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Thought this was somewhat relevant to the discussion started in the Rumblings & Rant article.

SOURCE: C|Net

Chrysler plans for the future
Posted by Wayne Cunningham
September 4, 2008 6:43 PM PDT

At the Western Automotive Journalists' dinner this week, Jim Press, President of Chrysler, told me exactly what I wanted to hear. When I asked how he plans on differentiating the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands, he put it this way: Jeep will remain an iconic off-roader, with no soft-roaders spoiling the brand; Dodge will be the performance brand, but will also be a volume play; and Chrysler focuses on luxury, competing with brands like Acura. Maybe this type of brand differentiation just fits conventional wisdom, but it seems like a smart plan to me. But in speaking more generally about the cars he wants the Chrysler corporation to produce, Press said that they should appeal to enthusiasts, that he wasn't interested in making an appliance. Companies such as BMW have done a good job with that strategy, but Toyota has risen to the top based on its decidedly non-visceral Camry. This point was particularly interesting based on the fact that Press headed Toyota Motors North America before coming over to Chrysler.

The dinner was a great opportunity to hear from a top player in the automotive industry, and more importantly, to get an idea of what's going to happen at Chrysler. Press spent a while talking about how American automakers have been yearning for the past, and developing their strategies based on how things used to be. The paradigm of Detroit became the more cars you sell, the more money you lose. "For every four Crossfires we sold," Press said, "we had to lay off one employee." At Chrysler, he is working on cutting production, something that has become surprisingly difficult to do amongst American automakers, as production cuts entail renegotiating supplier and union contracts. But Chrysler currently has greater flexibility, as it is a private corporation, so not beholden to quarterly reports.
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Best quotes of the article:

When I asked how he plans on differentiating the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands, he put it this way: Jeep will remain an iconic off-roader, with no soft-roaders spoiling the brand; Dodge will be the performance brand, but will also be a volume play; and Chrysler focuses on luxury, competing with brands like Acura.
At Chrysler, he is working on cutting production, something that has become surprisingly difficult to do amongst American automakers....
Clear, distinct, and little overlap. Kill the deadwood, keep what works.

Chrysler is a much smaller company and has their own problems. But they have made progress - and there is something here that both GM and FoMoCo that can learn.

Just my opinion of course...
 

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Good article. While not a Jeep buyer, I agree with Press about getting rid of the soft-roader Jeeps like the Compass. The Compass is probably a decent vehicle, but it should never have been sold under the Jeep banner. If Chrysler ever wanted to revive Plymouth as a youth division, the Compass with a revised front end would be a good fit. I always liked it better than the Caliber.

I wish Chrysler success in the coming years. They are my second favorite automaker out there behind GM.
 

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I'll believe what Chrysler LLC says when it stops producing weak, uncompetitive products like the Sebring.
Let's not limit the criticism to just the Sebring. Much of what Chrysler makes is sub-par.

I'm not quite so sure what it is about some American auto companies that from time to time compel them to disclose their business strategy; somehow, it never comes across as all that convincing. We've heard promise after promise from Detroit. Frequently, they've failed to deliver.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a particularly big fan of Toyota's products. But I can recognize that as a business, they truly have no equal in the auto industry. One of their more admirable public corporate qualities is deference; you never really hear Toyota boast of present and future plans. They simply deliver. And when they do deliver, it's generally understated.

Funny now that Press has jumped ship he's caught Detroit's most communicable disease: diarrhea of the mouth. Jim, you don't have to tell us what's going to happen with Chrysler Group. Just git 'r done.
 

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Good article. While not a Jeep buyer, I agree with Press about getting rid of the soft-roader Jeeps like the Compass. The Compass is probably a decent vehicle, but it should never have been sold under the Jeep banner. If Chrysler ever wanted to revive Plymouth as a youth division, the Compass with a revised front end would be a good fit. I always liked it better than the Caliber.

I wish Chrysler success in the coming years. They are my second favorite automaker out there behind GM.
The compass would be a good dodge product or dump it. I think I would keep the Patriot at Jeep. Also Dodge, needs a new grille...that horsecollar is getting stale. 2012 is too slow, must a supplier thing, I would be think that my 2010 would be better. A plan won't save any money until actions are taken.
 

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One of their more admirable public corporate qualities is deference; you never really hear Toyota boast of present and future plans. They simply deliver. And when they do deliver, it's generally understated.
That's tough to say. Do you read all of the news in Japan? I don't, but I'm sure there's some sort of proximal relation to who gets probed for information by certain news outlets. I don't think U.S. execs go out looking for journalists to blab their future plans to. They're just answering questions posed to them.
 

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The compass would be a good dodge product or dump it. I think I would keep the Patriot at Jeep. Also Dodge, needs a new grille...that horsecollar is getting stale. 2012 is too slow, must a supplier thing, I would be think that my 2010 would be better. A plan won't save any money until actions are taken.
The Compass is basically a Caliber in drag, no? I agree on the grilles. They need a new fascia and quick.
 

