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With a slew of new cars and trucks now on sale in showrooms across the country, Chrysler Group executives say they expect to see a boost in sales this quarter -- a lift that could help the struggling automaker in its effort to achieve a slight operating profit this year.

"Things are taking off," Wolfgang Bernhard, the outgoing chief operating officer of DaimlerChrysler AG's Auburn Hills-based division told journalists Wednesday. "We should start to see some lift in the second quarter and throughout 2004."

Bernhard's remarks were made during a media luncheon for his replacement, Tom LaSorda. Chrysler's former head of manufacturing, LaSorda will take over the COO post May 1, when Bernhard returns to Germany to head the Mercedes division.

During the event, Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche told reporters that he will take on a larger role with creating vehicles.

Bernhard, LaSorda and Zetsche all seemed positive -- relieved even -- about the company's future during the event, a sharp contrast to the anxiety that has overshadowed the automaker in recent years.

Chrysler lost a combined $4 billion in 2001 and 2002, and, despite a 3-year turnaround plan that intended to generate a profit last year, the company posted an operating loss of $637 million in 2003. Some industry insiders have said Chrysler needs to prove itself this year, calling this a make-or-break year for the automaker.

Sales of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles were up 3 percent through March, as the company increased incentives to clear out old inventories.

"Now, all the new stuff is coming," said Bernhard, whose sentiments echoed that of other Chrysler executives who have said this is the quarter the company's been anticipating for years.

Nine new products are slated for this year. Among the new vehicles now being produced or already in showrooms: the Chrysler 300 series, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, Chrysler Crossfire roadster, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dakota pickup and Ram SRT-10 pickup truck, Dodge Magnum station wagon and Dodge and Chrysler minivans.

Even though the chief operating officer is typically responsible for issues such as cost, quality and operations, Bernhard was instrumental during his three-plus years in the job for creating, developing and scrutinizing new products.

"I reviewed every minute detail, on the interiors, the exteriors, and ride-and-drives," said Bernhard, who arrived at the company in November 2000 along with Zetsche after major financial losses in the division.

Bernhard said there was a dearth of products on the drawing table and the company was "a mess" -- a situation he says has been rectified. "It gives me great satisfaction to say that the company survived."

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They have been working hard with a lot of decent stuff... but the new Jeep Gran Cherokee.... that is just a turd only a Scion or Aztec could match.
 

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Chrysler sucks, they have nothing new or innovative at that company, just a stockpile of leftover mercedes parts. why dish out the money for a new chrysler when you could just go an buy a used mercedes. The only thing remotely ok there is the hemi and thats overpraised IMO. Ford and Merce..i mean chrysler are both heading in the wrong direction
 

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i think once the growing pains are gone, a MB directed dodge/chrysler/jeep may have serious potention.

pros- 300/magnum/charger (i want one), sto-n-go, hemi marketing (stupid but affective), has youth market attention with neon srt-4, but should expand on that with a mid-size srt car. MB parts bin, i think thats a good thing opposed to being something to curse.

cons-jeep's softened image. viper will probably end production soon. the us vs. them power struggle that probably exists between the MB execs chrysler execs. think thats was main reason lutz left and came over to GM.
 

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Originally posted by Joevette@Apr 15 2004, 09:38 AM
The only thing remotely ok there is the hemi and thats overpraised IMO.
How is the Hemi overpriced? As compared to what?

Haha, nevermind, I see you did not say overPRICED. :)
 

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As much as Ive always hated Chrysler, though admittedly not as much as ford, I find myself REALLY liking the 300C. The magnum can go to hell, and the Jeeps can go to hell, but i like the 300C. I can only pray that the next Impala goes RWD.
 

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Originally posted by thehemi+Apr 15 2004, 11:42 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (thehemi @ Apr 15 2004, 11:42 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Joevette@Apr 15 2004, 09:38 AM
The only thing remotely ok there is the hemi and thats overpraised IMO.
How is the Hemi overpriced? As compared to what?

Haha, nevermind, I see you did not say overPRICED. :) [/b][/quote]
its overrated due to marketing. as long as its reliable, its actually a smart move.
 

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Originally posted by GM_Guy81@Apr 15 2004, 11:59 AM
I can only pray that the next Impala goes RWD.
if the next impala is v8 RWD , and even looks halfway decent, i'll be buying one. if not i'll will be shopping for ANY brand that offers v8 rwd around 30k with some aggressive looks, and have my impala leaping deer tattoo removed!!
 

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I don't think the 300 and Magnum will have sustainable sales. The looks are so off-putting to so many people that it's hard to imagine it can maintain the volumes that DC is aiming for which is around 240,000 units a year with both nameplates.

DC has made a conscious decision to move to a lower volume and (they hope) higher profit model. This was stated some years ago and the take it or leave it styling of their recent vehicles demonstrate this trend.

