NYC Auto Show: Chrysler Prez arrives on stage in butt-ugly Fiat

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by MoPar Man, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    I wouldn't be caught dead driving that car if you paid me.

    Nothing Fiat makes would be anything other than a laughing stock in
    North America.

    You know what I don't get?

    Daimler still owns 19% of Chrysler. Daimler has a bunch of small cars.

    Why aren't we hearing about any deals to bring THOSE cars here to North
    America and badge them as Chryslers? They'd be much more attractive
    than these ulgy Fiat things.

    ----------------------------------

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090408/ap_on_bi_ge/auto_show_chrysler

    Wed Apr 8, 2009

    NEW YORK – Chrysler President and Vice Chairman Jim Press said Wednesday
    the government's May 1 deadline for the automaker to complete a deal
    with Fiat allows "ample time" to reach a definitive agreement that is
    key to saving Chrysler from bankruptcy.

    "We prefer having a shorter timeframe to get through this period, get
    all the questions out of our minds, and get back to business as usual,"
    Press said during the first day of media previews at the New York
    International Auto Show.

    He surprised reporters at Chrysler's news conference to unveil a new
    Jeep Grand Cherokee by arriving on the stage in an iconic Fiat 500
    subcompact. The 500, one of the Italian automaker's most successful
    models, would help fill the void of small vehicles in Chrysler's lineup
    if Chrysler survives and brings Fiat cars to U.S. showrooms by 2011, as
    planned.

    "Don't you think that this would be a perfect car to get around New York
    City?" he told reporters. Shortly after, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    rounded the stage's corner and ascended a series of steps onto the
    stage.

    The vehicle, which will be 11 percent more fuel efficient than its
    predecessor, will go on sale early next year.

    Press said Chrysler has been aggressively moving to reduce costs while
    still unveiling new vehicles. The company has plans to introduce eight
    new vehicles in the next 18 months.

    "We realize we have a responsibility to the American public," he said.

    Press said Chrysler has been having a "constructive dialogue" with Fiat.
    The Italian automaker's chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, flew to
    Detroit on March 30, the day the Obama administration announced Chrysler
    and General Motors Corp.'s restructuring plans were insufficient and set
    strict deadlines for the companies to reach new goals or face
    bankruptcy.

    "At this point in time with Fiat, we don't see anything that would be an
    impasse or a deal breaker," Press said. "We've had a constructive
    dialogue going, a cooperative dialogue with all the stakeholders, and
    we're hopeful that we'll be able to achieve the goals."

    He said the company is progressing under the assumption that bankruptcy
    will not be required.

    "We're pursuing the deal with Fiat assuming that a bankruptcy would not
    be the favored option. It wouldn't be in the best interest," he said.
    "Obviously you can't rule anything out, but we're working full speed, 24
    hours a day to achieve the alliance and get our viability plan
    approved."

    The government has said it will continue providing short-term aid for
    Chrysler while the Auburn Hills, Mich., company works out a deal, but
    Press said Chrysler hasn't needed more than the $4 billion the
    government provided earlier this year.

    "We've been assured that if we need additional short-term aid, it's
    available from the government," he said. "Right now we're OK at this
    point in time."

    Press declined to comment on reports that banks that lent Chrysler $6.8
    billion in 2007 are resisting efforts to convert most of the automaker's
    debt to equity.

    "We've got a lot of discussions going on with a lot of stakeholders, a
    lot of balls in the air," he said. "Those discussions are going on right
    now."
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 9, 2009
    #1
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  2. Dori A Schmetterling, Apr 9, 2009
    #2
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  3. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    My question still stands.

    Mercedes has several small car models that we never see here in North
    America.

    Daimler still owns 19% of Chrysler.

    If Chrysler is in dire need of an instant small car model, then why the
    hell isin't several Mercedes models being considered?

    The Mercedes brand has way more cache than Fiat does.
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 10, 2009
    #3
  4. I agree with your question... :)

    But among the smaller Mercs you might find something less than
    attractive-looking, too, e.g. B Class. I have sat in one. Very comfortable
    and, for the size, quite spacious. But sooo bland... (and I am a Merc
    fan...)

    Is this not sold in NA already?

    Of course there is the A Class, quite nice (though I don't like sloping
    noses where you can't see the end, also in B Class) and the Smart. Would
    anyone in (major conurbations of) NA buy one?

