Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pentastar: On the Rise?

It looks like the days of forcing obsolete product onto dealers may be over, at least for one of the big three. Chrysler's CEO, Bob Nardelli who may have failed to distinguish himself as CEO of Home Depot, is showing some overdue leadership among the domestic car makers. Nardelli looks to see that Chrysler is more attuned to the desires of American car buyers. One can only hope that the days of "product out" are giving way to "customer in".

Nardelli is poised to boldly pull the plug on non-performing models in favor of new designs that will more closely reflect consumer demand. Hopefully the days of pushing poorly designed and executed products out the door en masse will end in favor of those that can offer real competition to Japanese and German competition. GM has shown some of the same leadership of late when it killed Oldsmobile but all three of the domestic car makers have more of that coming if they are to survive.

According to The Detroit News, Chrysler's product-cutting plan is all but official. The first three models on the chopping block, according to the newspaper's unnamed sources, are the Magnum, Pacifica and the PT Cruiser. The next round could include the Jeep Commander if it doesn't get its act together.Sales on the first three models were down as much as 32% through September, and the company's new boss, Bob Nardelli, isn't in a playing-around mood.

Company insiders have told the Det News that Nardelli is taking very close looks at the current lineup and isn't exactly thrilled. Supposedly, Dodge's Dakota and Avenger and Chrysler's Sebring are also feeling the Nardelli heat. The newspaper quotes Nardelli as saying, "I'm not a designer, but I'm a consumer," he said. "Rather than deny some of the (negative) reports that are out there you kind of embrace them and say, what do we want to do to take our vehicle from where it is to where consumers want it to be?"



Bike Bubba said...

Personally, I think this is a bad move. You can't keep cutting products in order to achieve sales--pretty soon people realize that unless they want a minivan, 300C, or Ram, they have no reason to visit the dealer at all.

In the case of these three products, they are products that Chrysler desperately needs to get right. Canceling them shows Nardelli as a newer Al Dunlap, not the new Iacocca.

Jeff Kouba said...

The little woman and I just got a new Toyota Sienna. Theh domestics just don't excite me like Toyota does these days.

Kermit said...

Not the PT Cruiser! Oh the tragedy!

When we were in VA this summer we rented a Malibu. I was impressed. I'm not much for sedans, but this one had some heft, performed well and got reasonable gas mileage. There was actually headroom.