By on November 14, 2010

Some say, TTAC has an anti-Detroit, pro-import slant. We won’t comment on that, you mommy-fraternizing liars. All we can say is: If you harbor these notions, don’t move to Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s largest newspaper, the Oklahoman, dishes out more anti-Detroit snark in a single serving than even a Farago could have cooked-up in his TTAC lifetime. How about calling the former owners of Chrysler unqualified “idiots?” And not the former owners you think of now. Wait, there is worse.

The Oklahoman runs a Dear Abby style investment column, where readers can come to a Malcolm Berko for advice. An F.M., hailing from Troy, Mich, did so. (Why someone from Troy would turn to Oklahoma City’s hometown paper for investment advice is beyond me, but I digress.) F.M. didn’t agree with Berko’s prior opinion that buying GM stock amounts to throwing money away. He (or she) wanted to know whether Chrysler would be a good investment, should it ever go public.

Boy, did F.M. receive an earful of investment advice!

“Dear F.M.: No matter how much perfume you splash on a pig, a pig will always be a pig. The Chrysler culture could never function under Daimler’s superb management, could never emulate Daimler’s skilled work force and could never produce a Daimler-quality product. That’s not how the American automobile industry comports itself.”

“And 10 years later in predictable disgust, Daimler sold 80 percent of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management in 2007. And the Cerberus idiots hired Robert “Nasty” Nardelli, who couldn’t make it at GE or Home Depot, to run the company.”

What, no requisite jab at the “merger of equals?” No accusation that vestal & virtuous Chrysler had been raped by Teutonic terrorists who then pillaged her dowry and made off with the cash? Nope. No double quotes around “superb management” either. Now what about an investment into a possible Chrysler share? Over to you, Malcolm:

“One must be mad as a hatter to consider owning a single share of this issue (same for the General Motors issue when it comes public again) because good old new Chrysler won’t have changed enough from good old, old Chrysler.”

“Good old new Chrysler will have the same good old, old workers who still smoke pot and drink beer at lunch and don’t give a freckle about quality. Good old new Chrysler will still be held hostage to the United Auto Workers’ self-serving workplace rules and financial shenanigans. And good old new Chrysler will still be managed by the same corrupt culture of fools who drove the good, old, old Chrysler into bankruptcy.”

“The only profits in this IPO will be made by the Wall Street lawyers, CPAs, advisers and brokerage firms who take this public. And considering our high unemployment numbers and lower consumer incomes, I doubt that Chrysler can sell enough vehicles to produce a profit.”

The deathwatch series continues. In Oklahoma.

P.S.: Turns out this is not an Oklahoman phenomenon. Berko is syndicated all over the place. We need to get more aggressive. Or else the supposedly staid MSM will win the snark war.

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61 Comments on “Chrysler Workers Smoke Pot, Drink Beer At Lunch And Don’t Give A Freckle About Quality...”

  • avatar

    Get it right… Jalopnik is anti ChryCo, TTAC is anti GM, and um.. Well, someone has to be against Ford..

    • 0 avatar

      Jalopnik is pure anti Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      When I get it up and running, you need to check out my new blog where everyone gets a shellacing. It’s going to make TTAC, Jalopnik et. al. look like GM’s in house marketing department. All bias, all the time!

      I don’t have an exact launch date because I’m still waiting for my check from Rupert Murdoch to clear.

    • 0 avatar

      I worked at a Toyota store for a while.. You don’t sell Toyotas.. It’s more like hoping your Up hasn’t done their homework.. Think Lemmings.
      Call me when Rupert sends the dough!

  • avatar

    Why would anyone be against Ford :) I believe Ford does better than the other US manufacturers because they build cars all over the world, for very different customers, so they have a lot more experience. And by making cheap , half decent, fairly good looking cars that explode when hit from the rear they have proven themselves to be better than the other US cars. (even as a Ford-fan this worries me a bit) And they have the Mustang, one of the best known brand.names in the world (alongside Coca Cola and McDonalds) A car so popular it has one of the better roles in the GM-commercial ‘Transformers’ (disguised as a Saleen, Ford didn’t even pay them to do it :P)

  • avatar

    Whenever I see a Chrysler Sebring or Dodge Caliber on the road here – I am reminded of Juergen Schrempp’s superb management.  How is Fokker Aircraft doing these days?
    With regards to buying into a Chrysler IPO – that will definitely be an iffy investment in my non-financial expert view.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know how the aircraft company is doing, but the Caliber and Sebring are rolling proofs that such management Fukked Chrysler badly.
      When I see a Caliber here I still think how it’s possible they replaced the Neon with that POS. The Neon was not perfect, but was WAY nicer.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler is doing better than Fokker

    • 0 avatar

      Car magazine (UK) once had a full-page comic-strip titled “Juergen Schrempp, The World’s Worst Auto Executive”, humorously detailing his myraid disasters. If only US car magazines had this kind of guts instead of the warmed-over servile corporate PR crap they dish up.