    DAS


    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
     
    Dori A Schmetterling, Apr 10, 2009
    #4
  5. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    There has been much written during 2005 - 2008 about the A and
    particularly B class Merc's coming to the US. Lots of talk about a
    re-designed B version specifically for US, even powered by natural gas.
    Main problem seems to be the US-Euro exchange rate making the B too
    expensive for the US market. Maybe that's changed within the past 6
    months.

    Apparently the B's have been sold in Canada since 2006 (or maybe 2005).
    No B model is offered on the US Mercedes website. It's written that the
    B will be introduced to the US in 2011.

    The Canadian Mercedes website shows that only the 2.0 L engine is being
    offered for the B200 (turbo and non-turbo). The non-turbo starts at
    $29.9k, and the turbo costs $4k more.

    Those prices are ridiculously high for what you get.

    By contrast, the Chrysler Sebring starts at $23.5k, but is currently
    being discounted by Chrysler to about $22k. The base model has a 2.4l
    engine with VVT and automatic transmission.

    The Dodge Calibre starts at about $16k (with discounts), has a 1.8L VVT
    engine and 5-spd manual transmission.

    I don't see why Chrysler thinks it needs a small Fiat model, since it
    certainly won't be priced under $15k and it won't have an engine much
    smaller than 1.8L. In short, anything Fiat could offer will be priced
    similar to the Calibre or Sebring, and when the average buyer looks at
    the Fiat, Caliber and Sebring, they'll choose the Caliber or Sebring
    because you will simply get more car for the price, and you'll get
    pretty much the same fuel economy.
    If Chrysler thinks Americans will buy Fiats, then why would the A and B
    class Merc's be any different? Except the price will be a factor.

    This story isin't getting much press, but it helps to connect some dots:

    -----------
    May 22, 2008

    http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/428530

    McGuinty (premier of Ontario) met yesterday in Turin with senior
    officials at Fiat, the parent company of the famed Italian carmaker, for
    face-to-face talks on luring a major new plant here.

    While Fiat-owned Ferrari and Maserati sell high-end sports cars in
    Canada and the U.S., the company's mass-market products – Fiat, Alfa
    Romeo and Lancia – have not been sold here for many years.

    That's why the company is examining the possibility of a domestic Alfa
    Romeo factory to build cars for North America.
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 10, 2009
    #5
  6. MoPar Man

    Brian Priebe Guest

    You occasionally see the Smart in urban Canada. But the A class is
    not sold here.

    You don't see all that many B class. Given its $30K+ pricing, there
    are dozens of alternatives out there that I would buy first. At that
    kind of price for a 134HP engine, people are buying it for the star on
    the hood.
     
    Brian Priebe, Apr 10, 2009
    #6
  7. But the star doesn't even stand proud. It's just stuck to the grille...
    Makes the view out front the same as in any car.. :-(

    Another reason I am not keen on the B and A, or the sucessor to my
    first-generation CLK Cab. The current one has a grille star. Some policy
    about having such stars on 'sporty' models. Might also be a leftover from
    the period when it was fashionable for passing vandals to rip the stars off
    the bonnet.

    DAS

    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
     
    Dori A Schmetterling, Apr 10, 2009
    #7
  8. I meant the Smart specifically. Two front seats and plus space for a
    shopping bag behind... It's not really meant as a sole car if you have a
    variety of needs, especially if you don't live in a major city.

    (I suppose the current Fiat 500 would be the nearest equivalent.)

    DAS

    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    ---
    [...]
    [...]
     
    Dori A Schmetterling, Apr 10, 2009
    #8
  9. MoPar Man

    who Guest

    My question still stands.

    Mercedes has several small car models that we never see here in North
    America.

    Daimler still owns 19% of Chrysler.

    If Chrysler is in dire need of an instant small car model, then why the
    hell isin't several Mercedes models being considered?

    The Mercedes brand has way more cache than Fiat does.[/QUOTE]

    Mercedes cost too much.
    Ref the Smart and B200 in Canada.

    Fiat has cars in the Yaris & Corolla size category, where Chrysler is
    weak. The Caliper and Sebring are very good value, but they are mid
    sized cars.
    My concern with the Fiat is leg room. I've had leg room troubles in many
    of todays smaller cars that are designed in countries with shorter
    people. The small VW Beetle was fine for me.
    My knee hits the steering wheel so I have to wrap my leg around the
    wheel, making it unsafe for me to drive them.
    I'm only 5'-11".
     
    who, Apr 11, 2009
    #9
  10. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    Yes.

