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  • Scary Studebaker/Chrysler parallels

    Chrysler has recently announced that some dealers who sell out as a part of Chrysler's dealer consolidation program will have the option to operate as a stand alone Chrysler service only center, no longer selling new Chryslers, but continuing to provide service to existing customers.

    It's no secret Cerberus is finding out they have bitten off a huge and possibly impossible project with their plan to save Chrysler. A Chrysler lender recently bailed out of a loan to Chrysler by selling a about a billion dollars worth of Chrysler debt for 61 cents on the dollar. Cerberus is getting very friendly with Nissan, announcing they will build the next generation of the Titan pick-up as a variant of the Ram, and the next Chrysler small car will now be a version of the Nissan Versa. Chrysler is also talking with Fiat about ways it can use Chrysler's huge unused production capacity to re-introduce Alfa-Romeo to the American market.

    This "Service Only" concept has not been used by a domestic make since......., well, all of us here know that answer. Stay tuned to this story.

    Kevin Wolford
    Plymouth, IN

    55 Champion
    60 Lark VI Conv.
    63 Avanti R1

  • #2
    Since they've already announced the agreement with Nissan, I can foresee Chrysler going in as part of the Renault-Nissan tie-up.

    Nissan has had little success in minivans; Chrysler is the leader.

    Nissan is "big" in small cars. Chrysler is not.

    Nissan has been disappointed in sales of its large pickup. Dodge has been successful with the Ram.

    The companies complement each other with little product overlap, and where there is overlap, it could easily be alleviated by doing away with Chrysler's weaker products. The recent Avenger/Sebring twins come to mind immediately.

    I think if any arrangement is made with Fiat (and I may be reading more into this than there really is), it will be for Fiat to purchase the Newark, Delaware plant. That's the one they're said to be discussing.

    There were a few Chrysler stand-alone service centers a number of years ago, Kevin, although I've no idea how many. The former Dodge dealer in Rockport, Indiana, Feigel Motor Co., continued as a service center after getting out of sales in '67. Mr. Feigel retired completely in the early '90s.

    Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

    KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!
    Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

    KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!

    Comment


    • #3
      All correct Jason, but no matter how you cut all of this, it's looking more like Chrysler won't exist as an independent entity soon, and Cerberus is shopping other automakers for buyers of Chrysler's best assets.

      Individual transitions from full dealership to service center have been arranged on a case by case basis from time to time. To announce it as policy for dealerships no longer needed due to lack of sales is troubling, and that's exactly how it was put.

      I remember Craig Parslow on the old Stude Newsgroup always thought Carl Ghosn would get a crack at proving himself in the American Market through an acquisition of Chrysler. Looks like Ghosn was smart to wait the first round out, and may be able to pick Jeep and Dodge Truck unencumbered, while Cerberus has to deal with the termination of Chrysler passenger car production (what little is left, that is).

      Chrysler produced 696,117 passenger cars in the U.S., and 170,409 in Canada for 2004. In 2007, Chrysler's numbers were 302,082 and 124,382 respectively. As a comparison, GM did 566,967 U.S. and 194,515 Canada for 2004, then 589,556 and 249,857 respectively for 2007. Chrysler, thanks to the LH cab forward cars, used to build more passenger cars in the U.S. than GM! The LX cars, Caliber, Sebring, etc. are total, indisputable sales chart failures, and have taken Chrysler under break even. 50% of their production is sold to fleets at huge discounts. The new minivans, not included in these numbers, are off 37% from sales of the previous models and the Honda Oddysey is now the #1 selling minivan. With pickup trucks struggling in the current market climate, the Ram just isn't enough to carry all the water. Industry websites are abuzz that Cerberus is looking for a way out.

      I sincerely hope I'm wrong. But it doesn't look or sound good.


      Kevin Wolford
      Plymouth, IN

      55 Champion
      60 Lark VI Conv.
      63 Avanti R1

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it could be good if their agreements abroad resulted in either Alfa Romeo or Renault coming back to the US. I know Renault doesn't have a really good reputation here, but I think the cars they make in Europe are better than the ones we usually saw here.

        Too bad it couldn't be Peugeot.
        "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by 556063

          <snip> This "Service Only" concept has not been used by a domestic make since......., well, all of us here know that answer.
          And that answer would be......., [u]AM General </u> with their [u]HUMMER "Service Only" Dealerships </u> throughout most of the '90's!
          But then again, AM General did have former Studebaker employees in their top management during that time. Of course, everyone knows AM General is an indirect descendent of Studebaker ...manufacturing vehicles in the South Bend area continuously since 1964.



          <h4>Last Man Standing in Studebaker Indiana</h4>

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by 556063
            Cerberus is getting very friendly with Nissan, announcing they will build the next generation of the Titan pick-up as a variant of the Ram, and the next Chrysler small car will now be a version of the Nissan Versa.
            Kevin Wolford
            Oh, no, Kevin! If I ever wear out my 2002 Dakota, I refuse to consider anything branded "Dakota Fair Lady" [:0] to replace it! BP
            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

            Ayn Rand:
            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm heartbroken too, Bob, but unfortunately, the damage done to the passenger car line has been just too much, and the price tag to retool and get competitive again would exceed the $60 Billion Cerberus claimed to have lined up to bring Chrysler back. Cerberus underestimated both the damage the previous owners had done, and the severity of the market climate they would have to work in.

              Signs of desperation are already strting to show. Former Toyota President Jim Press, now Chrysler Co-President, recently stuck his foot in his mouth, claiming the Japanese Government paid in full the development cost of the Toyota Prius Hybrid. A claim flatly denied by both Toyota and the Government of Japan. Press and Chrysler took a huge public relations and credibility torpedo on that fiasco.

