Allpar Forums banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if this is in the wrong place.

Occasionally they'll be an article that references a particular year of the Chrysler corp. Reading that article I almost get sick to my stomach. Just because 3 years later they would be facing bankruptcy. I have read the entire era of the corp from 1970 to 79 and it's still unreal to me that this great company wasn't able to dig it self out. It seemed like there were so many variables that putting an exact finger on exactly the how they got to that point is still confusing. I know when Lee took over things were in disarray. But still how could a company that built so many nice looking cars be the one that ended up like it did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,389 Posts
Sorry if this is in the wrong place.

Occasionally they'll be an article that references a particular year of the Chrysler corp. Reading that article I almost get sick to my stomach. Just because 3 years later they would be facing bankruptcy. I have read the entire era of the corp from 1970 to 79 and it's still unreal to me that this great company wasn't able to dig it self out. It seemed like there were so many variables that putting an exact finger on exactly the how they got to that point is still confusing. I know when Lee took over things were in disarray. But still how could a company that built so many nice looking cars be the one that ended up like it did.
74 on was a struggle, the movement to fuel efficiency and the reality of the detuned engines hit them hard on company that lived on durability and Performance. The incoming models were so inferior to models they replaced it was hard to reconcile. Some of the best model were left over like the Dart. I remember it well. They got into the capacity and accounting focused spiral where the product or customer was no longer the focus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Having lived through those times, I think another factor was that...somewhere along the way...Chrysler had lost its spirit of innovation..."edge", if you will. They seemed to be just content to be a follower of whatever the competition was doing.

Even in the designs of the period it seemed that they were warming over GM designs from the previous model year or two.

I suppose another word that would have described the time would be complacency.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
36,950 Posts
Chrysler sold fewer cars, therefore the costs of new regulations (fuel economy, emissions, safety) hit them harder.
This is why, despite protests of chasing margins rather than volume, volume still counts for a lot.
GM sold 4.7 million cars in 1976, Ford sold 2.5 million, and Chrysler 1.1 million.
The cost to research and develop the solutions would not vary significantly per manufacturer so, for example, emissions costs would add around 4x the cost to a Chrysler Corporation car as it did to a GM car.
At the time anti-trust laws were very strict. Each of the Big 3 had to develop solutions separately. Only AMC benefited somewhat from the work other manufacturers did. However, the Japanese were free to share these costs among themselves if they so desired.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,518 Posts
Chrysler sold fewer cars, therefore the costs of new regulations (fuel economy, emissions, safety) hit them harder.
This is why, despite protests of chasing margins rather than volume, volume still counts for a lot.
GM sold 4.7 million cars in 1976, Ford sold 2.5 million, and Chrysler 1.1 million.
The cost to research and develop the solutions would not vary significantly per manufacturer so, for example, emissions costs would add around 4x the cost to a Chrysler Corporation car as it did to a GM car.
At the time anti-trust laws were very strict. Each of the Big 3 had to develop solutions separately. Only AMC benefited somewhat from the work other manufacturers did. However, the Japanese were free to share these costs among themselves if they so desired.
And let's not forget that they were also wasting precious resources on overeseas operations that they never should have acquired. Once again, bad management decisions almost sunk the company. They already bought components from companies like GM, so it wasn't prohibited. As I recall engines that required A.I.R. pumps used GM models. They cheapened the F bodied cars and they rusted front fenders bad. This made national news. I can go on and on. Not a good decade for them at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,050 Posts
Bingo!!

It's too bad historical current events topics are banned here.

Rochester engineer Doug Roe called-- it -- a pell-mell rush to disaster.

Thanks
Randy


[QUOTE="valiant67,
At the time anti-trust laws were very strict. Each of the Big 3 had to develop solutions separately. Only AMC benefited somewhat from the work other manufacturers did. However, the Japanese were free to share these costs among themselves if they so desired.[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
"It's too bad historical current events topics are banned here."

Is that right?..... Is it breaking some kind of rule bringing up the real Chrysler Corp?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,726 Posts
I’m still not sure what a “historical current event” is?:confused:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bob Lincoln

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,773 Posts
Sorry if this is in the wrong place.

Occasionally they'll be an article that references a particular year of the Chrysler corp. Reading that article I almost get sick to my stomach. Just because 3 years later they would be facing bankruptcy. I have read the entire era of the corp from 1970 to 79 and it's still unreal to me that this great company wasn't able to dig it self out. It seemed like there were so many variables that putting an exact finger on exactly the how they got to that point is still confusing. I know when Lee took over things were in disarray. But still how could a company that built so many nice looking cars be the one that ended up like it did.
In addition to the above mentioned engineering problems, the company management was taken over by John Riccardo, a "bean counter", rather than a car guy like Lynn Townsend had been. As mentioned above, those of us that had been raised with Chrysler Corp vehicles renowned for durability and performance slowly became disillusioned with what began to come down the Chrysler assembly lines after about 1974.

