Tuesday

Chrysler and Fiat sitting in a tree..........

If you, like me, woke up this morning to the news of Chrysler and Fiat getting in bed together and spit out your breakfast/coffee/whatever – then sit down, breathe deep, and relax. Let me give you some common sense things to think about.

Who really wins here? Chrysler GAVE 35% of themselves to Fiat in a NON-BINDING agreement to explore future collaborations (that’s a very distilled, simplified version). You read that right – Chrysler got not a dime from this transaction. So why bother? I’ll get to that in a second. So far, +0 to Chrysler, +1 to Fiat for getting something for nothing.

On the flip side Fiat gets access to a bloated dealer network in this country to peddle their wares. IF Fiat decides to give itself another run in the US selling cars, they already have the infrastructure in place to do so. +1 to Fiat, if this goes forward.

Thing is, there aren’t any US certified Fiat’s available. It takes a long time to retrofit even current models to meet emission and crash standards for another country. It’s not like you’ll start seeing Chrysler dealers able to sell and service Fiat’s tomorrow or even next month. Next year would be the most likely at the earliest, and that’s given perfect circumstances and smooth sailing. As we’re all VERY well aware, these are not perfect, smooth times.

Again though, Chrysler gets a quick way through Fiat into some emerging markets. That’s assuming that Chrysler can survive long enough to initiate a plan like that. Even the collaborations in tech, engineering, manufacturing facilities etc would take a substantial amount of TIME to gel or get to the point where anything fruitful would come of them. Time is a luxury that Chrysler does not have when their survival can be measured in weeks as opposed to years.

Remember too that a Chryler and Italian marriage has been tried before. Anyone remember the Chrysler TC by Maserati? Don't feel bad if you don't. It was a failed car that could easily be mistaken for a Lebaron with a trident on the grille. The three people that cared in the 80's are the only ones who remember or even care now. And if you REALLY want to know about it, I'd bet at least one of them runs a website dedicated to this unmemorable car.

Facing a hardcore deadline from the Senate, this move simply buys Chrysler some much needed time. It buys them a chance to go back before Congress and attempt to say that things are changing, they’re building their future, blah blah blah blah. MAYBE from that they’ll be able to secure some more of our mon…. I mean government money to try and survive just a little bit longer.

For what though? Their current owners, Cerberus, won’t sink another dime into them. Fiat didn’t cough up a red cent for their stake. And there is no clear, immediate payoff. Plus the UAW applauds the plan. Those are all clues, folks. This basically becomes a publicity stunt to try to show that Chrysler hasn’t completely died.

And people might actually buy it......as long as they don’t look behind the curtain.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I heard a funny comment about this union - that this is like attaching the Hindenburg to the Titanic.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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