Cassandra Watch: Keith Crain Edition

cassandra watch keith crain edition

My, how things change. Just two short months ago, Automotive News [sub] publisher and editorial director Keith Crain was asking us to redefine our very notion of what an automaker is in order to justify Chrysler’s continued existence. “Who knows?” mused Crain. “Before too long, Chrysler might just do some engineering and perhaps a bit of design and let someone else build its vehicles. Chrysler would become a marketer rather than a manufacturer, sort of like Home Depot.” Fast forward through two months of bad news, and suddenly Crain has realized that just maybe it’s more likely that Chrysler will die rather than challenge paradigms. And though his latest missive “Just Put Up A ‘For Sale’ Sign” is doom-and-gloomy enough to get him membership in our rapidly-growing Cassandra club, he makes sure blame goes where it belongs: the fools who were dumb enough to buy the mess the last time it was for sale.

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Cerberus gets it right between the eyes, as Crain gives up on Chrysler’s paradgim-shifting potential. “Stephen Feinberg, head of Cerberus Capital Management has been losing an amount of money beyond even his worst imagination. Chrysler has cost him and his clients billions of dollars. They were cocky enough to think that they were going to make billions without batting an eye. They didn’t know how ill-equipped they were to run an automobile company.” This is either the moment for TTAC to defend the good, strong, honest hedge funds of America, or point out that Crain thought a Cerberus-run Chrysler heralded a brave new future for American automakers. So, what to do now that Crain believes the term “too big to fail” probably doesn’t describe the domestic auto business? Sell to the foreigners, is Crain’s weary advice, specifically the Chinese or Renault/Nissan. So what happened to “the U.S. automakers (being) the linchpin of a strong manufacturing industry in this nation”? Or was that only trotted out to justify the bailout? Anyone else feeling some editorial whiplash?

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  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2022&year2=2022&make=Jeep&baseModel=Wrangler&srchtyp=ymm&pageno=1&rowLimit=50Annual fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
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