IMO, the company has never been able to get back to the durability and reliability level and reputation that they had back in the 60s and early 70s.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,368 Posts
Economy of scale had a lot to do with it. Having to develop technologies independently was another. Diversity from the core business was yet another (except that the defense and Huntsville divisions may have been profitable). Federal requirements for passenger cars for emissions and safety regulations cost the smaller companies dearly.
I was at Highland Park engineering in 1977 on a field trip.
Engineers were spinning a door latch with a weight on it in a centrifuge to see at what 'g's' the latch would fail. There was a Federal spec on the g-force required to break the latch open.
They were measuring the torque required to raise and lower a door glass with an inch-pound torque wrench at the crank handle. Of course the door assembly didn't have a trim or bolster panel attached. There was a Federal spec on that limit as well. Later in the field, we would find out that those torque measurements were bogus as the bolster trim rubbed the glass and made the window very stiff to roll up. It also scratched the glass.
This was just the tip of the iceberg for Federal interventions and rush to development while the engineers could be spending more time and money actually making cars better in a smarter way.
I am all for well-executed, safe and clean vehicles, but Chrysler may have been hamstrung and wasteful more than most other manufacturers. It was a big company at the time, but they seemed to fall the hardest when it came to being adaptable and lean.
They seem to almost go out of business about every 10 years and wind up reinventing the company and clawing their way back from the precipice. Morale tanks and the company implodes. I hope that those days are over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,518 Posts
In addition to the above mentioned engineering problems, the company management was taken over by John Riccardo, a "bean counter", rather than a car guy like Lynn Townsend had been. As mentioned above, those of us that had been raised with Chrysler Corp vehicles renowned for durability and performance slowly became disillusioned with what began to come down the Chrysler assembly lines after about 1974.

IMO, the company has never been able to get back to the durability and reliability level and reputation that they had back in the 60s and early 70s.
I really wish I could hit "like" button 1000 times. Riccardo was absolutely the wrong guy, Robert Anderson would've been the right guy. This wasn't the first, or last time the wrong guy led the company. 74 to about 82 or 83 wasn't a good time in their history.

Link to Bob's obit. Robert Anderson, 85; made Rockwell an aerospace titan (at https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-nov-03-me-anderson3-story.html )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Economy of scale had a lot to do with it. Having to develop technologies independently was another. Diversity from the core business was yet another (except that the defense and Huntsville divisions may have been profitable). Federal requirements for passenger cars for emissions and safety regulations cost the smaller companies dearly.
I was at Highland Park engineering in 1977 on a field trip.
Engineers were spinning a door latch with a weight on it in a centrifuge to see at what 'g's' the latch would fail. There was a Federal spec on the g-force required to break the latch open.
They were measuring the torque required to raise and lower a door glass with an inch-pound torque wrench at the crank handle. Of course the door assembly didn't have a trim or bolster panel attached. There was a Federal spec on that limit as well. Later in the field, we would find out that those torque measurements were bogus as the bolster trim rubbed the glass and made the window very stiff to roll up. It also scratched the glass.
This was just the tip of the iceberg for Federal interventions and rush to development while the engineers could be spending more time and money actually making cars better in a smarter way.
I am all for well-executed, safe and clean vehicles, but Chrysler may have been hamstrung and wasteful more than most other manufacturers. It was a big company at the time, but they seemed to fall the hardest when it came to being adaptable and lean.
They seem to almost go out of business about every 10 years and wind up reinventing the company and clawing their way back from the precipice. Morale tanks and the company implodes. I hope that those days are over.
I'm sure what you're saying is correct as well. But after reading the companies history from about 73 to 79, I still can't put a finger on why their cars fell out of favor with the consumers. There was also the recall issues. In those days recalls almost stood for "failure". They were saddled with the biggest recall in auto history(later replaced by GM and it's crappy x-cars). It just seemed like everything that could be made a big deal of, especially with the media went against Chrysler. Chrysler's management and factories at the time needed an overhaul. Neither of which happened until Lee I stepped into management position.