              Former Home Depot and current Chrysler C.E.O. Bob Nardelli has been nicknamed "Minimum Bob" by some, paying overdue respect to former Chrysler President and now GM Vice President and "Product Czar", "Maximum Bob" Lutz.

              I know some are thinking "What about Challenger?" Again, the launch of Challenger shows the lack of thinking and execution Chrysler is being taken down by. In it's introductory form, at $40K+, it will be lucky to see 10,000 buyers the first year. Hardly enough to even slightly dent the over half million unit deficit Chrysler now has from it's production levels five years ago. The company is even boasting about holding production down to artificially support the pricing!

              The fact is, the decision to go with the current product line and not provide a competitive replacement for Intrepid and Neon will be looked back upon as the fatal decision that sunk Chrysler. The previous generation Sebring/Stratus tooling was sold by Daimler to Russia's GAZ. I wonder if Chrysler LLC could try to swap GAZ the current Sebring/Avenger tooling for the previous generation tooling? (Probably not, GAZ sales are through the roof since getting that tooling!)

              A sad story seems to be taking shape. Let's hope I'm wrong!

              Kevin Wolford
              Plymouth, IN

              55 Champion
              60 Lark VI Conv.
              63 Avanti R1

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to be excited about the Chrysler lineup until the latest Sebring came out, then I thought...

                What were they thinking!





                Leonard Shepherd
                http://leonardshepherd.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think Chrysler really messed up the Sebring ragtop in 2008 (there was no 2007 model). Before I bought my 2006, I rented a 2008 just to see if I liked it. Well, basically I did but the top design is terrible. The softop 2008 stows in the trunk. The trunk opens backward and the entire top goes in the trunk. Result is a really clean looking car when the top is down, but guess what happens to the trunk? You'd be lucky to put a golf bag in there with the top down. The 2006 Sebring retains its trunk with the top down so you can at least travel in it AND put the top down.

                  The entire mechanism in the 2008 looks like a maintenance nightmare and I can't even imagine what the hardtop convertible would be like.

                  quote:Originally posted by lstude

                  I used to be excited about the Chrysler lineup until the latest Sebring came out, then I thought...
                  Mark Anderson
                  Member SDC and FMCA
                  Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
                  http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                  My next Studebaker is in the future, but now getting my hair messed up in a Sebring ragtop!
                  Almost as fun as a Studebaker!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mark, I'm not sure if it's the lighting in the picture that Leonard posted, but if you notice, it looks like the gaps in the hardtop don't line up correctly. If it's that way now, when the car is new, what will it be like in a year? Two years? Five? Poor fit and issues with the top mechanism doomed the Ford Skyliner in the '50s ... something tells me that the Sebring hardtop convertible will meet a similar fate.

                    I went and test drove an Avenger sedan recently, and if you can get past the looks of the thing (I've just not been able to do that with the Sebring sedan), they actually aren't bad to drive. Horribly ugly, but nice to drive.

                    Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

                    KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!
                    Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

                    KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Chrysler products are either a love them or hate them. Personally, there are a few I do like. I like the 300, the Charger and the Magnum in particular. Even the Avenger I don't think looks bad.

                      As far as driving, my Sebring is FUN to drive. Lots of kick and handles really well. I'm getting 26 mph in the ragtop with the 2.7 DOHC engine.

                      Mark Anderson
                      Member SDC and FMCA
                      Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
                      http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                      My next Studebaker is in the future, but now getting my hair messed up in a Sebring ragtop!
                      Almost as fun as a Studebaker!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        quote:Originally posted by Scott

                        I think it could be good if their agreements abroad resulted in either Alfa Romeo or Renault coming back to the US.
                        I saw in AutoWeek that Alfa was planning a U.S. comeback.
                        The cars were priced at $100,000+ (or was it $200 K...I wasn't paying a lot of attention)...obviously not a volume seller.

                        Lets face it, for most European brands, the level of commitment required for a [u]real and meaningful</u> presence in the U.S. (as opposed to a few dealers in major markets) mean most are wisely going to stay away.

                        I drove a Peugeot awhile back in the U.K. Nice sedan in the Accord mold. But it you can't build a better car at a better price than Honda/Toyota/Ford/GM/Chrysler...I don't see much point in building a U.S. presence.

                        63 Avanti R1 2788
                        1914 Stutz Bearcat
                        (George Barris replica)

                        Washington State
                        63 Avanti R1 2788
                        1914 Stutz Bearcat
                        (George Barris replica)

                        Washington State

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mark, just be careful with that 2.7L engine. You've probably heard about those being a time bomb in the LH cars (Intrepid/Concorde), but it has also proven to be true in the other cars it's installed in. Unless you use synthetic or change your oil every 2500-3000 miles, you'll find a LOT of sludge in there when it dies for no apparent reason. Trust me; my aunt just paid off the loan she took out to have her car's second 2.7L engine installed (from Jasper Engines) and it died just before she made the last payment. Needless to say, she gave up at that point and had a friend of ours drag it to the auction. She's now driving a Cobalt.

                          Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

                          KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!
                          Jacob Newkirk - Owensboro, KY

                          KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL! Drive a Studebaker!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For alot of info.....just Google: "Chrysler 2.7 engine" and you will
                            find a whole steamer trunk full of stuff.

                            glen Brose - Perkinsville, AZ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by glen

                              For alot of info.....just Google: "Chrysler 2.7 engine" and you will
                              find a whole steamer trunk full of stuff.

                              glen Brose - Perkinsville, AZ
                              Mark Anderson
                              Member SDC and FMCA
                              Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
                              http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                              My next Studebaker is in the future, but now getting my hair messed up in a Sebring ragtop!
                              Almost as fun as a Studebaker!

                              Comment

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