Is Chrysler About to Become America's Mercedes?

Joshua Duval
2009 Chrysler 300

What does a successful American automaker do after getting purchased by a prestigious German brand, losing market share at a rapid pace, being sold to an investment firm, entering a financial crisis, getting berated by Congress for producing unwanted vehicles, and barely winning the financial aid needed to make it through the end of year? You become the American equivalent of that prestigious German automaker, of course.

According to Jim Press, that's exactly what Chrysler will do if it weathers its current financial woes. Press told Automotive News that Chrysler "is going to be a smaller, more focused company. We could be the Mercedes or BMW of America."

"If Mercedes-Benz built a pickup truck, that's what it would be," he said, referring to the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck. The new truck is a sign of the company's new direction.

"If there's one company in America that can build high-craftsmanship, innovative vehicles, it's Chrysler," Press continued. Chrysler, he says, will make premium vehicles from the ground up, whereas GM and Ford "are making basic cars and 'gingerbreading' them up to premium."

Press cites the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee as an example of the quality cars Chrysler will build. He said it had the most rigid body and best suspension of any vehicle he has seen. Chrysler's next generation of vehicles will demonstrate "what America could become if we could buy the time."

Source: Automotive News

Bring back Lee Iacocca! Everyone loved his commercials, and the 7/70 protection plan!
Is there any vehicle in their lineup that could even remotely be compared to a Mercedes? The 300/Charger is a long shot at best. The closest thing Mercedes builds to a minivan is the R-Class. Sebring? Pfft.Chrysler has a lot of work to do. I suppose I should applaud them on deciding what direction the Chrysler brand will take. Cut everything out of the Jeep line-up except the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and then leave it alone, make Dodge the volume seller, and take Chrysler upmarket. If they can make it work, kudos. They've got a lot of room for improvement though.
Chrysler is losing touch with reality. Kind of sad, really. You cant build world class premium cars if you can't even build decent mid market cars on your own. Unfortunately, delusions of grandeur don't substitute well for product development.Chrysler To Do List:1. Reduce product line (Sebring, Nitro, Caliber)2. Improve quality of remaining cars.3. Go to step two.
Great, then all they need to do is replace their entire product lineup with radically different products that actually fit that bill.
As a long time proponent of Chrysler vehicles and one who owned many during the 60s and 70s including muscle cars, this would be the exact formula for Chrysler that I would prescribe. Let Ford and GM build vehicles for the appliance minded and Chrysler will build high quality, high content , competent vehicles that those with the accumen and money would buy.

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