Playing from behind didn't help as well as they fell into a trap of coming out with "right" cars late in the game. They were so straddled keeping up with Federal laws that the closest thing getting ahead was just breaking even. The Carter administration had basically told Chrysler, "you got yourselves in this mess, and you can dig out of it as well."

But when Lee took over and saw how the company had been managed it became apparent to him that he had a total mess on his hands. After Lee had really gotten into the past workings of the company from management, engineering and communication with the factories stand point, you wondered how they were able to produce what they did.

A LOT of Chrysler's downfall could be contributed to the oil embargo as well. Once that set in the fickle consumer now demanded gas mileage cars. The media acted like the entire problem was somehow Detroit's failure at producing nothing but big thirsty cars. They needed a whipping post and Chrysler was a convenient source. 1979 was the end of the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,050 Posts
Some of Chryslers problems were self inflicted but many were due to the federal govt.

EG: Illegal for Ford, GM and Chrysler To collaborate on emissions where the Japanese could.

Etc, Etc, Etc......

"Rochester engineer Doug Roe called-- it -- a pell-mell rush to disaster."

These topics have been traditionally banned at Allpar as they are considered political.

Thanks
Randy

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,050 Posts
Hope your post doesn't get eliminated or the topic locked !!!

That's usually what happens when the discussion starts to lean towards "historical current events"

Thanks
Randy

Having to develop technologies independently was another. Federal requirements for passenger cars for emissions and safety regulations cost the smaller companies dearly. I was at Highland Park engineering in 1977 on a field trip. Engineers were spinning a door latch with a weight on it in a centrifuge to see at what 'g's' the latch would fail. There was a Federal spec on the g-force required to break the latch open.
They were measuring the torque required to raise and lower a door glass with an inch-pound torque wrench at the crank handle. Of course the door assembly didn't have a trim or bolster panel attached. There was a Federal spec on that limit as well. Later in the field, we would find out that those torque measurements were bogus as the bolster trim rubbed the glass and made the window very stiff to roll up. It also scratched the glass. This was just the tip of the iceberg for Federal interventions and rush to development while the engineers could be spending more time and money actually making cars better in a smarter way.
I am all for well-executed, safe and clean vehicles, but Chrysler may have been hamstrung and wasteful more than most other manufacturers. It was a big company at the time, but they seemed to fall the hardest when it came to being adaptable and lean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,502 Posts
I really wish I could hit "like" button 1000 times. Riccardo was absolutely the wrong guy, Robert Anderson would've been the right guy. This wasn't the first, or last time the wrong guy led the company. 74 to about 82 or 83 wasn't a good time in their history.

Link to Bob's obit. Robert Anderson, 85; made Rockwell an aerospace titan (at https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-nov-03-me-anderson3-story.html )
Besides Robert Anderson, I read once at the Forwardlook forums, some wondered where Chrysler would had been today if Walter P. Chrysler had chosen Joseph Frazer instead of K.T. Keller as his successor?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,518 Posts
I'm sure what you're saying is correct as well. But after reading the companies history from about 73 to 79, I still can't put a finger on why their cars fell out of favor with the consumers. There was also the recall issues. In those days recalls almost stood for "failure". They were saddled with the biggest recall in auto history(later replaced by GM and it's crappy x-cars). It just seemed like everything that could be made a big deal of, especially with the media went against Chrysler. Chrysler's management and factories at the time needed an overhaul. Neither of which happened until Lee I stepped into management position.

Playing from behind didn't help as well as they fell into a trap of coming out with "right" cars late in the game. They were so straddled keeping up with Federal laws that the closest thing getting ahead was just breaking even. The Carter administration had basically told Chrysler, "you got yourselves in this mess, and you can dig out of it as well."

But when Lee took over and saw how the company had been managed it became apparent to him that he had a total mess on his hands. After Lee had really gotten into the past workings of the company from management, engineering and communication with the factories stand point, you wondered how they were able to produce what they did.

A LOT of Chrysler's downfall could be contributed to the oil embargo as well. Once that set in the fickle consumer now demanded gas mileage cars. The media acted like the entire problem was somehow Detroit's failure at producing nothing but big thirsty cars. They needed a whipping post and Chrysler was a convenient source. 1979 was the end of the road.
There were a variety of reasons, but the Carter adminstration signed into law their loan guarantees. Lean Burn wasn't a huge success liked they'd hoped, it was ahead of it's time and trouble probed after mileage began to add up. I look back at that time and compare it to all the fuel injection computer controlled engines that came in the 90s, and the 70s emmissions standards don't seem so complicated. But yet Chrysler finally banished the drivability issues with the 90s tech which was done mostly by them and their suppliers.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top