Would You Buy a Car from Chrysler?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Jim Higgins, May 1, 2009.

  1. Jim Higgins

    Jim Higgins Guest

    Note the next to last paragraph about Fiat quality (or "quality").
    R.I.P. Chrysler.

    Would You Buy a Car from Chrysler?

    Persuading buyers to take a chance on the bankrupt automaker might turn
    out to be tougher than working Chrysler out of court

    By David Kiley

    Now that Chrysler has done what was once unthinkable for Detroit's Big
    Three carmakers—filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization—everyone
    from President Barack Obama to the automaker's own public relations
    department has tried to assure car owners and would-be buyers that the
    company is going to continue operating and that its warranties are safe.
    But the question for consumers is, should I buy a Chrysler now? And how
    about one of those Fiats I hear are coming to America?

    Consumers can be spooked by the idea of buying from a bankrupt company;
    many equate bankruptcy with "closing the doors." Car-buying site
    Cars.com says 21% of consumers it polled said a bankruptcy would affect
    their decision on which company they would buy a car from.

    So Chrysler and its dwindling army of dealers know that the job of
    selling cars just got a lot tougher. They will have to do a lot of
    advertising and communicating in the next 60 days to keep people coming
    into showrooms.

    "They should shout from the mountain tops in ads and every other way
    they know how that they are here and not going anywhere," says Jason
    Vines, former communications chief at Chrysler as well as Ford (F), who
    has dealt with several public relations crises. "Now is not the time to
    be shy."
    The Quality Problem

    Even before this, talk of a bankruptcy filing had been hammering
    Chrysler's U.S. sales. They are down 46% so far this year, worse than
    the 38% decline for the industry. Part of that, of course, is the impact
    of the recession and scarcity of consumer credit. But it is hard to feel
    good about Chrysler's vehicles based on the independent data available
    on reliability and quality. Consumer Reports, for example, recommends no
    Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicles in its auto guide this year. Nor does
    J.D. Power & Associates (like BusinessWeek, a unit of The McGraw-Hill
    Companies (MHP)) have great things to say. It rates Chrysler's vehicles
    considerably lower on quality than rivals and industry averages.

    Worse, J.D. Power also scores Chrysler very low in its Automotive
    Performance Execution & Layout Study, which surveys buyers on how well a
    vehicle is executed and designed after they have lived with it a while.
    All three Chrysler brands score well below the industry average. Several
    of Chrysler's key models—Chrysler Sebring, Jeep Liberty, and Grand
    Cherokee—score at or near the bottom of each category. All three brands
    also score well below average on Power's Vehicle Dependability Study,
    which measures how reliable vehicles are over three years of ownership.

    Chrysler executives says that it takes time for any improvements in cars
    to be proven. "We have made great progress in the nearly two years we
    have been working at it, but it takes time for these improvements to be
    reflected in the scores," said Chrysler Vice-Chairman James Press in a
    recent interview with BusinessWeek.

    One worry that automakers have about bankruptcy—that buyers will assume
    no one will be around to fix their car—should be allayed by the fact
    that warranties on Chrysler products have been guaranteed by the U.S.
    government since Mar. 31. That continues through the Chapter 11
    bankruptcy process. Since the company is virtually assured to reemerge
    from bankruptcy as part of a new company combined with Italian automaker
    Fiat, warranties will continue to be honored by Chrysler and the new
    company that emerges from bankruptcy without the government having to be
    Bargain Hunters, Start Your Engines

    If car shoppers are still interested, they'll find plenty of deals. The
    clouds of bankruptcy over Chrysler and General Motors (GM) have greatly
    reduced demand. As a result, leading car-shopping site Edmunds.com says
    the average discount being offered on Chryslers, Dodges, and Jeeps is
    about 23% off sticker, vs. an average of 16% for the rest of the industry.

    It's not impossible to find discounts of more than $10,000 on Chrysler
    minivans and SUVs, as well as Dodge pickup trucks that dealers are
    trying to clear from their lots. Older car models, such as the Chrysler
    PT Cruiser and Chrysler 300, are also seeing discounts of more than
    $5,000 at some dealerships. But those heavy incentives may dry up soon
    as Chrysler idles its production plants while it is in bankruptcy

    "No one can blame car buyers who shied away from brands that were
    mentioned in the same breath as the word bankruptcy," says Edmunds.com
    consumer advice editor Philip Reed. "[But] now that their warranties are
    being guaranteed, Chrysler and GM vehicles are good deals that are worth

    Let's say, though, that a consumer is wowed by the design of a Jeep
    Grand Cherokee or Chrysler 300 and wants to take advantage of the huge
    incentives. The next question might be whether their dealer is going to
    be around to service it a year from now.
    More than 1,000 Dealers May Disappear

    Forty-five Chrysler dealers went out of business in April, and more will
    be shuttered in the weeks ahead. Under Chapter 11, Chrysler can cut
    dealers without worrying about repercussions from state franchise laws.
    The company has about 3,150 dealers and is said to want to cut as many
    as 1,200 to 1,500 of them in markets where too many are competing for
    too few sales.

