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Monday, November 1, 2010

FIAT/Chrysler Frustration

What was the last major bit of news you've heard from Chrysler?

The year 2009 was a difficult time for the US economy as two of our Big Three file for Chapter 11.

Ever since what was perhaps the single most humiliating moment in American automobile history, GM recognized the need for change and transparency, and we've been provided with ample coverage on activities within GM since.

But what was the last major thing you've heard from Chrysler? How the hell are you going to tell me that after we (US gov. approximately 10% owner) bailed out their sorry ass, the only appreciation they have to show for it was to crawl behind Fiat's shoulder?

WAIT! This was actually good news for many of us. Not so much because there's any hope for Chrysler at the moment, but because we've been eyeing at cars from Fiat S.p.A. for many years. 

FIAT 500
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alas, we come face to face by that expectation/reality moment. It isn't coming. Rather than the Giulietta, some sources say the Chrysler boardroom suggests that North America is better suited for a Dodge Caliber replacement based on the Giulietta chassis instead. Now I wonder what genius thought Dodge stood a chance against, let alone one up, Giulietta's gorgeous exterior.

There we have it, the one saving grace of the whole operation was the possibility of bringing Italian cars to the States again. Unfortunately, and somewhat unsurprisingly, people at Chrysler managed to drop the ball on that one too.

The funny thing is, I've never had my heart at Chrysler. To be sure that I wouldn't later be picked apart by internet trolls for being a hypocrite, I double checked Chrysler's forgettable line-up up to the past ten year to see if there's one model I actually like. Sure enough, nothing. Meh to the Crossfire SRT6 (based on an older SLK) and meh to the 300 (based on an older E-class).

So, I suspect you will challenge whether I think I could do a better job. Why yes, as a matter of fact. My plan of attack is simple.

Step 1: Keep Jeep and Ram trucks. Those two are actually performing well and dropping Jeep is sacrilege anyway. Dodge Viper deserves a chance to be nurtured too. Dump/set fire to everything else.

Step 2: Take the Italian cars to North American shores.

Step 3: (optional publicity gig): license a remake of the Graduate using the Alfa Romeo 8C Cabriolet.

Result: Turn Rodeo Dr. into Notting Hill, and call it a day.

Top Gear, Season 13 Episode 3

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