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At the Western Automotive Journalists' dinner this week, Jim Press stunned us all by stating that he expects Chrysler to actually survive until 2010.
Seriously, what was he supposed to say? Chrysler to focus on off-roaders, Jeep to be muscle but also volume and Dodge to go the Acura way? The message is the same we got from Dr. Z, the thing is, this is something utterly obvious, and, as the author put it, something he wanted to hear, but the company does not deliver anyway. Much like the other Big 2...
 

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Glad to hear that the bigwigs have realised what Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep actually stand for. Ironically, the smallest of the Detroit Three actually has the most focused and logical brand portfolio . . . .

I have, though, been very worried about the total lack of future-product news leaking from Chrysler, and the absence of prototypes and 'mules' spied whilst out testing.

Let's hope that Chrysler is truly focussed now, that is making every single R&D penny count, and that every single vehicle launch is a smash hit from here on in.

BTW, does anybody have any idea of exactly what Chrysler has got planned, and when it is slated for?
 

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2009 Ram probably ate up most of the R&D dollars...

I bet we will see a revised Sebring and Avenger very soon.

Charger and 300 will be next.
 

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OK, they've been saying the same thing for months now...nothing new. When are they going to layout the basic line-ups for each brand? When are they going to give more insight to future models (besides hybrids, fuel cell, SUVs). The true bread-and-butter products for auto makers are midsize cars & crossovers; can they give us something more than the 300, Journey, and the PT Cruiser?
 

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2009 Ram probably ate up most of the R&D dollars...

I bet we will see a revised Sebring and Avenger very soon.

Charger and 300 will be next.
But, if the Ram is as good as most auto writers & photos are telling us, then it could be money well spent. Or better yet, profits well recouped. We've heard that ChryCo. has said that the Avenger/Sebring need freshening in a hurry. Since there's probably not going to be much exterior change, there's no real need to drive any test mules outside of the gates. The Charger & 300 are now running over the normal product cycle.
 

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But, if the Ram is as good as most auto writers & photos are telling us, then it could be money well spent. Or better yet, profits well recouped. We've heard that ChryCo. has said that the Avenger/Sebring need freshening in a hurry. Since there's probably not going to be much exterior change, there's no real need to drive any test mules outside of the gates. The Charger & 300 are now running over the normal product cycle.
Dodge is also working on the 2500 and 3500 and they do have 3500 testers out and about (I've seen one) other than that and the second gen SRT GC there really isn't any new products under development. CTC has taken deliveries of Fiat 500s for their A segment car project but that project is in the early stages and there probably won't be any prototypes for a good while
 

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Jim Press gives me the most hope for chrysler. He's not the type of person that would just sign onto a company that he thinks is going under or will be sold piecemeal in a couple years.

The line up differentiation makes a lot of sense. The compass/patriot directly compete with each other in the jeep line up. They also kind of compete with the liberty for small suvs in the line up. They also compete directly with the dodge caliber. So making the jeep line up only hard core offroaders makes sense. Keep the wrangler, the wrangler unlimited, and for gods sake make a wrangler based truck.

Dodge is going to lose the viper (cerberus will sell it to the highest bidder) so they need the charger/challenger to portray the dodge brand authentically. The new Ram is going to be the best 1500 on the road once all the kinks get worked out.



Chrysler to me has always been a conundrum for me. It seems like they want to be luxury and volume at the same time. They'll need to make up their mind there.

They'll be selling a lot fewer vehicles in the future but they're turning things around.
 

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I'll believe what Chrysler LLC says when it stops producing weak, uncompetitive products like the Sebring.
Your entitled to feel that way, but the Sebring is probably more a result of the previous adminstration.

Glad to hear that the bigwigs have realised what Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep actually stand for. Ironically, the smallest of the Detroit Three actually has the most focused and logical brand portfolio . . . .

Good point. Even Plymouth spent its enitre life (1928-2001) as Chysler's value brand and never waivered from that. Gosh it can be so simple...
 

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If the GMAC meltdown can be slowed it will allow Chrysler to shift back into a production and re-invention mode. Chrysler had the vehicles, remember they had Luxury Vehicles that used Turbo 4 engines, that were smooth, powerful, and very economical. Chrysler had some of the best designs, frankly I don't know how they approved the Sebring? The outgoing model was better looking!

Recovery of Chrysler can be done by first revising the 300, making it lighter Turbo-charged and DI engines can be used. Styling revisions on the Charger also, dropping the Crossfire, Pacifica, Aspen and other slow moving models will help cut costs. Tweaking the Jeep line-up with some fuel efficient macho low end trucks will help lighten the fuel burdens for middle America.

Chrysler's problem is America's problem like GM, and to a lesser extent Ford: When middle America hurts; so do the Big Three.

May God help us all!

:drive:
 
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