    So the dealer that is 15 minutes down the road might be gone in a matter
    of months, with a dealer 45 minutes away the closest to service a
    vehicle. Other repair shops can perform warrantied repairs, but many car
    owners prefer to have service done at the dealer where it was purchased.

    Earl Hesterberg, CEO of Group 1 Automotive, a company that manages
    dealerships of several manufacturers, including Chrysler, says a lot of
    local dealer advertising, combined with the company's national
    advertising, will need to make the case that buyers don't need to worry
    about being abandoned. "The good news is that the brands have a future,"
    said Hesterberg.

    Is there an argument to be made for waiting to see what Fiat brings over
    to sell in Chrysler showrooms, or even longer to see what new vehicles
    the combined company comes up with?

    Unfortunately, Fiat suffers from some of the same quality problems as
    Chrysler. Fiat models do not score high for quality and reliability in
    Europe and South America, where they are sold now. Fiats and Fiat-owned
    Alfa Romeos sold in Europe are near the bottom in reliability and "need
    to improve significantly to move away from the foot of the table, where
    they have languished for several years," says U.K.-based Which?, a
    consumer advice publication similar to Consumer Reports in the U.S. A
    survey of people who owned Fiat models in Britain, by J.D. Power and
    magazine What Car?, put Fiat last of 28 brands in a 2008 Customer
    Satisfaction Index for two-year-old vehicles. Quality and reliability
    count for 30% of the score.

    For now, Chrysler has found refuge. But it's not clear how its new
    partner will make its future any more promising.
    Jim Higgins, May 1, 2009
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  2. At least the Alfas don't rust on the assembly line anymore...

    When I was arranging a car hire at the Avis Milan airport station (to ensure
    I got an Alfa) I asked the manager what he thought of Alfa and what he
    drove. He said he would never buy an Alfa and he had an Opel (GM) of some

    Every petrolhead would love an Alfa but few -- in Britain at least -- risk
    it. I have driven an Alfa 147 twice on hire (among the lakes of northern
    Italy - lovely). With a lively 1.9-l turbodiesel engine and great looks it
    was terrific. Even more so as I did not have to worry about the costs of
    any mechanical failure...

    I understand Fiat quality has come on a long way but, I suppose, has that of
    just about every other major brand.

    Presumably a problematic reputation on reliability kept them off the US
    market. Now they want to buy a chunk of a big but bust company in a country
    about which they know nothing... I wonder what the last shareholder meeting
    was a like...or is it another case of megalomaniac management thinking it
    can do better?


    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    Dori A Schmetterling, May 1, 2009
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  3. I don't think it's any harder to sell a Chrysler today then it was three
    months ago. They've been bankrupt since last year, filing formal
    bankruptcy papers doesn't change a thing. If I were in the market for a
    new car today I wouldn't be looking at either Chrysler or GM, frankly I
    don't think I would look at anything other than a Toyota or a Honda
    because they are the two companies that are least likely to go out of
    business while we are in this depression. The key for Chrysler is to get
    through the bankruptcy reorganization as quickly as possible and to come
    out of it with a structure that looks convincingly viable. On top of that
    they are going to need another Lee Iaccoca, if they don't have a super
    salesman like Iaccoca at the helm to convince people that they are
    selling great cars they will be right back in bankruptcy, and it will be
    Chapter 7 not 11.
    General Schvantzkoph, May 1, 2009
  4. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    There are three main reasons I would not buy a new Chrysler - and it has
    nothing to do with any of the reasons cited:

    (1) It's a matter of personal protest of how this all was handled so
    unnecessarily with taxpayer money and government takeover, and the bad
    business plan will continue to be propped up with more taxpayer money
    when it can't make it on its own (due to (2) and (3) below).

    (2) In the bankruptcy agreements, rather than the normal give and take
    of bankruptcy proceedings, the government will force its hand to
    leverage against creditors while favoring unions and keeping the
    albatross of past union agreements around Chrysler's neck putting it at
    a huge competitive disadvantage, except that disadvantage will be offset
    in the future using even more taxpayer money (either printed or borrowed
    from our progeny for several generations) as opposed to free market

    (3) I can't imagine a worse scenario than the government micromanaging a
    "for-profit" (in this case a poor choice of words, but I only use that
    term in distinction from a "non-profit" in the legal sense) company (the
    plans to force them to market a car that the consumer is simply *not*
    going to buy being one example of that). It would not be viable in a
    free market, and, again, the gross deficiencies will continue to be
    subsidized by printed/borrowed tax money well into the future.
    Bill Putney, May 1, 2009
  5. I fi were in the market for a domnating car with character I would but
    a Charger or Challenger. (While they're still around?)
    David E. Powell, May 2, 2009
  6. Jim Higgins

    Licker Guest

    Bill Putney wrote in message: "while favoring unions and keeping the
    albatross of past union agreements around Chrysler's neck putting it at a
    huge competitive disadvantage, except that disadvantage will be offset in
    the future using even more taxpayer money (either printed or borrowed from
    our progeny for several generations) as opposed to free market pressures.'

