Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What will happen to Chrysler?

The consensus seems to be that Chrysler will be sold soon (with Cerberus, the company that bought it from Daimler last year, taking a huge hit), with the questions being who will buy it, and what they'll do with it. Most speculation has centered on General Motors as the buyer, although Renault-Nissan has also been mentioned.

Brandweek speculates that the big prize is Jeep, which is still a powerful brand name, and which they say might be combined by GM with Hummer (which has been a major dud brand and is down almost 50% in sales this year):
"Whoever buys Chrysler is buying it for Jeep," said Gordon Wangers, an independent auto consultant based in San Diego. He said that General Motors, one of the possible buyers of Chrysler, would be able to bolster its Hummer brand, for which it built enormous dedicated dealerships for (sic) but has failed to perform.
Ad Age takes a similar view, noting that GM already has a bunch of brands it doesn't need (Buick, Pontiac, etc.) and certainly doesn't need the Chrysler name. One consultant suggested re-selling some of the brands and dealership networks to foreign buyers:
Mr. Tynan said GM could raise more cash if it flipped some or all of Chrysler's vehicle brands, which do some 90% of their business in this country. The most likely buyers would be from China, Russia or India, because it would provide "instant penetration" into the U.S. with an already-established dealer network.

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