QOTD: Is Chrysler Still Viable?
Chrysler's big news at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show was -- a concept interior.
Not a car. Just an interior. We'd hoped to see more related to the Airflow, though we do note that perhaps this interior previews the Airflow's cabin.
Naturally, I am wondering, as I do sometimes, if Chrysler is long for this world.
To be clear, I mean Chrysler the brand. Stellantis, the parent company, seems fine. But Chrysler's place in it -- presumably as an American luxury brand -- always seems shaky. And it will until we see more in the way of future products.
The thing is, I think the product Chrysler currently offers isn't bad. The brand makes the most out of the aging 300, and the Pacifica is one of the best minivans on the market. The Airflow does intrigue me.
We're not yet at the point where we'd start a Chrysler death watch. But what does the future hold?
Sound off below.
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AJR on Jan 06, 2023
Is Chrysler still viable? That all depends on the market and the European board of directors. I don't see the Chrysler brand going away in the next few years, but I have a feeling it will be gone in the 2030s, 2040s, or so. The brand just doesn't have the market image it used to have and it has pretty much become irrelevant in the market place. Would anybody notice or care if it was cancelled tomorrow?
Plus, it doesn't help that Stellantis is loaded with more car brands than any other car company, and I can see the board, or a future CEO, decide to trim the brands as a cost cutting/consolidation move down the road. It happened to the once largest car company in the world, GM. It could happen here as well as the company tries to reign in costs. I also don't see Dodge lasting long term either, but it at least has an identity now which does help keep it going.
The other factor is that the American marketplace is becoming more saturated with car brands. Where does Chrysler fit? What differentiates Chrysler from all these other brands vying to get attention and the almighty dollar?
Chrysler used to be a near-luxury brand, much like Buick. You didn't have to be super rich to own one, but you couldn't buy one for Plymouth money either. It was a car known for its engineering and luxury. You were doing well if you owned a Chrysler back in the day. That just isn't the case any more as I believe car brands like Acura, Genesis, Lexus and lower priced Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have taken that market over. Just like Chrysler, that is why Buick is having trouble and is suffering an identity crisis. So, would it be smart to drop a lot of investment dollars into Chrysler and try to compete in that segment again? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Chrysler's image has been destroyed by lousy product, poor quality, and nonexistent messaging over several decades.
Can it move down-market and compete against the Fords, Chevys, Kias, Hyundais, Toyotas, and Hondas of the world? I don't think so either. Those brands are far too powerful and ingrained into the American marketplace. So, the only thing left to do is to make it an all-EV brand and hope for the best. Thankfully, no other automotive brands have decided to become 100% EV in the future, right?!?
In the end, it all depends on whether Chrysler makes money for its European owners. As long as it does that, it will hang on. Once it becomes a drag on profits, however, watch what happens.