    As I don't follow car prices, I didn't know how unbalanced they were.

    So now, given that the consumer (in Canada anyways) can get into a
    Chrysler or Dodge for the $15-$16k price point, then does it _really_
    matter what their size is? Does it really matter that the Sebring and
    Caliber aren't micro-car sized?

    Are Fiat cars that much smaller?

    And will they cost less, or more, than Chrysler/Dodges current low-end
    models?

    It will take the better part of a year for Chrysler to re-tool to make
    Fiat-based cars. So that ain't gonna save Chrysler.

    And if all they do in the short term is sell re-badged Fiat's, then that
    just makes Chrysler the middle-man in the chain - and Fiat doesn't
    really need a middle man.

    This whole thing with Fiat is just garbage that doesn't make sense.

    Even if Chrysler's and Dodge's low end cars aren't "micro" in size,
    their price is, and in the end that's what really counts.
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 11, 2009
    #10
  11. MoPar Man

    Jim Higgins Guest

    Mercedes cost too much.
    Ref the Smart and B200 in Canada.

    Fiat has cars in the Yaris & Corolla size category, where Chrysler is
    weak. The Caliper and Sebring are very good value, but they are mid
    sized cars.
    My concern with the Fiat is leg room. I've had leg room troubles in many
    of todays smaller cars that are designed in countries with shorter
    people. The small VW Beetle was fine for me.
    My knee hits the steering wheel so I have to wrap my leg around the
    wheel, making it unsafe for me to drive them.
    I'm only 5'-11".[/QUOTE]

    Recall the "Little Nash Rambler" or the Metropolitan from the back of
    beyond?
     
    Jim Higgins, Apr 11, 2009
    #11
  12. MoPar Man

    Joe Pfeiffer Guest

    (lotsa snips to just respond to some of the points)

    Absolutely. As long as there are people who want a subcompact, and
    aren't interested in something bigger even if it costs the same, they
    need a subcompact. Doesn't apply to me, and apparently not to you --
    if I were in the market for a new car the Caliber is about the
    smallest I'd even consider. For other people, it's bigger than they'd
    consider.
    A concrete plan to bring a Fiat-based car to market in a year might
    be enough to get the cash to survive that year, so it might. But...
    Fiat desperately needs a middle man. They've been out of the US
    market for a long time; they have no dealer network. Chrysler and
    Dodge dealers selling rebadged Fiats -- or even just selling Fiats --
    would look great to them.
    I'll bet you're either an accountant or an engineer -- you're exactly
    right from the perspective of the car and the money. But not from the
    perspective of selling the car for the money.
     
    Joe Pfeiffer, Apr 12, 2009
    #12
  13. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    Lots of arguments about Europe, ancient streets, narrow streets, small
    spaces, a lot of people crammed into not-a-lot of real estate.

    That's always been a major point in the argument as to why different car
    types evolved in different parts of the world.
    With today's modern cad/cam, computer-based design, Chrysler could put
    their own sub-compact chassis into production in the same time frame.
    Chrysler has shown sub-compact concept cars over the past 5 - 10 years,
    it's not like they don't know how to make them, or have any ideas on the
    drawing board.
    So what's stopping Chrysler and Dodge dealers from becoming also Fiat
    dealers tommorrow? They don't need Chrysler exec's for that. Chysler
    (the corporation, not the dealer network) isin't going to make a lot of
    money being the middle-man, and I don't see why a middle-man is even
    needed.

    Fiat sets up a shell company importing the cars into the US, and those
    cars go straight to Chrysler and Dodge dealerships. Now, if there's
    anti-compete clause in the contracts between Chrysler and the dealers,
    well that's another matter.
    I'm not an engineer, but I play one at work.
    Like I said above, we here in North America are not under the same size
    constraints that car consumers are in Europe.

    Americans who buy a sub-compact are doing it based first on price, then
    second on fuel economy (engine size, vehicle weight). When you're first
    constraint is money, you inevitably spiral down to the sub-compact
    class.

    I still say that if you have a $15k fiat vs a $15k caliber, and the
    engines are within .2L of each other in size, that an American will buy
    the caliber _because_ it's a bigger car.