    Although the government did this prior to the bankruptcy filing it
    ultimately will be up to the bankruptcy judge to sign off on it. The judge
    has the power to null and void the union contracts and wipe out what they
    fought far all theses years.

    It would not surprise me that the biggest thing that hurts all the big 3
    automakers is it retirement program that was negotiate when times were good.
    It would not surprise me that Chrysler does not go to court and request to
    drop the pension to save money and turn it over to the PBGC (Pension Benefit
    Guaranty Corporation).

    The UAW gave up big concession over the last few years to try to help the
    company survive. It is consumers like you because they do not like unions
    or whats happening Chrysler and GM will not be around to see the better
    days. If you fell that strong it should be over the lack of quality or poor
    fuel economy.

    If you feel that bad about union made products then stay away from the
    Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, Mitsubishi
    Galant, Mazda B-Series, Toyota Tacoma, Mazda Tribute/Hybrid, Mitsubishi
    Endeavor, and CAW made Volkswagen Routan.

    If GM and Chrysler to not survive the US economy will take a long time to
    recovery. Many jobs rely on the production of the automobiles from the big
    three. Many people do not realize the impact this will have on the country.

    If people want the US economy to turn around they will buy as many products
    as possible form US owned and US made companies. The look to purchase from
    US made and Foreign owned companies.

    I am proud to be union and I realize that impact the auto industry is having
    on the chemical industry. Many chemical plants produce products used to
    make plastics and components used in the auto industry. I know it not just
    the auto industry that is causing this but it is one of the biggest markets
    to several manufactures that purchase chemicals to make auto parts and
    components. In my area, we have approximately 35 chemical plants in a 50
    mile radius and over half have shut their doors due to the recession.

    So buy American and save a job either non union or union.

    USW Member and Proud

    Licker, May 2, 2009
  7. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    Except that it is like I said: The present government is so beholden to
    the union constituency that it will put pressure on the process to
    compromise *everyone's* interests *except* the unions. Creditors will
    be asked or forced to swallow debt. The taxpayer will guarantee
    everything and continue to pour money into the situation as it worsens
    and worsens. The *last* component to be required to sacrifice will be
    the unions because of Obama's personal interests.

    And on top of that he is going to push thru "card check" in which
    workers will *not* be allowed to have a secret ballot on saying if they
    want union or not - a union person will watch while they fill out the
    card and they will be subject to all kinds of harassment if they don't
    vote the "correct" way, or at the least, *many* people will fear that as
    a possibility. It is a known psychological influence on people voting
    if they know that others will know how they vote. Fear of retaliation
    is real.

    Basically it goes against *everything* American to not have secret
    ballots. It is thuggery, and it is one reason many people are so
    disgusted with the unions. But Obama will make sure things go your way
    on the card check.
    Except I happen to feel that unions hurt quality and competitiveness.

    I personally worked for a supplier to Delphi in which we took part in
    the PICOS process (I assume you know about the PICOS process. Basically
    it was contracts, engineering, and production people at the supplier
    getting with contracts and engineering people from Delphi and
    brainstorming cost cutting measures on a given part that we manufactured
    and sold to Delphi.

    One of the ground rules DUE TO AGREEMENTS WITH THE UNIONS (agreements
    unique to GM and its sister companies) was that if one of our cost
    cutting proposals would result in fewer workers being on the processing
    line involving that part back at Delphi, that cost cutting proposal had
    to be marked off the list automatically - could not even be considered.
    Union jobs could not be eliminated for cost-cutting. In other words,
    Delphi had to be at a competitive disadvantage so the union could have
    excess people on the payroll.

    Gee - do you think *THAT* might have put your jobs in jeopardy in our
    present situation?
    You're extrapolating. I never said I was against union made products.
    I *AM* against the union mindset in which you intentionally put your
    employer at a competitive disadvantage because you think you have a
    right to a job without the normal pressures of the market place.
    In the free market, things take care of themselves. With the government
    micromanaging this situation, including telling them what products they
    have to produce - not based on what the consumer and the market wants
    but on politically correct crap - it will just require more and more
    taxpayer money to keep it afloat until the whole thing collapses instead
    of doing what it takes to make them truly competitive.
    But they're talking about passing cap and trade. If that happens, you
    can say good-bye to your manufacturing jobs because they will all move
    to overseas locations. Your own union leaders are selling you down the
    river because they are helping the cap and trade pass because of the
    symbiotic relation between Obama and the unions.

