Chrysler to Release "Five Year Plan" On November 4

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

True story: New Chrysler’s Italian boss has promised America’s taxpayer/owners that the former bankrupt will release its “five-year plan” on November fourth. Setting aside the laughable idea that Chrysler has enough money to survive ’til 2011 (never mind 2014), one wonders whether the CEO of a multi-billion dollar automotive conglomerate could be that ignorant of history, or that good at post-modern irony. Lest we (or he) forget, the Soviet Union’s Gosudarstvennyi Komitet po Planirovaniyu (GOSPLAN) pretty much coined the phrase “five-year plan” when they tried to force the state-controlled Russian economy to do . . . whatever they told it to do. And how did that turn out? “Altogether, there were 13 five-year plans,” the Wikipedia hive mind reports. “The first one was accepted in 1928, for the five year period from 1929 to 1933, and completed one year early. The last, thirteenth Five-Year Plan was for the period from 1991 to 1995 and was not completed, as the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.” Not to put too fine a point on it, the USSR’s five-year plans were a monumental failure; an effort at social control that resulted in misery (e.g. starvation, forced migrations) for millions of people. Marchionne’s use of the term is about as bad as it gets without evoking Godwin’s Law. Still, can’t wait!

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Carm Carm on Oct 08, 2009

    Planning and five year plans are very important in any business. Some will say that shorter term plans are better, I say you need them all. Heck I have even participated in some 15-20 year planning. I continue to believe that Chrysler has a better chance at survival than GM. I believe that for two reasons. 1)Chrysler is a lot smaller which makes it much easier to implement changes. 2)Fiat, no matter what you think of them, at least they are an outside influence.

  • 50merc 50merc on Oct 08, 2009

    Planning is the great American shibboleth. We tend to greatly overrate its utility. A five year plan for, say, sewer system maintenance can be practical. A five year plan for an automobile company, especially one as beset with grave challenges as Chrysler, is almost entirely speculative. And being speculative, it will certainly be optimistic. (Who on the inside ever dared to forecast a company's bankruptcy?) How many five year plans allowed for shifts in customer preference to imports? Katrina and gas price shocks? The real estate construction bust? Financial system crises? Mideast conflicts? Or, for that matter, the marketplace flops of the Five Hundred, GM minivans, Sebrings, etc.? I have no serious interest in a wishful fantasy called Chrysler's five year plan. Show me their five month plan for survival. The wolf's at the door.

  • AJ AJ on Oct 08, 2009

    I was at my Jeep dealer this morning getting something minor done in their service department. While I was waiting I walked through their lot that as long as I've been a customer has had a lot of vehicles, but now it only had less then half what it use to. They had almost no cars, just mostly Rams, Wranglers (they had hardly any Wranglers just a few weeks ago) and then Challengers, and as well a few Liberty's, mini-vans, a couple Nitro's and 300s, one Dakota, and that was it. They had no Grand Cherokees, Commanders, Patriots or Calibers. I wondered if they simply didn't want a lot vehicles as they use to and order as they can sell them, or just couldn't get them?

  • Windswords Windswords on Oct 08, 2009

    “If [discounts are] the only way I can sell them, I'd prefer not to produce them because I'm not making any money.” — Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne 'Don't believe everything you hear about Chrysler's sorry state, says Sergio Marchionne." Airhen - inventory is thin because the factories were closed due to C11. Inventory levels may not go back to where they were pre-C11 if the statement above is to be believed.