Mark
 

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Originally posted by Joevette@Apr 15 2004, 11:38 AM
Chrysler sucks, they have nothing new or innovative at that company, just a stockpile of leftover mercedes parts. why dish out the money for a new chrysler when you could just go an buy a used mercedes. The only thing remotely ok there is the hemi and thats overpraised IMO. Ford and Merce..i mean chrysler are both heading in the wrong direction
Why would you want a used Mercedes when you can get a new Chrysler with a full warranty at the same or less expensive price? The only thing that would make someone buy the Mercedes is the ego of owning a 3 pointed star.
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider+Apr 15 2004, 02:55 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Rex Raider @ Apr 15 2004, 02:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Joevette@Apr 15 2004, 11:38 AM
Chrysler sucks, they have nothing new or innovative at that company, just a stockpile of leftover mercedes parts.  why dish out the money for a new chrysler when you could just go an buy a used mercedes.  The only thing remotely ok there is the hemi and thats overpraised IMO.  Ford and Merce..i mean chrysler are both heading in the wrong direction
Why would you want a used Mercedes when you can get a new Chrysler with a full warranty at the same or less expensive price? The only thing that would make someone buy the Mercedes is the ego of owning a 3 pointed star. [/b][/quote]
But lots of people need their egos inflated it seems... :p
 

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Nine new products are slated for this year. Among the new vehicles now being produced or already in showrooms: the Chrysler 300 series, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, Chrysler Crossfire roadster, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dakota pickup and Ram SRT-10 pickup truck, Dodge Magnum station wagon and Dodge and Chrysler minivans.

300 Series- ugly, too big, interior is awfully cheap and cheesy looking.

PT Cruiser Convertible- isn't the Cruiser outdated now? besides, the 'vert is uglier than the regular one.

Crossfire- the only thing they have that's worth a crap... and it's an old Mercedes!!!

Wrangler Unlimited- AKA Jeep Scrambler. the CJ8 had limited appeal, and so will this. the reason people like the Wrangler is because of its offroad prowess. add wheelbase to it, and it's going to lose capability.

Dakota- if it's the piece of crap the last one was, forget it.

Ram SRT-10- not going to be a volume truck to bring Dodge back, and besides, the next Lightning will probably walk all over it.

Magnum- this isn't quite a station wagon marketplace yet, and the Magnum is an ugly wagon at that. try again.

Minivans- minivans are not as popular as they once were, and they are still falling off. this won't even be much of an issue in a few more years. the focus is on SUVs now. they have no full-size SUV, which is what they need. Suburban/Tahoe and Expedition have this market all to themselves more or less.

they need to try something different....
 

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I feel that mercedes is just ruining chrysler, instead of bringing out new platforms and technology they're just using outdated mercedes ones. take the crossfire for example, the only differense between that and a SLK is the body design, the interior looks exactly the same except for maybe some brushed aluminum. i don't know who they're trying to fool with these new reskinned benzes but i don't like it, i don't see chrysler as an american car company, just a wanna be german brand
 

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I cant reaveal specifics, but chrylser is looking into new technologies that could be seen in production models as soon as 2007. The company I work for is currently doing some work for Chrysler. these technologies would help save money in production. Were also working with GM, but unfortuantly not as much as Chrysler.
 

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The Ram SRT-10 is an icon vehicle to make headlines.
The next Lightning, assuming they can meet the goals,
may be faster. Not sure if Dodge is really concerned to
follow them or not, but the Viper V10 has plenty more in
it if they needed to turn up the heat. Heck, it's only N/A!

True, the 300C/Magnum design will not fit for everyone.
But their value is superb. 345-hp RWD wagon for $30K.
(That is sticker, so you can probably pay even less, too.)
I am a fan of the Magnum, not so much the 300 though.

How about their SRT-4? It pretty much owns that class.
People are getting them for $19-20K. It is a sweet deal.

Once Dodge is done selling the Ram SRT-10s, watch for
the Hemi superchargers from third parties to get put out
into the mainstream. Well over 400-hp Quad Cab Rams!
20s, maybe 450-hp, quad cab... all for under $30K, too.
 

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Chrysler is slowly pulling their heads from their third point of contact.

I guess some guys will be haters no matter what. I haven't exactly been a DCX fan but the 300/Magnum are going to be big sellers IMO. Unlike the Pacifica, they are priced properly. They have the incredible sense of style that Chrysler had back in the 90's and the interiors are a huge improvement. The only real question now is quality. There is a lot of potential there.

There are some things that I think people interested in the auto industry should keep an eye on with DCX. One of those is Diesel engines. Chrysler has shown nearly no interest in Hybrid technology but has opted instead to try offering Diesel engines. The new Diesel Liberty has so much torque you could pull a house but supposedly gets significantly better mileage (I haven't seen the numbers yet) Mercedes has some of the best diesel engines in the world and has been selling them for quite a while in Europe. It'll be interesting to see how they go over from a marketing standpoint. It will also be interesting to see if they overcome the new, and stupid, particulate matter polution rules that take effect in 2007.

If I hadn't just bought a car back in November, the 300c would be at the top of my list.
 
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