Chrysler's Boot'em Bob Nardelli A Car Guy?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
chrysler s boot em bob nardelli a car guy

To show The New York Times (and others) that he really is a "car guy," freshly-minted Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli brought his silver and black '01 Chrysler (nee Plymouth) Prowler to his very first post-ascension public appearance. Chrysler trucked Boot'em Bob's faux rat rod from his home in Atlanta so BEB could hang with fellow Prowler owners at the company's museum parking lot. Unfortunately, BEB was plagued with feelings of inadequacy. Nardelli told the Detroit Free Press "I am a little embarrassed with my stock Prowler here compared to all of the work these folks have done." If driving a cramped, underpowered, poor-handling, overwrought automotive codpiece isn't enough to convince us that Nardelli's a "car guy," last week he asked Chrysler VP of product development Frank Klegon when Chrysler would be ready to sell an 800hp vehicle. Oh dear.

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  • Mikey Mikey on Aug 18, 2007

    I don't think we can label him a non car guy,or for that matter a car guy.I think the rich dudes that can afford to keep a garage full of cars,that some day somebody else might own isn't really a bad thing.

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Aug 18, 2007

    Jay Leno is a car guy, just in case anyone is looking for a reference point.

  • Picard234 Picard234 on Aug 19, 2007

    Today at the Woodward dream cruise, there was a sort of "Prowler Parade." Somehow, they managed to convince the cops to block one of the intersections so the Prowlers could all come down Woodward at the same time. (Obviously, someone in the Prowler club has a little influence with the Royal Oak PD...) We counted 110 Prowlers in all (probably the entire production run). Although the drivers of the Prowlers seemed happy, waving and honking, it was almost sad. That car was a last attempt to breathe life into Plymouth. Today it was a reminder that Chrysler used to be the company that would show these unique (and good-looking) concepts and get them to market quickly. Building a hot rod was a fun concept, but unfortunately Plymouth was stuck using parts from the Intrepid bin. Too bad. And now the same company makes Sebrings and Compaii. Who knows? Maybe BEB will get the company to scrap junk like the Compass and start making fun, well-styled cars that people actually buy because they WANT to again.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Aug 19, 2007

    The insinuation that Bob Nardelli won't be successful because he isn't a 'car guy' is absolutely ridiculous. It's beyond moronic, it's sub-moronic, and to lay into the guy for just bringing a Prowler to an enthusiast's get together is just lame. Cerebrus has an awful lot of work to do at this point. The dealer network is bloated beyond belief, the quality of Chrysler's products has gone down substantially thanks to Daimler's involvement, and no one is even sure what a Dodge or a Chrysler truly represents in the marketplace at this point. There is a LOT of reform that needs to take place and Cerebrus is keenly aware of it. They are already taking some intelligent steps towards reform. Putting a lifetime warranty on their vehicles, culling the dealer network, and hiring a fellow who 'DID' make Home Depot a far more productive and profitable organization. In terms of the stock market's viewpoint (which most successful automakers don't prioritize), they don't always happen to champion those organizations that become consistent outperformers in their industries. Southwest, Nordstrom's, Toyota, Honda, even Autozone... all of these companies were successful in their marketplace and yet the analysts saw fit to consistently ignore their returns because the industry was supposedly in a mature or consolidation phase. Some had strong market returns only after the successes took place while most others were completely ignored due to the 'industry risks'. Home Depot went through the same rite of passage during the last several years as most other leaders in mature industries. The opportunities for rapid fire expansion were no longer there by 2001 and from thereonin, the actual growth of the current stores was more or less going to lead to profits. During Nardelli's reign, revenue increased from $45.7 billion in 2000 to $81.5 billion in 2005, while net profit rose from $2.6 billion to $5.8 billion. He cut costs dramatically, eliminated the decentralized 'entrepreneurial culture' of the company, and ticked off his critics big time but guess what... his bottom line performance was excellent. Chrysler is in a proverbial pot of mediocrity right now. If they're going to become successful, somebody will have to institute a regimen that measures success by the employee's (and partner's) productivity and the bottom line. Bob Nardelli, and his team, has a very successful track record of doing just that. I think we should give the fellow a chance instead of just slamming him for having the nerve to go out there and meet folks.