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The Chrysler Question (2001)

The death of Plymouth is a sad commentary on the state of America's history, as well as the shape of the country's economic forecast.

James P. HoldenI checked in with ALLPAR last night and was surprised to see the web site for saving Chrysler [URL removed due to takeover by spammers]. I wish them best efforts, and applaud your support. I hope it has success, but money, unfortunately  is the only motivation that seems to power stockholders.

I can say that this stock holder voted “no” on the merger in ’98, and against Schrempp always. While I do not hold as much stock, thanks to DCX's ratio, and it may seem largely ceremonial in size, it dates back to 1930, thank you. I do not date that far, but thanks to the journals of my Dad, I have a pretty good picture of what used to be, what should have been, and unfortunately, a prognostication of what is going to be. Not good for Chrysler.

Last week, a friend of mine handed me a copy of Automobile.  The cover was slickly done, and in itself it is probably an excellent magazine. The major malfunction however, turned out to be the editorial staff. It is lead by none other than David E Davis. DED, as in dead not deed. Philosophically, I have disagreed with this man going way back to his Car and Driver stint as editor. He is sort of like the nattering gadfly, which goes to a function for a purpose but seems to forget why.

In the March 2001 issue of Automobile, DED makes mention of Chrysler and, as he characterizes him: “my old friend Robert Eaton.” The column is titled “Some clouds have a silver lining.” To me, this is perfect DED. Discoursing about hunting in the 10,000 places he shot things in. Rambling forth about the dogs, whether it was his dogs, friends dogs, other people's dogs, or dogs he has seen. And natterbobbing about the great potent potables he was consumed in the ever increasing quanities he describes. It is the same, just as it was back in the early 1980s when he was supposed to be writing about cars and drivers.

In the Automobile column, DED went on to make Eaton look like a hero instead of the sneaky idiot that he truly is. Let me quote the part of the column:

It begins to look as though my old friend Robert Eaton may not have been as stupid in selling Chrysler to DaimlerBenz as the chattering classes would have us believe. Chrysler was in trouble before anybody with a German accent showed up in the lobby. There was at least an outside chance that former Chrysler chairman Eaton actually may have outsmarted the nice people from Stuttgart and made himself and the former Chrysler shareholders a lot more money than if he'd sat still with no merger or buyout in sight and waited for the impending bad news about Chrysler losses to come to light.

Make any conclusion you want, but this is DED in the truest sense of the words he puts down. Years after the stabbing in the back, the outright (and conclusively proved and admitted to) lies from Stuttgart to Auburn Hills, DED puts Eaton on the pedestal. What acrimony!

Eaton himself made the most money in the American side of the deal, walking away with $216 million and change. Shareholders lost money with the exchange rate Deutschmarks to Dollars. And the big shots divided up $7.7 BILLION.

Three weeks ago, Bob Lutz was interviewed in a TV auto magazine about his recent move to be the Product Development VIP at General Motors. Here was the man that could have made Chryler the greatest car company in America, having already put it in the position of the hottest automobile biz in the world! And DED's "old friend" went behind Mr. Lutz's back, preferring not to mention the impending doom of Chrysler to Mr. Lutz, Mr Gale, and a few other good car people who believed in the future of Chrysler as it was then. Lutz had concepts that were stunning as well as being production capable that would have brought customers into Chrysler showrooms in droves like shades of 1955 and 1957.

Yes, the question did come up to Mr. Lutz about Chrysler. It was like a mask dropped across his face. His comment was sorta like a "no comment." He was not divisive, however, he simply stated: "Can anyone believe that the present situation at Chrysler is going to save the company?" Conclusion: Badge engineering platforms from around the world, without a car of its own, will seal the doom of the Auburn Hills based car company.

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