Sometimes an article attracts comments that warrant a separate post. This is one. Bill’s Comment:
This is a sad day for us MOPAR orphans. I truly wonder what Lee Iacocca thinks about this after so much hard work to save the company years ago.
I’d still like to think that if Iacocca hadn’t been so pig headed and left the company to Bob Lutz instead of Bob Eaton Chrysler might have survived. It wasn’t that long ago that LH models, PT Crusiers, and RAM pick ups were bring in lots of cash for pre-Daimler Chrysler. Chris Theodore had the Magnum, Charger, and 300 ready for production, and a third generation NEON was awaiting approval. Chrysler still held the honor as the world’s best selling minivan and convertible, and I believe they had a shot at the future. Daimler came in, took the billion dollars of reserve cash, replcaed the NEON with the POS Caliber, severed the Mitsubshi relationship, and almost lost the RAM truck business. Daimler damaged Chrysler so badly I guess the FIAT deal was all they had left. I’ll continue to be a Blue Oval customer as I do believe that FORD builds the best cars sold in America today. I hope they continue, as I really do not want to change brand loyalty anytime soon, nor start the import car habit.
I loved the Magnum, the Charger – not so much. But I’m sorry, the Neon wouldn’t be something I’d hold up as major player for Chrysler. Having owned one, I am confident the were a very bad attempt to make a compact/street tuner. Maybe not an EPIC fail but a fail none the less. (My son was in a side impact accident where the Neon split wide open. If he’d been any slower the impact would have been at the driver door and I doubt he’d be here today. – No air bags deployed.) I understand their claim to fame with the Mini Van, but they were not stellar, many issues even when new. They sold, because they were “inexpensive”.
You mentioned the RAM trucks, but again, I’m not sure the quality is there. Chrysler sold a lot during the Homeland Security boom, in particular to Border Patrol, but they just didn’t hold up well, here in the southwest. They are slowly replacing them with Chevy. I’m not sure how the Mitsubshi relationship started, but they do have some good engines (case in point the LaBarron) – I seem to recall the Stealth (2000 or 3000) was the first major Mitsubshi contribution.
I think you are correct FORD has been consistent and since the 1950’s has been producing cars worth of being American. In fact, I am going out on the limb and say we’ll see the 2015 Mustang winning one off the Car of the Year awards.
I’d like to jump to GM they’ve had a fantastic year – Caddy CTS winning car of the year. Corvette and Silverado winning awards this year as well.
It remains to be seen what becomes of Chrysler, I hope it returns to producing quality cars and stays here in the US. BTW – I love the Challenger!!!!
Drop me a note.
Thank for reading.
Thanks for the blog and sounding post!
I have to comment on the Neon and minivan. These were vehicles that were the ‘best for the money’.
The NEON was the first factory produced car that was available ‘race ready’. You could order an ACR NEON that had no AC, no ABS, no Air Bag, and NEON RACING decals in the trunk. My friend that worked at Santa Cruz Dodge ordered an ACR NEON and it was ‘bang for the buck’. He auto crossed this car across the State of California and had a blast. Then the SRT NEON was introduced and again it was ‘bang for the buck’. Having said all this, my original point with the NEON was Daimler replcaed this car with the Caliber, and it was a terrible vehicle that laid an egg in that car segment.
The minivan was another best for the money vehicle. Always about $5,000 less than a competitor Seinna, or Odyseey it would maintain the market lead until Daimler dropped the ball. The forth generation minivans under Daimler were de-contented without a price reduction, and slipped in reliability and saftey ratings.
Finally, about Mitsubshi. Chrysler had 49% ownership of Mitsubshi from the late 1970s. This produced excellent cars such as the Dodge Colt and D50 RAM, but the really great product was the Diamond Star trio of the Laser, Talon, and Eclipse. I owned a Laser Turbo and it was 100% trouble free and would easily cruise at 130MPH (I got a ticket in Oklahoma wih the radar gun showing 124MPH, and was let off for 10 over). These cars were built in Illinois as a joint venture and were always a Car and Driver 10 Best awrad winner. Again, Daimler severed the Mitsubshi relationship and sold the ownership, and both Chrysler and Mitsubshi lost out here. (Today the Daimond Star plant produces the Galant only)
My only GM car ownership experience, a 2001 Impala, has tainted me on the brand. Other than a Corvette, I cannot bring myself to vere consider a GM car. I actually experienced the GM decline personally with my father’s cars. He bought a new Buick LeSabre every 7 years from the 1960s throughout the 1990s. Up until his 1982 purchase, all of these cars were bulletproof to 100K miles, then in 1982 everything changed, and in 1989 it got even worse. His GM loyality still endured, eventhough the cars were spending many days a year in the service bays with issues such as the dashboard falling off the firewall, exploading window regulators, intake manifold failures, transmission logic controller failures, and even a heater blower motor that failed every three months like clockwork, etc, etc. I still believe that Toyota’s best salesperson was named General Motors.
Thanks for letting me rant!
You can build reliable cars without all the extras. Folks that plopped down hard earned money wanted something to get them around – not something that would leave them stranded or fighting the dealership for honoring warrantee work. Once you gain that poor quality tag it’s tough to shake. And it wasn’t just MOPAR, as we all know it was the U.S. auto industry in total.