Bailout Watch 241: ChryCo CEO Nardelli Drives Aspen Hybrid to DC

bailout watch 241 chryco ceo nardelli drives aspen hybrid to dc

The truth is out: as Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli drove a Chrysler Aspen Hybrid to today’s Senate Banking Committee hearings. Confirmation comes from Jet-Gate Media Inc, formerly known as ABC News, which dedicates no fewer than four pages to the symbolism of CEO transportation choices. Of course Nardelli gets a good hosing for choosing a ride that will be canceled within less than a year of its introduction. ABC contrasts the high cost and marginal returns of hybrid vehicles with the currently low cost of gas, and concludes that (in the words of Kelly Blue Book’s Jack Nerad) “a hybrid alone will not save Detroit.” In short, the parade of Volt/Cruze mules, Chrysler vapoware and assorted hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles are a PR show to gain environmentalist support for a bailout. Shocking stuff, I know, but the disconnect between self-image and reality is key to this entire situation. Slate’s Daniel Gross explores this “Detroit Delusion,” arguing that “the markets are treating the auto companies as if they’re already in bankruptcy,” and “the federal funding they’re requesting is necessary to help manage failure, not to stave it off.” Luckily Senators seem to be focusing on these financial issues rather than taking the eco-future bait.

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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 05, 2008

    CAFE was the reason (along with union contracts) that gl continued to spit out many money losers over the years rather than drop them. We have laws favoring the unions, we have laws forcing them to keep dealers, and we have laws forcing them to build small cars that they lose money on. Why does anyone with talent want to work there at all?

  • Mgraban Mgraban on Mar 18, 2013

    Was just reading the Charlie LeDuff book "Detroit: An American Autopsy." He claims that when Nardelli drove the Aspen to DC, that a car full of engineers and tools trailed a couple of miles behind in case (or when) the Aspen broke down. They distrusted the vehicle that much. After the testimony, Nardell hopped the corporate jet home. "But they had not even cleared the Lincoln Memorial when Nardelli, according to Carlisle, instructed him to drive to the airport, where the corporate jet was waiting."

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.