Monday, October 03, 2005

 

Chrysler Needs to Go Away, Forever.

There, I've said it. Chrysler, as a company needs to go away forever. This all came to realisation a fortnight ago when I was following up on announcements of the Neon's replacement. A "Larger, more powerful Compact" called the "Caliber".

Lets get something straight here. A Compact is called that for a reason. The idea isn't to make it larger. Secondly, in a time when the rest of the world gets it (meaning: smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient cars), the best Chrysler group can do is make their vehicles bigger and heavier, using larger, more fuel thirsty motors? (Though one saving grace of the Caliber is that it may be available in the US with a Volkswagen 2.0 litre Turbo Diesel, power & thirifty when it comes to fuel.)

This one point alone is not enough to justify a company who year after you produces vehicles whose looks have the sole purpose of looking menacing in people's rearview mirrors. It is exactly this kind of ugly American mentality/view that makes the rest of the world loathe the U.S. and its attitudes.

We see more and more these days Chrysler bringing back old Muscle Car era names and larger, less thrifty motors, unabashedly I might add. This is the wrong direction that the motor industry in the United States needs to be heading. We need to get rid of the V8's (at least over 3.0 litres), start using more Diesels, aiming for SMALLER, more fuel efficient cars (this doesn't mean that have to be slow, or boring), and start following the lead of GM Europe (Opel, Vauxhall), Ford Europe (the only way we get the new high power Focus is to buy it as a Volvo), Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, etc. ad infinitum/ad nauseum.

We're heading down the dark path which we helped to start in the first place, and it needs to end. Dissolving Chrysler could be one of the best things Daimler could do. Either that, or get rid of the existing products and use the Chrysler name to start selling more innovative cars from the likes of Smart and others.

E

Comments:
Hey, Eric, I'm a kindred spirit and I thank you for your blog.

I've been retired from GM over 13 years on fixed income, and have been completely screwed re increased cost of living, health care, property taxes, and energy costs.

I'm auto enthusiast, thought with a different focus from my earlier days as Woodward racer, autocrosser, street racer, and what not. I still have an old 91 V8 Chevy station wagon as a people/4x8 plywood/lumber hauler that doubles as a family vacation cruiser.

I would've been one of the first to buy a USA diesel Smart car from Daimler, but they're still waffling over certifying them here in the US. Big mistake.

So that leaves Toyota and Honda making their Yaris and Fit microcars available here next year even though they're not diesel.

The VW TDIs are beyond our budget, notwithstanding the notoriously pissy VW dealer service 'round here.

These daze we're driving maybe 30 mile loops in our regular local errands thanks to the explosion of supercenters near us.

We could've gotten by with an EV for most of what we require everyday - but then they crushed the plug-in EVs at the behest of the Bush/Cheney secret "energy policy" of 2001.

I would dearly love to have an affordable plug-in EV commuter car in my declining years.

Fossil fuels are not the answer.

Keep up your good work!

Your friend, Ritch
 
Ritch,

Glad to hear you enjoy my ranting. I too was a racer, I competed in the SCCA Solo I (Hillclimb/Time Trails) Series in the NorthEastern US Division. Took the 1996 Overall Champion Title for Rally Class in a Mk 2 Volkswagen Golf. Did autocross as well, just to mention it.

What is the main thing stopping the Smart cars from certification here, are they trying to say that because a Ford Excursion colliding with one would be bad, they can't import it? Just curious.

As for other small cars, I'm surprised Honda hasn't sold the Jazz or City here, and that Toyota hasn't sold the Aygo here either. I'd like to see VW sell the Polo here, as well as Suzuki sell the Cappucino roadster here (though It isn't made anymore.

I feel ya, regarding VW Dealer service, it is pretty horrid around the country, corporate wise as it were. I've owned three VW's and found that the dealers generally are pretty bad, towing the corporate line, etc.

The GM EV1 was a remarkable car, and I'd love to hear more about this debacle. I know that GM recalled them all to be destroyed. Something smells pretty damn underhanded there. Please share if you can..

E
 
Eric, the answer is not to kill Chrysler, nor Ford or GM. The answer is to develop more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels and technologies, such as Bio Diesel, Hydrogen, Gas/Electric Hybrids, and trim the size of cars to a more reasonable weight and size.

It's easy to rant and vent frustration, and that's your right, but how about thinking it out? Chrysler is not the problem. Even the Japanese and Korean automakers vehicles have been getting heavier and some more thirsty. It's indeed a cultural issue in the US. But trends change and people will be motivated by safer more efficient small cars if they can get the utility and comfort they had in the larger cars.

The Caliber sounds like a bad idea on the face of it, but if someone buys a Caliber instead of a Dakota, isn't that a good thing?

Isn't Chrysler going to sell a version of the VW Polo in the states?
 
You're right bigfordfan, maybe I shouldn't rant about killing Chrysler, if people choose the Caliber over a Dakota, then that is indeed a good thing and I shouldn't be bitching over a more sensible choice.

Yes, I head about the possibility of the Polo.. Sadly, VW might be selling a rebadged Chrysler minivan in the US as a VW. I just don't see that as necessary. It's just badge engineering, and don't we have enough minivans.. they're not bastions of fuel miserness.

Eric

As always, thanks for your words..
 
Toyota makes a lot of V8 engines. They are about to introduce a huge new pickup truck and have built a new plant in Texas to do it. They sell a lot of big V8-powered SUVs and luxury cars. Nissan builds giant pickups and SUVs, they sell most of their cars with large V6s and many luxury models with V8s, not a single diesel or hybrid among them. Jaguar sells only large cars with big V6s, V8s, and V12s. But, when Chrysler introduces a compact crossover with a family of 4 4-cylinder engines, you bitch and whine that Chrysler to 'Go Away, Forever'?

Your rant sucks.
 
Rick,

Yes, Toyota makes V8's, they also make a tremendous amount of 4 cylinder cars, including the number one car (in terms of total production worldwide of all time) which is also a 4 cylinder. Yes, they've faltered and built V8's, but stil relatively cleaner output than any of the Domestic producers.
As for Jaguar, they sell good old diesels as well. Keep in mind that in Europe more than 50% of all cars bought are Diesel. Jaguar has been advertising their new 3.0l Diesels (just like Saab, BMW, Mercedes, VW, Opel, Ford, etc.) in all the regular global motoring magazines.
Chrysler does actually sell Diesel Jeep's as well, but only in Europe. I'm not faulting them for this, but I'm not applauding them either because they're only offering them there and no making any inroads to the market that needs the most direction, the US.
As for trucks, Toyota stopped selling a Diesel truckin the US in 1985. However, they sell common rail diesels (like virtually every other manufactuer) throughout their model line everywhere by the US. Honda as well.. The new CR-V diesels were just shown recently at the Geneva auto show, amongst the other Honda diesels.
Your lack of knowledge on the topic of other manufactuers is what I find appaling. However misguided your reponse was based on your limited knowledge in this case, I still appreciate the effort you took to reply

Eric
 
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