By on February 14, 2008

cerberus.JPGEver since Cerberus bought Chrysler, they've said they're in it for "the long run" in spite of the private equity firm's reputation as a "strip and flip" operation. On the other hand, we've maintained they'll unload the moribund automaker ASAP, in spite of what the three-headed-dog keeps barking. Apparently Bloomberg agrees with us. In an article about Nardelli's draconian measures to make the company profitable, the news org declares "Cerberus, a private-equity firm, would like to make a profit by selling Chrysler within two or three years. That means turning the ailing automaker into a tightly managed operation that generates cash instead of burning it." What's not clear: if the "two or three years" begins now, or if it started at the time Cerberus took control last May. Either way, look for Chrysler's sale to open the door to the U.S. market for a Chinese or Indian automaker.

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17 Comments on “Bloomberg: Cerberus Wants to Sell Chrysler...”


  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Chinese firm, eh?

    At least the interiors will be better.

  • avatar
    jrogers

    This cannot be a surprise to anyone. The only reason a firm like Cerberus would ever want to buy a company like Chrysler in this industry would be to flip it. And the potential buyers are Chinese, or perhaps Korean or Indian.

  • avatar
    John R

    …and the sky is blue and water is wet.

    Anyhow, Ghosn is looking to “partner” with Chrysler so as to learn how to build better trucks for Nissan and Chrysler to build better small cars. In light of this, this partnership might turn into something more, I hope for Chrysler’s sake.

    I know I’d rather see an actual good looking Avenger with a VQ motor than one with the Brilliance BS6 crash rating. But that’s just fantasy and it seems more than likely Chrysler is going to the Chinese, oh well.

  • avatar

    Investment bankers do not create value in the marketplace; they identify fire sales and walk in with a suitcase full of money. The idea that Chryserberus would be anything more than a platform for pump-and-dump is simply laughable and hiring Nardelli and Press was done solely to create the illusion that the company could be brought back to profitability. Somewhere there is an idea worth saving, like the 300C chassis, but short of owning the brand names, it looks like Hyundai has already figured out that an inexpensive RWD V8-powered sedan can still be a hit in the marketplace.

    Nonetheless, the Chinese may bite; there is a distribution network, recognizable brands and Jeep still has a little life left in it. They have already bought many of the major American names (eg: Westinghouse, Marantz, Philco) in consumer electronics, so buying the Chrysler name might be worthwhile. A very sad day for those who have labored to save Chrysler Corporation.

  • avatar

    Why does everyone assume that it will be a Chinese or Indian buyer? I agree with John R that Nissan-Renault seems the more the logical buyer.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Nissan renault have their hands full with Nissan, they don’t need another dink automaker that is losing market on everything except jeeps.

  • avatar
    frontline

    What does one see with Harley Davidson … I see retail facilities that are way too large and pricey for their niche market. Are those megadealerships sustainable? In most markets,no. I bought a Harley and I liked it but now I’m done and I don’t need any more T-shirts. It’s just a toy and not “real” transportation. A jeep fits the same demographics as most Harley owners and is year around usable. I see a perfect partnership. HD really needs to buy Jeep from Cerberus

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    Harley Davidson? Yikes! Take one look at their Japanese-fighter Buell brand and you’ll realize that they are brilliant marketeers, but as far as engineering and manufacturing…well…they are great at marketing!!

    How about Lenovo? They could buy Chrysler.

  • avatar
    mel23

    The WSJ had an article sometime back about Cerberus having dumped a significant percentage of Chrysler off to other investors shortly after ‘buying’ it. As I understood it, these other investors were kind of silent partners trusting Cerberus to steer this thing to profitability. I doubt if they’re happy at this point.

    Might this be too early for the Chinese to get involved? I can’t see anyone wanting anything to do with US manufacturing plants given all the excess capacity and falling market. From what little I think I know about it, a Chinese company (= Chinese govt.) that would buy Chrysler would own all the rights, patents and tooling so that they could make stuff in China. Would they have to prove safety, emissions and such? Certainly this would be a gradual process, but it would surely be yet another hit to the beleaguered dealers.

    I agree that Nissan shouldn’t be a player for anything other than trucks. But here again, there’s a lot of excess capacity.

  • avatar

    I like the concept of an H-D purchase, that’s neat thinking. However, I don’t think they’d go for it in a million years; why go through all the trouble and expense of selling something with 4 wheels for $25,000 when people will happily pay that much for 2?

    Also $35 Jeep leather bandanas would just make the wealthy purchaser look like a silly poser, completely opposite of the effect of an H-D leather bandana. /sarcasm

  • avatar
    jeremy5000

    I understand what strip means, but flip? Would it be like turning it around, because maybe they should do that first so someone will want to buy it. Flip and strip makes more sense in my mind, but maybe I’m wrong.

  • avatar

    jeremy5000
    I understand what strip means, but flip? Would it be like turning it around, because maybe they should do that first so someone will want to buy it. Flip and strip makes more sense in my mind, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Strip – Get rid of anything that isn’t making money or that might hinder its sale.

    Flip – Fix what’s left and try to sell it for a profit, as in “flipping a house.”

  • avatar

    Chinese firm, eh?

    At least the interiors will be better.

    Lieberman – here’s your comment of the day.

  • avatar
    kericf

    As appealing as Jeep is as a brand, it would absolutely fail if sold to an overseas company.
    A foreign Jeep would alienate most of their loyal buyers and would have people screaming bloody murder. Look at how passionate they are over the shape of a headlight.

    A Chinese Jeep would not sell. The HD idea is very intriguing. If all they focused on were Jeeps, maybe just a Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, it will be a good fit and they would add an American Icon to the HD brand.

    Not to mention they could ditch the bloated dealer network in place as part of the sale and sell them out of Harley Dealers. HD dealers are known for good customer service and often hold community events for owners. This type of culture fits right in with most Jeep owners.

    I don’t see it as a bad fit, but I highly doubt Harley is looking to get into the auto business.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Why would anyone bail out Cerberus, I mean buy Chrysler? Wouldn’t they rather wait until it goes Ch 11 and actually gets rid of all the dead weight? At this point there is a lot of work to be done to get Chrysler profitable, especially for green automaker that doesn’t have product to just drop a badge on.

  • avatar
    SD

    @ edgett

    (Roughly) Marantz was bought by Philips (which, as far as i know, is a dutch firm) then became japanese (the global brand being bought by the japanese subsidiary) and Philco was partly bought by … Philips (again), Ford and a brazilian bank.
    And Westinghouse nows belongs to Toshiba.

    I don’t see a lot of chinese in those…

    Well, Chinese rocks anyway

  • avatar
    SD

    @ kericf

    Jeep, then part of AMC, was quite french at the beginning of the eighties. It didn’t seem to stop Proud American Buyers.

    On another note, the Carlos way seems the most plausible one, both in terms of complementarity and image. I guess in termsof PR it will be easier to sell Chrysler to a french-japanese entity rather than to some chinese .

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