Business Week to Chrysler: Are You Nuts?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
business week to chrysler are you nuts

I heard it too: the dig at Honda in Chrysler's radio ads. As part of the spiel touting their new lifetime powertrain warranty, the announcer declared "Unlike some other rat-faced bastards (or something along those lines), we don't make lawn mowers, motorcycles or ATV's." To which Business Week writer David Kiley replies "Are you nuts? Honda is the premier engine company in the world. Ask owners of Honda cars, motorcycles, scooters, lawnmowers or generators how they feel about Honda and how much they trust those engines." More to the point, "Chrysler is advertising this at a time when its credibility is in serious question. It's latest products have fallen in quality, compared with previous models. It's losing money. It just brought in a notorious cost-cutter and b*** breaker in Bob Nardelli to hammer the operations into something that might be profitable. And you are taking shots at Honda?" Apparently so.

Join the conversation
4 of 55 comments
  • Eh_political Eh_political on Aug 15, 2007

    Sherman Lin, Memory is a little foggy on this one, but I believe Chrysler was banned from selling cars in California for a brief period over some sort of deceptive business shenanigans. As far as giving Canada and Mexico a rough ride, I am getting fairly tired of that old canard. There is fairly equitable and unfettered access between NAFTA markets, except when the US gets angry and unilaterally abrogates its agreements. It's not the EU (especially for workers), but at least its fair and friendly commerce and competition. I suppose I am saying that there are "unholy" consequences to the way trade is managed (or isn't) vis a vis Asia. It's not like the US companies have the equivalent of a Vauxhall over there--and in the case of China, JV's are all about technological and process theft. Governments tax cigarettes and alcohol. They ban or regulate all manner of things that harm society as a whole. Would you at least acknowledge the link between the decline of Detroit and the decline of the big three? And that the benefits of allowing unfettered access to the US market have not come close to replacing what has been lost economically? The transplants are relatively speaking offering crumbs is place of what they take away. Don't pretend that the loss of the American automakers won't have brutal economic consequences that would make a strategic bailout seem like money well spent in comparison. In the past US trade generosity with Asia could be rationalized in containment (of communism) terms, but at present it is an anachronism. Not in a folksy way, but in a batshiat insane in a slit yer own throat kinda way. Perhaps product lust is blinding you towards larger trade inequalities/imbalances? Canada must trade to survive, at least if we want to maintain our current living standards. Consequently we are more keenly aware of imbalances and their consequences. I am leaning over the fence to mention it, because our economy is absolutely tethered to your own, and we are beginning to get a touch worried up here.

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Aug 15, 2007

    Its not product lust blinding me. The fact is Honda has earned their sales by merit, not by some lack of industrial policy of the US, not by trickery You mention the government right to tax for regulatory purposes. I agree with you. Here is what you don't get and many in Detroit don't seem to get. You can impose a tax on cars made over seas but what you can't do is do impose a tax on an imported Honda and not tax the imported Chrysler. You cannot let the made in the USA Chrysler have an exemption without giving it to the made in USA Honda. What you and other Detroit apologists are seeking is to punish those companies you dislike (Honda) and to help the companies you like. While some laws may benefit or hurt certain companies more than others they are going to be applied to all the companies. You can regulate importation but that's gone now with NAFTA and such. Once a company like Honda sets up a factory in the US their production can be regulated but no more so than Chrysler. I just don't think many Detroit supporters get that. They will love to cite how Detroit supports more jobs than the transplants but those jobs are real nd they are held by real people too. Trust me no one working for Honda in Ohio or Maryland, or for Nissan in Mississippi or Tennessee, or for Toyota in Kentucky or Texas, or for Hyundai in Alabama, or for Kia in Georgia, or the NUMMI UAW workers in Freemont California or for Mitsubishi in Normal Illinois want to lose their jobs either. The problem that you are ignoring is that Chrysler is where it is at today because of gross mismanagement. Their products (not counting jeep) are not even remotely competitive. No one is ging to pass the lets save Chrysler and punish Honda act of 2007 only imported Hondas must be charged 3000 dollars in tarrifs but imported Chryslers will not be charged, Only made in US Hondas must be charged a 1000 dollar fee for not being a Chrysler product while every made in the US Chrysler product is not charged because they are not a Honda. Here in Florida we tried to impose higher taxes and on out of state residents and tourists (They can't vote) . It was ruled unconstitutional.

  • 210delray 210delray on Aug 15, 2007

    Sherman Lin: You nailed it. Besides, the domestics were given a break back when Reagan strong-armed the Japanese into the "voluntary" import quotas back in the early 80s. What we got were ADMs on the window stickers of Honda Accords and higher prices for Chevy Chevettes. So we're still supposed to give the domestics breaks 25 years later? How many chances do they get? BTW, that Chrysler ad is so sad, it's laughable. Invented power brakes and power windows? Big whoop. First muscle car, minivan, AND SUV? I suppose they're calling the '55 300 a muscle car, but I don't think it fits the usual definition. By first SUV, they mean the Bantam Jeep (built mostly by Willys and Ford during WWII). Chrysler had nothing to do with this. Then "get ready for the next 100 years." But unlike Ford, they've only been around for 81 years? And who thinks they'll survive another FIVE years, at least as one entity?

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on Aug 15, 2007

    What's really sad is that US brands already enjoy a significant price advantage over the imports and transplants (by the time you factor in all the rebates and incentives) and American auto buyers still prefer the imports/transplants even though they have to pay more for them. What does that tell you?