  • avatar

    Is there any, you know, PROOF, workers are smoking pot and drinking beer at lunch?

  • avatar

    “Superb German Management?”  I’d stop reading his portion of the paper for good.  Chrysler’s assembly line workers designed and selected the materials used in the Sebring interior, huh?  I guess opinionated talking heads aren’t just talking politics on cable news…maybe its not only Chrysler workers smoking pot…

    EDIT: Looks like maybe 10 people in that video. Not a good thing, but how many folks work in that plant? Percentage-wise, the “dead wood” count is no more than any other workplace, maybe less.

  • avatar

    Drinking and smoking weed on the job is certainly not just a problem with chrysler. Here in northeast Ohio we have many auto plants, and over the years people have been busted for similar things at ford and gm plants as well.
    Quite a few years back there was a big drug bust at a ford plant in the cleveland area, and there have been similar incidents over the past 10-20 years with all 3 automakers.
    But this is not just a problem with the automakers, it happens everywhere, these guys just happened to get caught and happened to make the news and are now being made an example.

  • avatar

    I agree that the guys should have to suffer the consequences for what they did, that was not my point. My point was simply that they are not the only people to do such things at work, like a lot of people are making it out to be.
    As far as the tax bailout goes, it was a “loan” which has to be paid back with interest.  I wonder how many billions the automakers have paid in taxes over the years? They were actually getting more of their tax dollars than yours, and the employees that work for them also paid taxes.

  • avatar
    also Tom

    Did any of these guys try hand painting stripes after lunch?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Do any of the automakers still hand paint pinstripes?  (I love pinstripes BTW and my father purchased a few cars because he preferred the exterior/interior/pinstripe combo over a similar model sitting next to it.)

  • avatar

    Uh……yeah they were busted and it’s on camera, the prosecution rests. No shit.

  • avatar

    I havn’t seen one painted by hand yet, Dan. Even the ones on my 78 new yorker are tape stripes.

  • avatar


    “(Why someone from Troy would turn to Oklahoma City’s hometown paper for investment advice is beyond me, but I digress.)”

    I did some research; Malcolm Berko’s column is a syndicated column, so like “Dear Abby”, it appears in many papers around the country.

  • avatar

    I just finished reading “Rivethead.” It paints an awful picture of life on the line in a GM truck plant. How accurate is that picture?
    Bertel, on behalf of The Oklahoman, thank you. It’s been claiming it still has a reader, and thanks to you, there’s now proof of that. Not that a reader in Michigan is going to do a hell of a lot for selling ad space….

  • avatar

    You’re correct wheeljack. But the prowler was a limited production car that didn’t come down a mass production assembly line.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if its the education system or the gene pool …but something clearly isn’t right in Oklahoma.

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently we’re doing something right. Oklahoma City has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any U.S. city. But hey, don’t let that get in the way of bashing a state you know nothing about. Be sure to include your home state/country when bashing someone else’s so we can return the favor.

  • avatar

    This is really really old. Why new hypes today?
    There are bad apples at every plant. How many Germans workers drink at lunch?

  • avatar

    If I worked for Chrysler I’d be doing the same thing. What a depressing place to work when none of your vehicles are class leading in…anything. How can you take pride in a 300? Sure with some chrome you can spice it up… but when it comes down to it the interior is plastic and crap-tastic. Its a good car to look at but not a joy to drive.

  • avatar

    The 300C has a great angine, with potential for oeven more power, and it’s built on a great platform. But i guess the cheap interior would be a turnoff for people who’s automotive knowledge is limited to panel gaps and plastics.

  • avatar

    Oops *ENGINE

  • avatar

    Whew, and I thought we weren’t going to get through the weekend without our usual anti US domestic posting…
    Like I said on another post here, Chrysler was knee-capped by Daimler (actually Eaton), and Cerberus cut their Achilles’ Heel after that. So much for “excellent German management” and manangement by the “Masters of the Universe”. Like the kids say: EPIC FAIL.
    With any luck, Mr. Berko will not make a big an ass out of himself as Jim Kramer did on MSNBC. Obviously, I’m hoping for the continuing recovery of the domestic automakers. I’d be nice to get our investment back…

  • avatar

    The Chrysler culture could never function under Daimler’s superb management, could never emulate Daimler’s skilled work force and could never produce a Daimler-quality product.
    Are you kidding me?!
    Someone sure loves his leased GLK350.

