Would You Buy a Car from Chrysler?

Note the next to last paragraph about Fiat quality (or "quality"). R.I.P. Chrysler.
Would You Buy a Car from Chrysler?
http://tinyurl.com/dlxqvc
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 carmakersfiling for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganizationeveryone 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 modelsChrysler Sebring, Jeep Liberty, and Grand Cherokeescore 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 bankruptcythat buyers will assume no one will be around to fix their carshould 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 involved. 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 reorganization.
"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 considering."
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.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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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 sort.
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?
DAS
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On Fri, 01 May 2009 11:17:29 -0400, Jim Higgins wrote:

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.
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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 pressures.
(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.
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Bill Putney
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I fi were in the market for a domnating car with character I would but a Charger or Challenger. (While they're still around?)
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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. http://www.uaw.org/uawmade/auto/2009/index.cfm
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
Brent
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Licker wrote:

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".
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Bill Putney
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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'.
DAS
To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

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.
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Licker wrote:

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.
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Miles wrote:

Yeah, right. You pay a local garage or dealership higher labor rates than that -- to replace poor OEM quality nuts...
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News wrote:

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.
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Miles wrote:

Out of pocket to the purchaser, it makes no difference whatsoever.
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News wrote:

Once again proving your gross ignorance.
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Bill Putney
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Bill Putney wrote:

Double-down, YOURS, skippy.
Your moronic "contributions" here are legendary.
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News wrote:

What language is that? Can someone translate?

...yawn...
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.
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Bill Putney wrote:

Debate?
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 that!"
Imagine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLBQxk72NY

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News wrote:

Examples of where I created a troll thread? There are none.

Except I don't do any of that - if I did, you'd be supplying examples, and the fact is that without lieing, you can't provide examples.
So let's discuss the issues instead of using Nathan Thurm diversions.
Pick a recent subject and tell me where I'm wrong. Choose from the following:
(1) Did I lie when I said that union rules won't let GM implement cost savings with their suppliers if such cost savings would involve eliminating workers from GM or Delphi's assembly lines?
(2) Will cap and trade not drive much of remaining manufacturing jobs overseas and/or just eliminate those jobs?
(3) Is card check (someone standing over the worker while he fills out his card) not an abomination to freedom for workers freely and without coercion and without implied threats of retaliation making a decision on whether to unionize?
(4) Are union leaders (for steel workers in particular) not selling their workers down the river by their helping campaign for cap and trade (which will actually lose jobs for union and non-union alike) as payment to Obama for him pushing thru card check?
Or pick another valid topic. (Key word *valid*. For example, the topic of comparing what a dealer charges for putting a part on vs. what a union worker gets paid at the plant for the same procedure is not a valid topic - that's a slam dunk in that your an idiot for equating the two - and for doing so more than once.)
BTW - yes, peter pan/jiff - I know who the troll is here (nice try, calling *me* the troll, but that is one of the trolling tactics, is it not?), but I'll play along for a little bit.
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Bill Putney wrote:

When did you ever stop trolling?
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News wrote:

Are you still an alcoholic, and do you still beat your wife?
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