    You might want to read up on cap and trade. It is an economy killer and
    a job killer. But you will be in favor of it because your union leaders
    tell you it's a good thing. Suckers.
    Let's have this conversation again 5 or 10 years from now after the
    "chickens have come home to roost".
    Bill Putney, May 2, 2009
  8. Jim Higgins

    Miles Guest

    Bull! Auto Unions have made it impossible to compete with above market
    value benefit packages. Sorry, nobody should earn $25/hr just to put
    lug nuts on a car. Per your last comment, Quality in cars has as much
    to do with design as it does with the quality of workers building it.
    Workers quality has gone down the tubes and a lot has to do with
    concessions made by the manufactures towards unions. Bring back market
    value wages and benefits and we'll see more jobs and better cars. Hold
    your tone towards the unions and see what you win...no jobs....good plan.
    Miles, May 3, 2009
  9. Many trade union leaders had a lot to answer for in British industry, but
    often it was poor management that led to unhappy conditions. It seems both
    'parties' have evolved for the better. (That was in more recent years, not
    just since the present credit crunch.)

    It's always easy to blame 'the workers'.


    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    Dori A Schmetterling, May 3, 2009
  10. Jim Higgins

    News Guest

    Yeah, right. You pay a local garage or dealership higher labor rates
    than that -- to replace poor OEM quality nuts...
    News, May 3, 2009
  11. Jim Higgins

    Miles Guest

    It's far easier to blame the big bad greedy companies it seems. Things
    work when there is a balance of power between the unions and the
    manufactures. I feel when times were good the balance swung in favor of
    the unions and nothing put it back in balance when times worsened.
    Bankruptcy is the best option. It cleans house on both sides and should
    reestablish a balance beneficial to both.
    Miles, May 3, 2009
  12. Jim Higgins

    Miles Guest

    Huh? You think a shops labor rate equals what the entry level kid
    putting lug nuts on earns??? I might pay $95/hr at a local shop. The
    kid putting on the tires at that shop does NOT earn $25/hr. That money
    has to pay quite a few costs and not just direct labor. Sorry, nobody
    should earn $25/hr just to put lug nuts on a car but they do if they are
    UAW members.
    Miles, May 3, 2009
  13. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    You're quite the ignorant person. And you probably vote based on your
    ignorant ideas.
    Bill Putney, May 3, 2009
  14. Jim Higgins

    News Guest

    You are some fact-deaf moron, skippy.
    News, May 3, 2009
  15. Jim Higgins

    News Guest

    Out of pocket to the purchaser, it makes no difference whatsoever.
    News, May 3, 2009
  16. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    Once again proving your gross ignorance.
    Bill Putney, May 3, 2009
  17. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    There are a lot of people who have as little understanding of economics
    as you do. Unfortunately many of them vote, and some of them are even
    in Congress. Look up the word "overhead" and "mass production". (Hint:
    What a business charges for a service has to be way more than just what
    the individual performing the service gets paid, and to try to equate
    the two like you did shows gross ignorance or worse; also you show gross
    ignorance, or worse, by trying to equate a high volume mass-production
    situation with a "one off" operation.)

    Have a nice day, jiff, or peter pan or whatever your name is.
    Bill Putney, May 3, 2009
  18. Jim Higgins

    News Guest

    Double-down, YOURS, skippy.

    Your moronic "contributions" here are legendary.
    News, May 3, 2009
  19. Jim Higgins

    Bill Putney Guest

    What language is that? Can someone translate?

    Am satisfied letting the reader judge who's FOS here. Not worried. I
    see you don't have any debating skills and revert to what you just did
    when you have no argument.
    Bill Putney, May 4, 2009
  20. Jim Higgins

    News Guest


    Your comment would be hilarious, if it were not so sad.

    You display the same, 100% repeated, aberrant behavior in each and every
    thread you troll. Some purposely created in which to troll.

    A behavior like Nathan Thurm, the SNL character played by Martin Short.

    A shady lawyer, Thurm was a chain-smoker, quite paranoid, and constantly
    in denial about his paranoia. "I'm not being defensive. You're the one
    who's being defensive."

    When questioned, his catch phrase often included, "It's so funny to me
    that you would think..." He would also look into the camera and express
    his puzzlement at the questioner by asking, "Is it me, or is it him?
    It's him, right?"

    Other times, he would deny an accusation, then immediately reverse his
    position when the accuser reaffirmed the statement. "No, it isn't!"
    ("Yes it is.") "I know that! Why wouldn't I know that? I'm well aware of

    News, May 4, 2009
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