or whatever so there is not a lot of time to proofread. But the brain is an amazing thing. It can figure out words even if they are mispelled.

    For example – it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

    Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

    Of course for someone who english is a second language the above may not be easy to understand. :-)

    “As far as LaSorda is concerned, I’m not really crazy about him. I don’t know the guy and he seems like a nice person, but I find him to be a big push-over. He was handed the job due to his “loyalty” for his German bosses and has since tried to run Chrysler. I’m not sure of how much power he actually had because it sure did take him a long time to pull the reigns on Eberhardt’s over-production plans that put Chrysler into its current tailspin.”

    Amen. I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t think he is the person to lead them out of the wilderness.

  • avatar
    windswords

    jurisb:
    May 10th, 2007 at 2:01 am

    “windswords- chrysler ME is a concept. period. ”

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree. The fact is that if Daimler had gave them permission to build it we would have it right now. They did not have to add anything substantial to make it ready for production. Did you read the link I posted?

    Dieter was not popular in Stuttgart when they created that thing. It was faster than the SLR, developed for less money, and better looking. I know, the last is subjective. It cetainly was more futuristic looking. And I’m not saying the SLR is not a good looking car. It certainly is.

    Now about the Boeing superjumbo comments. If you will go to the links I posted you will see physical evidence. Chrysler concepts are almost always running examples. So yes cars like the Firepower were not produced for public consumption but if you had the right connections you could go take that car out for spin on the test track. So what is your point? That if the car is never produced for the market it doesn’t exist in your mind? This is starting to sound like one of those philosophy classes where they argue about a tree falling and not making a sound if no one is there to hear it fall.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    windswords-you can take for a wheelspin my tuned car too, it doesn`t make any manufacturing state of it. and you put too many coulds and could have to. i state facts. manufacturing rules the industry, and concepts polish their evolution.and boeing only gives promises in order not to loose share prices, because they always drop whenever EADS makes any hardware announcements.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Jurisb, this has reached the point of diminishing returns. I give you real history and stats backed up by links (which I doubt you even bother to read) you give me your opinion. You can’t see what is plainly before you.

    But for all those who may still be reading let me be clear: Chyrsler concepts do not have fake engines like the Chevy Volt. Mostly they have real engines that are already in production and emmisions certified – like the ME412 engine. Their concepts do not have fibreglass bodies but real steel and aluminum. They are not built with bits that won’t make it to production because of safety regulations. In other words they are as close to production ready as you can get.

    By the way Boeing has retaken it’s place as the number 1 passenger plane maker in the world. How could they do this, they’re American after all, they should just give up and die!

  • avatar
    hal

    Cerberus is buying 80% of Chrysler for an investment of 5.5B euro. Most of the cash will be invested in Chrysler.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/de11b738-01fa-11dc-ac32-000b5df10621.html

  • avatar
    hal

    “By the way Boeing has retaken it’s place as the number 1 passenger plane maker in the world. How could they do this, they’re American after all, they should just give up and die!”
    The main reason Boeing is so competitive now is the decline of the dollar against the euro which is screwing Airbus. The automakers won’t get the same benefit because most of their competition isn’t European and they don’t export much from the US.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    windswords- boeing is in a short term no.1 position. look at the amount of new products airbus is launching- a380,a350 etc. And I am not even mentioning the plethora of russian and ukrainian new planes.boeing is heavily advertizing on dreamliner, but there is still no real plane.I f it goes Comanche rah-66 way, so does boeing. and if chrysler `s concept was a produstion vehicle i could order parts from a catalogue starting from door interior trim up to bumpers etc. there are many japanese and european concepts that have ready for production parts, still it doesn`t mean a manufacturing vehicle. close ,but no cigar.


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