The end of Chrysler?


#1

The CEO of FCA is expected to announce the elimination of the Chrysler name entirely at their next board meeting. If he does, it will be the end of an era. But not an entirely unexpected one. They currently only produce the 300 and one minivan model. How Chrysler has remained alive for this long is a miracle. As is well known, Chrysler has been on life support of one form or another since before 1978, the year Lee Iacocca went there from Ford.

Chrysler’s convoluted history is studied in business grad programs worldwide, and now that the story has its final chapter (assuming the news is accurate) it’ll be analyzed more extensively than ever.

I’m sure most of us have Chrysler stories. In the '80s, I worked with an already-once-retired engineer who remembered the Chrysler New Yorkers of his youth and always wanted one. His wife passed, and, being financially secure, he used the insurance money to buy the New Yorker that he’d always wanted… well, sort of. Three of us traveled in his new New Yorker to a hotel in Danvers, Mass. (about 50 miles from our company), to a week-long seminar in applied statistics for engineers. Frankly the New Yorker was by that time a gussied-up K-car… a cramped piece of very cheesy design and manufacturing. It was a poor shadow of the New Yorkers of the '50s and '60s.

It’ll be the end of an era, and the end of a once-proud nameplate.


#2

Well we’ll see what happens but just because a guy makes $60 million a year doesn’t mean he’s any good at business. Look at the wisdom of combining a weak Kmart with a weak Sears?


#3

They have made some of the least reliable cars for the last several decades! What do you expect? If FCA is smart, they will keep the good parts in other brands such as Fiat, Jeep, or Dodge and eliminate the bad.


#4

Chrysler is simply a brand name just like Plymouth or Pontiac. It may be the parent company’s name but the car is just a derivative of an obsolete Mercedes E Class with Hemi and the Pacifica is a derivative of a Dodge Caravan.

Given how many posts we see here about problems with some rather new FCA products, quality is not really IN FCA’s wheelhouse. Chrysler got a baaad case of the “Fiats” and it just can’t shake it!

In business, all things eventually come to an end. some with a whimper (Radio Shack) and some with a Bang (Enron)


#5

I not trying to be a jokester, but… is there really ANYTHING about the FIAT that is good in terms of quality?
Yes, they are nicely-styled and they drive nicely (at least, at first), but the quality of that marque is universally bad.

I reserved decision about the quality of the modern-day FIAT until they had been up & running in the US for at least a few years, but even after any initial teething problems should have run their course, FIAT still comes in at the bottom of the heap in regard to frequency of repair.
:thinking:


#6

I think that their decline actually began well before the advent of the K-car!
My brother’s first wife bought a brand-new Plymouth Barracuda ('71 or '72 model year, IIRC), and that car had the absolute worst assembly quality that I ever saw.

The paint looked like it had been applied with a broom, the vinyl roof had lumps under the surface that were very obvious, and some interior panels and body panels were badly misaligned. The rear window defroster was a forced-air blower, and the mechanism was attached to the underside of the rear package shelf… or at least it was supposed to be attached there. I investigated that area because of really bad banging and rattling, and I found that only one of the three attachment bolts was actually there, and this one bolt was so loose that the mechanism was dangling and in imminent danger of becoming detached.

Additionally, the A/C compressor grenaded at ~the 13 month mark, and the engine drank oil like a drunken sailor. That car was a rolling piece of crap!
:unamused:


#7

I was a proud Chrysler owner of several vehicles, and worked in a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in the 70s.

I didn’t realize it then (at the dealership) how the quality of the new cars shipped to us was suffering. Chrysler was going through hard times then, and Lee Iacocca didn’t show up until 1978.

For me, the real demise started when Kirk Kerkorian’s hostile takeover happened in the mid 90s. The DaimlerChrysler partnership era didn’t serve Chrysler well. The final nail was in the mid 2000s when it was acquired by an LLC, where quality was not a priority.


#8

I hear the check engine light bulb is top notch. :wink:


#9

I had several relatives who worked at the New Process Gear plant in East Syracuse NY. My brother-in-law started there and then moved to Michigan for his last 10 years at Chryco as plant manager. That plant closed about 10 years ago. At one point it was the LARGEST producer of 4wd transfer cases in the world. Only 40% of what they built there went into Chryco/Dodge trucks.

Chryco built some very solid engines. The Slant-6 was one of the most bullet proof engines ever built. The 318 was also an extremely reliable engine. But Chryco didn’t pay a lot to attention to detail on the rest of the vehicle. Their Dodge Aspin and Plymouth Volare’ were very unreliable vehicles. Engines were fine, but other parts weren’t. Front fenders rusting out after only 2 years, everyone I knew who owned one had to have their carb rebuilt/replace less then 4 years old. My Dad’s 77 Aspin had a warped fly-wheel. Never heard of that happening on a vehicle. For years their quality control was pitiful.


#10

Still, what an iconic skyscraper in New York City. It will always be known as the Chrysler building, whatever the changes in ownership, past or future.


#11

At the risk of sounding too pessimistic, I think the entire future of FCA is in doubt. Long term forecasts indicate only 7 major auto manufacturers will survive, and FCA will not be one of them. Only the Italian government and the unions want them to survive, but the unions are completely inflexible about plant closures and efficiency improvements.

Fiat wanted Chrysler only for the Jeep name and the dealer network. None of their cars are really saleable here in the long run. Ferrari is operated as a separate company.

So, don’t buy nay FCA product with the aim of long term ownership! My wife has friends who with good intention bought Saturns, Oldsmobiles, Mercuries, and Mitsubishi cars.


#12

The end of Chrysler , not exactly a surprise .


#13

But we will still have the Chrysler Building in New York, unless the owners change the mane, like the Sears Tower.


#14

It’ll likely still be known by everyone as the Chrysler Building, just as the Sears Tower is still known as the Sears Tower. It’ll be a generation or two before that changes.


#15

I would consider it very arrogant of myself to think I’m qualified to be judging the business decisions of a self-made multi-billionaire.


#16

In Dover NH there’s a spot called “Weeks Traffic Circle”. It’s no longer a Traffic Circle and the Weeks restaurant is not there either. But people still call it “Weeks Traffic Circle”.


#17

He should have bought the New Yorker of his youth, say a 53-58.


#18

In Allenstown NH there’s a store that has always been Bi-Wise market. A few years ago the name changed to Sully’s. Everyone still knows it as Bi-Wise.


#19

Sully’s bought them? The Sully’s in Salem closed about 10 years ago. But the one in Goffstown is still open. Didn’t know they had more.

I remember that area in Allenstown when they had all the flooding years ago. Use to go to Bear Brook St Pk for many times. Haven’t been up that way in years.


#20

folks had a windstar van they loved. headgaskets and all. bought a odyssey next. after the trans died they bought a chrysler minvan 2yrs ago? its an 2012? i think they are on borrowed time myself with the latest van