• ElroyH Posted: 5/5/2009 4:54am PDT

    "Sharing the blame"

    Ultimately, the blame goes to the managers -- whether Daimler or Chrysler - that didn't benchmark these designs and gave them the green light.
    My gut feel is that Daimler is ultimately the one most responsible.
    My basis for this is the fact that Chrysler is seeking a partnership with Fiat for its next generation of small vehicle engines.
    But consider this -- Daimler -- who owned 20% of Chrysler -- sells the small Mercedes B Class in Canada -- but not in the US. The B class has a variety of engines -- 1.5L, 1.7L, 2.0L gas and diesel, including turbo. Why wouldn't they share this with Chrysler? There would be no cannibalization of Mercedes US sales because they didn't market the B Class in the US.

  • John Voelcker Posted: 5/4/2009 7:19am PDT

    "more on the Crossfire"

    Nice piece, Bengt. I agree entirely with your take on the Crossfire, and in fact I'd heard that Auburn Hills had no more than *15* people working on the *entire* Crossfire program. The entire design, productionizing, and validation was jobbed out to Karmann.
    And, yes, the Sebring/Avenger is truly as bad as the reviews. Grim interior, atrocious handling, bad assembly and, above all else, the styling of the Sebring ?!?!? I would love to know who green-lighted that camel of a car.
    Ended up with a Caliber rental recently. It's a very nice econobox ... for 1994. For 2009, not even close. And, I'd argue that choosing a CVT only added to the alienation, because there's so little sound insulation that the disconnect between engine speed and road speed is noisily, painfully, obtrusively obvious.

  • David S Posted: 5/4/2009 6:57am PDT

    "Daimler"

    I agree rocket88, what does 4 out of the 5 cars here have in common. They where concieved and launched during the Daimler era! No wonder cerberus was suing daimler. The only car i disagree with is the Challenger. This car is a shot in the arm to Dodge. Also the Pacifica was a good car, customers love them and they are reliable. They where ahead of there time. Also they where so heavly daimler influnced that chrysler lost money on every car they sold. Daimler killed the quality inside and out on these cars and also killed the gas milage. My fathers neon gets 35mpg! What does the Caliber get? Diamler knew this and I think the wanted Chrysler gone.

  • Larry Huffman Posted: 5/3/2009 7:53pm PDT

    "Subcaliber"

    I can agree Chrysler would have been better off with a true followup or advanced Neon rather than the Caliber. Compared to the Neon, the Caliber mileage is well behind. Indeed, I still own a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville that returns 31.2 mpg on the highway. That's better than a lot of these small cars!

  • Peter Tickle Posted: 5/3/2009 5:43pm PDT

    "Remember the Aspen !!!"

    Don't you find it strange the the last time Chrysler was in this shape the had the Dodge Aspen... And Now there is the Chryser Aspen. Did They think were would forget That All time recall king...

  • seano Posted: 5/3/2009 4:53pm PDT

    "None of these cars 'killed' Chrysler..."

    Despite the fact that the five cars listed are either awful, irrelevant or even both.....they didn't 'kill' Chrysler. Certainly not on their lonesome.
    Long gone is the day when the cars themselves were the primary means of making profit.....the margins are just too small. The money roled in on financing, options and all the other added on goodies. Only a few select models made money through profit - mostly in the luxury and dinosaur (read big utes like the Ram) market - and these too were found wanting when buyers went away.
    This company failed due to a long series of bad decisions, unfortunate outcomes, stupid ideas and rampant greed from any number of players. The cars were just the models on the runway....pretty but useless. Especially when the rest of the show was organised and run like a carnival on crack.

  • rocket88 Posted: 5/3/2009 11:34am PDT

    "Daimler Killed Chrysler!!!"

    These cars didn't kill Chrysler. Daimler sucking the life out of it and spitting it out did.

  • Adrian Villaruz Posted: 5/3/2009 7:37am PDT

    "Challenger OK, but dissapointing"

    The new challenger is a beautiful car, as was the old challenger. They look almost identical. No modern interpretation. No innovation. No attempt at attracting current driving enthusiasts. Too big, too thirsty. Who designed this car, some Baby Boomer waxing nostalgic about hanging out at the supermarket parking lot?

  • Bill Burke Posted: 5/2/2009 1:24pm PDT

    "Markerting, perhaps. Car,no."

    I can't argue with your evaluation of the Sebring/Avenger twins. I drove an Avenger, liked the styling and thought it was pretty nice,but the press needed something to hate from Chrysler and these twins were it. All the rest of the auto press fell into line fearing being out of step with the crowd. Look for much better mid-size offerings soon. I own a Pacifica, which are very popular on L.I.,N.Y. and absolutely love it. I've experienced a few other cross-overs from Lexus and Ford and the Pacifica is far better. This was a problem with marketing,not product. I've also owned two Crossfires,a coupe and a roadster and think they are a blast and an unbelievable value. I'm keeping the roadster forever. I've had absolutely no problems with any of my Chrysler products. Your opinion on the Challenger is not worthy of comment. By the way, Chrysler is not dead,sorry!

  • Bengt Halvorson Posted: 5/2/2009 11:41am PDT

    "Crossfire, Mr"

    Joe A., good call on the Crossfire -- I considered it, but I don't think it killed Chrysler. Since it was essentially a regifted, thinly veiled version of the SLK, assembled by Karmann (and even had an all M-B powertrain), it's probably not fair to say that the Crossfire diverted much if any of Chrysler's U.S. resources from developing good cars. And I don't think we can say that it brought down Chrysler's reputation (didn't help it either in the end). It's simply the closest Chrysler came to selling a rebadged Mercedes-Benz.

  • dave Posted: 5/2/2009 7:43am PDT

    "CHALLENGER"

    The Challenger along with the Camaro and Mustang are the best ideas the big three have in an otherwise field of cookie cutter looking cars.

  • Joe Amato Posted: 5/2/2009 6:41am PDT

    "Mr"

    I think the Challanger is a great car that brings back teenage dreams. Not just in me a 40 year old but in most 15 year olds! I think you would be better served by using the Crossfire as a really bad idea!

  • Eddie Posted: 5/1/2009 7:52pm PDT

    "Challenger is great!"

    The fact that you made fun of the only exciting product offering from all of Chrysler speaks volumes about how badly the inept management ruined the company! These disasters, save for the Challenger, were the result of incompetent project managers who know very little about making cars people want. This is what happens when bean counters run engineering firms! When cost is the ONLY thing that matters, crap like the Nitro and the Caliber happen! When companies don't allocate enough money for R&D and market studies to determine what vehicles people want and then design those cars, we get half baked compromise machines that no one wants! People didn't go out seeking to buy a Caliber. they went looking for one because it was cheap. $4/gal gas prices created unusual market conditions that drove people to buy cars that they normally won't. Even Today, GM makes more profit selling larger cars than small ones. When gas prices go down to normal levels, people go back to their normal shopping needs. They buy cars they want! Toyota couldn't sell the Prius fast enough but once gas prices went down, so did the sales of Priuses. I have a suggestion to the editor: how about you write about the top 5 managers who ruined Chrysler? Now THAT is a story I want to read!

  • Bob Marks Posted: 5/1/2009 6:10pm PDT

    "Caliber comments"

    You are all wet on the Caliber mileage! Our '08
    Caliber SXT with the 2.0L engine averages 26-28
    mpg, and we have seen 30.4mpg as well!
    Friends that have them also report mileage over
    26mpg!