  • avatar

    Those yahoos may not have even been assembly line workers. Like any factory that size there are probably 100 different jobs within the place. Some of them may have even been custodians, or even mowed the grass. I noticed the guy driving the truck was wearing a colored vest, indicating he probably worked outside.

    • 0 avatar


      You nailed it.  The union has created so many specialized classes of workers, which results in some workers having nothing to do for hours a day.  I have worked in and toured many assembly plants, and the line workers work their keisters off and I have great respect for them.  It’s a hard job and you CAN’T slack off.

      The other job classifications at the plant, however, are a different story.  Take the janitorial staff–they may have their job done by 10am, and then are prohibited from doing anything else by union rules, for the rest of the day.  Same story for painters, pipefitters, instrument techs, etc at the plant.  So while the assembly line workers are busting their butts all day long, these other workers are not necessarily as busy (leading to the kind of thing documented by the Detroit TV station).

      At the non-union assembly shops I have worked at, if you are done with your job, you are expected to pick up a broom and clean up, or to do other support tasks (empty garbage, restock parts bins, etc), as fill-in work.

  • avatar

    I live in Oklahoma and after years of readership (not just one article that someone took offense to) I can say it’s a pretty good paper. If you REALLY want to bash a bad paper look no further than the Oklahoma Gazette. Those douchebags can’t even keep their political views out of the movie reviews let alone the front page. A friend of mine used to work there, but quit due to being allergic to the pot smoke that permeated the building. The paper’s so godawful they GIVE it away.

    • 0 avatar

      The New York Post used the same idea to move papers, just not as extreme.  Most of the dailies went for fifty cents, but the Post cut their newsstand price to 25 cents to build market share.  It worked too, at least for awhile.  Eventually it was unsustainable, but I guess the idea can work for some.

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    Heh.  In 2009 when Ford had rebounded to over $8, Malcolm Berko warned “Don’t add any more Ford common stock to your portfolio.”    It bewilders me why people come to Mr. Berko for investment advice on the auto industry.

  • avatar

    It was other workers at the plant who called up the news team. Growing up in the Detroit/Flint area I developed a healthy disrespect for auto-workers and their “work an hour you’re a hero” motto. I still harbor a deep hatred for the UAW and their constant enabling of the culture of entitlement among big-three workers. While I still despise the UAW, the attitudes of the workers are slowly getting better. They seem less entitled and I think many are realizing how lucky they are to have the jobs they do.

  • avatar

    If they’d been NY State employees they could have scored a man-cave and overtime.

    • 0 avatar

      If they were NY City employees they would have lost their job.  One of the papers had done the same kind of “investigation” on several employees going outside for multiple smoke breaks a day; they spent over an hour a day outside.  After the story circulated around City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg fired them. Rightly so I might add.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting point about smokers actually.  I remember having one employee who complained bitterly, with great frequency, about her workload.  She was too daft to realize that the picnic tables the smokers sat at were in full view of my office.  She easily spent over an hour a day (in addition to lunches) sitting smoking.  I’d be very reluctant to hire a smoker, I have to say.
      As for management drinking during lunches…maybe that happens somewhere, but I’ve been in business many years now and virtually none of my white collar associates drank at lunch.  Once in a blue moon, they’d have one beer or one glass of wine.  This image of execs going out for 3 martini lunches simply isn’t true.
      ‘ could never produce a Daimler-quality product ‘
      In light of my experience with a Daimlar product, all I can say is ‘I hope not!’

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Superb management? Sure…they turned off the water every time Chrysler asked for the promised Daimler technology and only gave (some of) it up after some serious arm twisting.
    Daimler was like the guy on a prom date who promises to respect his girlfriend in the morning but when the sun comes up-the guy disappears faster than the billions scooped up at inception of the merger.
    They (Daimler) aren’t the guys in the white hats after that bad marriage fiasco played out.

