The Chrysler Sale

Daimler-Benz is selling off Chrysler to Cerberus, a private-equity firm. After the division lost $1.5 billion last year, I can hardly blame the Germans for that one, but it does leave me a little worried about my favorite U.S. carmaker. Chrysler in the past few years seems to be willing to respond to all the criticism frequently levied on American carmakers, save one major point: Can anyone name a fuel-efficient Chrysler model? I guess there’s the P.O.S. Dodge Neon—vague disclosure, my family may or may not have owned one in the past few years—but the gas savings there generally come from avoiding what my bro calls “the bare minimum of what can be put together and called a car.”

Dodge ChallengerFor real though, Chrysler has rolled out cars that are aggressively marketed and un-bland (though that Caliber “silly little fairy” ad took things into the realm of offensive homophobia), reversing that ultra-boring mid-’90s movement towards autos with names like “Sonata” and “Riviera”. While it was still popular, they jumped in big-time on the huge-SUV/truck movement (you should see the Ram truck that my bro’s Cajun friend drives) and remain the undisputed king of minivans (that sounds lame, but think how many families are out there that need the transport.) Finally, they’re out front on the tough-car revival with the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, plus the upcoming Challenger, which I would in no way turn down as a gift from the readaship.

Maybe all of that appeals to me as a dude in the 18-34 demographic, and the company is in fact too masculine in its approach. (Chrysler does indeed lack a Jetta ripoff.) I can’t be too optimistic about the sale of a unionized shop to a private-equity firm named after hell’s guard-dog, because 13,000 people are already going to lose their quality jobs, and who knows how many after that.

Both my hometown roots and my urban elite sense are pissed at this one: the roots because we may witness the crushing of a union shop, and the elite because we may lose a culture that wasn’t afraid to roll out new design ideas. Either way, not cool.

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One Response to “The Chrysler Sale”

  1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter who ones it I won’t be buying an American car anytime soon. I just can’t put that kind of money into a product I know is inferior. I am sure if I wanted a sports car it might be different, but when you want a nice, reliable car that won’t rattle, break down or anything, I am going to go to Toyota or Honda right now.

    It is a shame, too, because I would like to spend my money here. They should spend less money on new designs and more money on fuel efficiency and better engineering. I mean it isn’t like the camry or accord are artistic beauties or a paradigm shift in design. I mean really, they are about the bare minimum of simple sedan design.

    Posted by Craig | May 14th, 2007 at 2:20 pm

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