NEW YORK - Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli is a car enthusiast, everyone at Chrysler likes to point out. He was the keynote speaker at the launch of the New York International Auto Show, where he was touted as "a huge car enthusiast." Nardelli's speech broke no new ground, except for giving a hint at Cerberus' investment in the automaker, and how the private equity firm views its acquisition.
"In a sense, Chrysler is like a $60-billion start-up company with a rare opportunity to truly redefine its own company culture and path to success," Nardelli said. It's doubtful, of course, that Cerberus has put in anything like $60 billion into Chrysler, yet, but it may be headed that way. The good news here is that this is the first indication of Cerberus having any clue as to what it costs to build decent cars and trucks.
His other eyebrow-raising statement was this: "We've gone from being a scrappy underdog of a company, with its own identity, culture and metrics ... to a division in a much larger company ... which as any parent company would do, drove to create synergies and eliminate redundancies."
Division? Of a private equity firm, which by definition "strips and flips" troubled companies to make a profit?
Nardelli also announced Chrysler has appointed the industry's first-ever "chief customer officer." This is part of Chrysler's simple strategy, "enhancing our core, extending our business and expanding our markets." Chrysler sold a record 238,000 units in foreign markets last year, and has set a goal of 400,000 by 2012.
In a brief Q&A, he said that closing the California Pacifica studio won't hurt Chrysler design, because design resources are being redistributed around the world, in what Nardelli calls looking "for more globality in our designs."
Of Project Genesis, the plan to "triple" all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers and cut back on redundant models (like Sebring and Avenger), Nardelli said "our brands will get stronger as we reduce our overlapping products."
That's a much stronger, more direct plan than "enhanced core, extended business and expanded market." Let's hope Nardelli can get that done before Cerberus chooses to reorganize its divisions.
Source: Motor Trend