by Curtis Redgap
As Allpar predicted some time ago, the eggs laid by Mr. Eaton have finally grown up to be chickens, and have come home to roost. Tonight on NBC news, the short announcement was made that the Newark Plant was being closed, and layoffs would occur in over six other production facillities. “Erratic sales over several months," was cited as the reason.
Probably having spent an inordinate amount of time at my favorite Chrysler store has given me some insights that you aren't going to hear from the goofy leader CEO in Auburn Hills.
Anyone seen the new Sebring Coupe? I am telling you, style wise, it is a real attention getter. The front end almost looks like the new 2002 T-Bird. The rear, well, sorta like the 300. However, on the showroom floor, people want to believe it is......... (GASP) a PLYMOUTH! And they are stunned to learn that Chrysler is no longer building Plymouth. When they see it is a Chrysler, they just look confused.
A sort of different occurance happens when folks look at the new 2001 vans. A lot of them are return buyers. "Where's the new Plymouth Voyagers?" When they are told that Plymouth no longer exists, they act stunned. When shown the "Chrysler" Voyager, the reaction is nearly universal. "Oh, well, we really can't afford a Chrysler."
And the company says that sales have been "erratic?" Well, no kidding. The single best selling make that Chrysler ever had, and with dimwitted logic, they decide to cut that vehicle brand. Now they are facing the reality that without an entry into the "low priced field", they cannot compete. And with the stock being down some (ready for this?) 40%....... yes, I did say FORTY PER CENT, I would like to believe that all the good stock holders in America anyway, are getting a long awaited wake up call.
Unless someone acts, and does so VERY quickly now, Chrysler as a manufacturing entity in the USA has a very substantial risk of going away. There would be no recovery. Don't think it can't happen. In the car business when a company is percieved as being weak it is like a call to the sharks, and they begin circling chasing the blood trail.
DaimlerChrysler as an entity, does not just manufacture automobiles in the USA. They have substantial holdings in trucks, diesel engines (just bought out the Penske part of Detroit Diesel) car parts, busses, and various other automotive ventures throughout the world. Losing Chrysler would be a loss, but potentially one that Daimler and Benz could absorb and recover from fairly quickly.
Plymouth needs to be revitalized and put on the forefront of Chrysler In the traditional way, Plymouth was always the draw to get people in to the showrooms. Only now, Plymouth would need to be a stand alone place, as promised so many years ago. It is the only way Chrysler will stand a chance of survival in the business. Dodge cannot provide the "low priced, high value" image that exuded from Plymouth.
It is a shame that Chrysler has come to this. It could have been knocking on Chevrolet's door right now had the correct course been chosen. I don't why everyone seems to think that General Motors is not reachable. Ford is showing the world how to get it done. Chrysler needs to ge back in the hunt, and Plymouth needs to be showing the way.
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