    And there's no way that any Fiat will be priced less than a Caliber.
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 12, 2009
    #13
  14. MoPar Man

    Guest Guest

    My wife and I bought a new 2007 Caliber and find that it is the
    perfect size, and it is getting around 30-31mpg around town(using
    Mobil1 Advanced Economy Formula). It reminds me of the size of my 86
    Lancer hatchback, that was a great sized little car, with the
    2.5/automatic, got good mileage and was very reliable. Of course, my
    car is a bit larger, a 1941 Windsor 4 door/Fluid
    Drive-Vacamatic(Chrysler fans will know what that is) and gets around
    18 mpg, but man does it ride smooth, and quality, can't beat it!




    "What do you mean there's no movie?"
     
    Guest, Apr 12, 2009
    #14
  15. MoPar Man

    Guest Guest

    It is a strange thing about Europe, it is more "rural" than the US,
    the cities are of course tighter in space and a lot of them date back
    to the medieval times, but in Germany, even the smaller towns can
    accomodate Caliber sized cars. In Italy, the other story. Towns are
    extremely crowded, but again, more people live in rural areas. I
    remember the Fiat 500 my step-father had, looked like a toy with
    wheels! Plus, if Fiat has not fixed their reputation for quality,
    then American memories of pre-rusted, unreliable cars, will kill Fiat.
     
    Guest, Apr 12, 2009
    #15
  16. MoPar Man

    Guest Guest

    George Mason, president of Nash, wanted a small car that an American
    could fit into, he was a large man himself. The original Rambler,
    remember them in the old Superman TV series, was a roomy car that got
    great mileage and was on a 100" wheelbase. My mother had a Nash
    Rambler two-door wagon, mid-fifites, and I remember the gearshift
    sticking out from the behind the steering wheel, a knucklebuster when
    shifting from first to second! It was cute and stylish. Look at the
    plans that American car producers had for small cars, the Hudson Jet,
    a great little car, the Willys Aerocar, the Frazer that even Sears
    sold in its catalog, Americans just were, and are just too "iffy" in
    their buying habits. When gas is cheap, they go back to wanting huge
    cars, then bump gas to $4 a gallon, then they go screaming for small
    cars, no wonder the American car companies do not know what to make
    anymore!


    "What do you mean there's no movie?"
     
    Guest, Apr 12, 2009
    #16
  17. MoPar Man

    Bill Putney Guest

    That will get resolved to the same answer in two ways: Our present
    government will make sure that oil gets over $4 (by starving the market
    of supply and, if that doesn't work well enough, by adding additional
    taxes to it), and they will also dictate to the car companies they now
    own what they will make.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
     
    Bill Putney, Apr 13, 2009
    #17
  18. There's an easy way to give an American apoplexy; discuss slapping a couple
    of dollars tax on a (US) gallon of fuel...

    DAS

    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    ---
     
    Dori A Schmetterling, Apr 13, 2009
    #18
  19. MoPar Man

    Bill Putney Guest

    Discussing it's not a problem. It's actually doing it that's the
    problem. If we could trust politicians to honestly handle the money
    instead of working it into redistribution of wealth shell games like
    they are tending to do, it might not be a problem. IOW the government's
    hidden "handling fees" are a little steep and result in a huge net loss.
     
    Bill Putney, Apr 13, 2009
    #19
  20. MoPar Man

    MoPar Man Guest

    Top posting is bad form for usenet Dori.

    US Congress and Senate will never increase the federal gas tax or bring
    it anywhere near it is in Canada or Europe. They don't have the balls
    to do it.

    The federal gov't might bring in a national federal sales tax, like
    Canada's GST or Europe's VAT. They'll have to do something if they ever
    hope to balance the budget or reduce the federal debt.

    What I'm not hearing anything about is a winfall profits tax on the oil
    industry. That's where the prize is, and there's no downside for Obama
    or the Congress / Sentate to bring one in. And if Oil does go over $100
    / barrel this summer, there will be increasing pressure for it.

    The sky-high oil prices seemed to have no spin-off benefits for oil-rich
    states (unlike the situation for Alberta in Canada).

    The US oil lobby (API) is running daily TV commercials on the 3 network
    news at 6:30 pm. They're pushing hard for more access to off-shore
    drilling and more drilling in environmentally sensitive places like
    Alaska. The oil industry knows that a winfall profits tax is coming
    unless they can bring more supply on-line to prevent oil from
    consistently saying over $100 / barrel. The oil industry is running
    those TV commercials because it knows it's lost influence in Washington
    now that the Bush's and Cheney are gone so they are trying to directly
    influence public opinion.
     
    MoPar Man, Apr 14, 2009
    #20
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