Chrysler Giving Up on Cars?

August 8, 2008
It makes sense to some industry analysts and to the team here at TheCarConnection.com--but Chrysler is denying that it's planning to drop its car lineup and link up with Nissan in an alliance that would leave Chrysler to focus on trucks, SUVs, and minivans.

The Wall Street Journal reports the two companies are discussing a broad-ranging alliance that would add to their agreements to build trucks and cars for each other. Last year, the pair announced a plan in which Nissan would supply Chrysler a small car for sale in markets outside the U.S., derived from its Versa hatchback, and would engineer a new small car for Chrysler for sale in the U.S. For its part, Chrysler will develop the next Titan for Nissan.

The new reports say the companies are embarking on a "radical" plan that if approved, would lead Chrysler to cease development on passenger cars. The Detroit News says Chrysler is still working on Plan D, which would revamp Chrysler's mid-size Avenger and Sebring sedans. Chrysler is also working on a planned restyling of its 300/Charger sedans for the 2011-2012 time frame.

A pairing with Nissan would be a logical move, because there's so little overlap in expertise. Like Northwest and Delta teaming up, Chrysler and Nissan excel in what the other company doesn't--Chrysler's minivans, Jeeps and big trucks are the perfect complement to Nissan's Altima, Z, and Infiniti lineup. It also fits the pattern of alliances that Nissan's talked up for a decade--and Chrysler's owners at Cerberus might be keen to tap for a quick product fix.

What's your take--is Chrysler better off tying its future to Nissan, or does it have a better plan to go it alone? Tell us in a comment below.

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