  • avatar

    However, the system Iacocca put together began to unravel even before the Daimler rape of Chrysler. Check out Allpar’s opinion section for what a couple insiders thought of Iacocca’s successor, Bob Eaton.  Even Iacocca himself admitted he blundered in bringing in an outsider, though the alternative was Lutz.
    Daimler only continued the damage that Eaton had begun to Chrysler’s business plan. When Daimler gave up, it turned the company over to strip and flip artists at Cerberus, who hired Nardelli. Minimum Bob was nothing more than a cost cutter who wielded a chainsaw to a company he didn’t understand.  His last major act at Chrysler was to eliminate its designers, expecting the small engineering division to continually refresh the Daimler designs.
    From 1992 to 2009, Chrysler was robbed (of its business plan) by Eaton, raped (of its cash hoard) by Daimler and stripped (of it’s most valuable employees) by Cerberus, leaving a bankrupt hulk. Then the government virtually gave it away to Fiat. Sergio Marchione is giving what’s left of Chrysler some real expertise in management. If Sergio can revive Chrysler, and it’s not clear that he can’t, he should be nominated for sainthood.

  • avatar
    yo yo

    Why does everyone complain about the US auto company bail out, but never say a word about the fact that we spend 20-40 billion per year subsidizing the Japan economy and another 20-40 billion per year subsidizing the Korean economy by providing free defense for their countries. These cowards should stand up, be a man, and take care of their own business. At the very least write us a big fat check every year which they don’t. I am tired of paying higher takes so these cowards can pay lower taxes. They can then use the money they save to provide better education for their children while we get worse education among other things….

    The money that was spent bailing out two American companies is like me giving a dime to a beggar when compared to the amount we have subsidized the foreign countries that put our workes out of jobs….

    Please start posting this every time you piss on American companies for taking your money when when the whole entire economy of countries you glorify is stealing even more of my money and does it every single year and has been doing it for a very long time….

  • avatar

    You know, I’ve always heard about this period of time(prior to Daimler) where Chrysler offered desireable,well built, and reliable cars. I can name a few;

    -Colt Range,Vista,Summit, Talon/Lazer, Sebring Coupes, The Eagle/Dodge 2000gtx,Conquest,Lambda Sapporo/Challenger, Arrow, also they offered certain engines that were pretty good.

    So I have a favorable opinion of some of their offerings.

    But you would have to be joking if you think that most of Iaccoca’s and Eatons cars were good. They are a pinnacle of Garbage engineering and quality, terrible driving(save for ACR Neons), and are literal manisfestation of unreliability. They did have and eye catching designs, though(I personally think they are revolting, however).

    “Iaccoca’s game changers;”

    K-Car(and it’s 4 million stupid, crappy variants)
    Lancer(Ripped the name off a Legend)
    Spirit(0-Breakdown in 60 seconds)
    Shadow(“beat the Japanese at their own game” keep dreamin’ there Lee)
    Dynasty(You really thought people were going to buy this over a Taurus?)
    M-Body(This is really a Volare. A VOLARE.)
    R-body(You can run faster than these can drive. I’ve seen exactly one ever, a St.Regis in a junkyard, in late 2006)
    Imperial/Mirada/Cordoba J-body(Luxury Cars[really?].185HP from a mere 5.9L V8. Take that Mercedes-Benz!)

    • 0 avatar

      This is sarcasm, right?
      Almost without exception the cars you listed as your likes are all of the rust prone, expensive to maintain, oil burning and unreliable Mitsubishi based products. I have a feeling you never experienced those Mitsus in drag or were the person responsible for paying for one.
      How can you tell a Mitsu powered Chrysler product? Follow the smokescreen from the tailpipe. Nothing says “grenade” like a Mitsu Eclipse. I actually saw a Galant the other day, I thought those had all returned to iron oxide years ago. And yes, it was smoking.
      I’m still trying to recall the certain engines that were ‘pretty’ good. I’d take a 2.2 Trenton over ANY 4 pot Mitsu. Many people I’ve known have been turned off of Mistubishi-powered Chrysler products, due to the ‘smokin’ 3.0 liter V6’s from back in the day.
      Oh, yes, the Mitsu-based Chryslers were wonderful products </sarcasm>

    • 0 avatar

      The reason Colt and those others were reliable is because they were made by Mitsubishi. However, when the Colt received a redesign in 1993/4 it became worse.
      Chrysler has never built a good small car. The Neon looked good on paper but the actual built product had many problems with it.

    • 0 avatar

      @davin: There’s a reason why Mitusbishi’s sales in the US are so dismal. The products are NOT good, are NOT well built and DO NOT provide value for money. If they were better in all of those areas, we would be talking about Mitsubishi’s market share, not Toyota’s or Honda’s.

  • avatar

    Ignorance is bliss

  • avatar

    No wonder Chrysler vehicles are unreliable. Consumer Reports Magazine data shows Chrysler Group vehicle are the least reliable cars, not just of Detroit but of Europe autos. They are at teh bottom of the list. This is why we say dontbuychrysler

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