I have been watching DaimlerChrysler AG’s planned divestiture of Chrysler. As early as 2000, I said that the marriage could not work not because of a lack of transparency—I could see it was not a ‘merger of equals’, so I am not sure why others could not—but because of the lack of respect for the Chrysler brands. The killing off of Plymouth, something that cannot be easily undone now, was a mistake, in my view, especially with the developments made in its design language—now Chrysler ﬁnds itself needing a low-cost brand to ﬁght the imports and to ﬁeld fuel-efﬁcient cars. DaimlerChrysler’s decision to kill the Smart ForFour—when it could have, for a few million, be rejigged to become the Chrysler (or Plymouth) Java, was another obvious move.
While investment ﬁrms could snap up the old Chrysler Motors, I think some sort of cooperation with Peugeot SA still makes sense. Pre-Daimler, Chrysler’s strength was its quick responsiveness in R&D and being able to integrate its departments. If that competitive advantage is still there, Chrysler can still build great cars—something that Ford cannot on the western side of the Atlantic.
Back in the ’70s, there was an idea ﬂoated inside British Leyland to merge it with Chrysler UK. Any Red Chinese carmakers want to get in on the act on this one?
I’m still waiting for the Ford Motor Co. to pick up on my Rover idea. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:27
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