Ask the Best and Brightest: Did Chrysler Seal Its Fate by Killing EVs?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

There’s a backlash a brewing over Chrysler’s decision to axe its EV and hybrid program. The move makes sense from an business point-of-view; the company doesn’t have enough money to chase sky pie. Politically, it’s all kind of nuts. Lest we forget—and even the normally automotively absent-minded USA Today doesn’t—ChryCo trotted-out alt power vehicles to secure some $12.5 billion (plus) in federal bailout bucks. And while the zombie car company will import the fuel-efficient Fiat 500 to trigger a hidden-at-the-time clause which surrenders more ChryCo control to Fiat upon selling a new, high mileage vehicle in the U.S., that precious little jewel is NOT what the democratic party’s four-wheeled-oriented tree huggers had in mind. Surely pretending to continue develop the battery-powered vaporware would have been the better bet. That way, when Chrysler returns to the federal trough, they could have played the green card. Now? Fuhgeddaboutit. Which only leaves the jobs card, vs. popular sentiment against more bailout bucks. Methinks the move to kill the ENVI program means that Chrysler is doomederer than before. You?

Robert Farago
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  • Rnc Rnc on Nov 11, 2009
    Lied about it to congress to save their sorry-ass company. Fraud is fraud is fraud. Congress had nothing to do with saving thier sorry ass, congress didn't give them a penny (In case you don't remember they voted not to give aid to GM and ChryCo). They were saved by TARP (with which congress ceded all control so they could cover thier own sorry ass) and and I don't recall them saying anything about electric vehicles in regard to that aid, Fiat wasn't so dumb as to promise anything like that. ChryCo said that electric vehicles were in thier future to secure loans authorized by Congress, Congress never authorized any loans, so ChryCo never had any reason to go forward with it.
  • Alex Nigro Alex Nigro on Nov 11, 2009

    Reading those comments in the USA Today article makes my brain hurt. Obama bashing, that Who Killed The Electric Car "documentary", calls to call the loans... my God...

  • Love2drive Love2drive on Nov 11, 2009

    Whether or it was "smart" or not, they didn't have a choice. They have to turn a profit (at some point that will become necessary for all the american car companies again, I would think), and no one is going to make a profit on electrics for years after they're introduced. They'd be smarter to right size themselves down just to live on the profit they actually make off of RAMS and Jeeps, even at a reduced volume. And then grow from there a segment at a time. I actually think Hyundai is going to be the biggest player in the low end of the market, eclipsing Chevrolet and Dodge. They've predominantly closed the quality gap with the Japanese, are aggressively priced, and pretty nicely appointed. They've come a long, long way in a relatively short amount of time. It's the same pattern, over and over. Hyundai is just following the map that Honda and Toyota did in the 70's-90's. Start small, focus on low cost quality, retain customers, offer a broader array of vehicles. The new Genesis, both 4 door luxury sedan and 2 door coupe show how successfully they've navigated their ascent. It's sad that the American companies struggle over and over to compete. Hyundai doesn't have any electrics in it's hopper, to my knowledge, and I'd invest in them before I'd invest in Chrysler.

  • Ozzycode Ozzycode on Nov 13, 2009

    The Korean cars have a LONG way to go b4 they are going to be considered one of the top automakers in the world. However, i see many parallels in the demographics between wal mart shoppers and Kia/hyundumn owner.......... SHORT-TERM STRATEGY..... gets you where in 10 years???? however, cars a more personal expression and therefore their market penetration will not reach as far as wally worlds' has. Ask any car dealer.... Most of them won't touch a Hyundai or Kia with a 10 foot pole. PERIOD!