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Chrysler's current status

Old 08-27-2010, 12:42 PM
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Default Chrysler's current status

I just wanted to get everyone's opinion about your view of how Chrysler is doing. My opinion is foggy. There are things that definitely have improved, particularly interiors. I do not credit this to the new Fiat management, but to the freedom from Daimler. The new Ram was the first new model to demonstrate this which is prior to the current management. I believe that the less than desired interiors that came out in models post-merger was left over designs that had been designed during the merger. As we can see with the Grand Cherokee, there are still projects that were started under the latter Daimler years that are still being completed, fortunately the freedom is finding better developed vehicles.

The news that comes from Chrysler is sounding very optimistic without the after flavor of secret depression. The new products appear to be a lot more competitive and much better looking all around than they ever were in the Daimler years. The engines are getting up to date and the newer designs appear to pick up right where Chrysler left off right before the Vampire-Benz entered the scene.

However, I have grave concerns about the long term outcome. Let's start with the LX cars.

ZF transmission:
This business about in the future replacing the Mercedes W5A580 transmission with a 8-speed ZF design raises some concerns of what strategies are going to be used in the new management. This feels very Daimler like. "Chrysler is incapable to build their own transmission or anything else for that matter so we will outsource it from a European contractor" is the feeling I get from them which was the attitude from Daimler. What this ignores is what Chrysler already has and the advantages of not having to pay royalties or the ability to abandon a design if it has flaws.

This is a potential repeat of the JATCO CVT mistake (poor fuel economy, weaker acceleration, and only certain people like it). Although it might sound good on paper, will it be the improvement we are lead to believe. The reason why I ask this is the W5A580 was supposed to be a huge improvement over the Chrysler 42RLE if it were equipped with the V6 because it was a 5-speed and a Mercedes design so it must be able to cure cancer (jk), the result the acceleration did not change at all, the fuel economy remained the same, and the cost went up.

Are 8 gear ratios truly necessary? If so, why don't I see every sports car with a manual with 7 or more ratios? The underlying problem is the performance advantage of having the extra ratios could be lost in the time lost in shifting more times. If they wanted to go beyond Ford and GM, the more logical choice would be a Dual-Clutch automated manual which has less power loss.

Also what happens if it fails as transmissions do? It is going to cost a lot more than a Chrysler one will just. Why don't they simply make a lighter duty version of the 68RFE with adjusted gear ratios similar to what GM and Ford use in there respective models? These transmissions are reliable, cost less, and are in house designs. Paying this much to pay for a foreign 8-speed is going to ensure the Challenger will never be able to compete in price.

What made Chrysler great back in the 90s was the fact that although there was unfortunately some outsourcing (or "joint venturing" with Mitsubishi), they were self reliant and were able to make some of the greatest stuff. All of Chrysler's new models after 93 were earning award after award and the platforms themselves were developed by Chrysler. The newer I4s although less than perfect in reliability initially were powerful and fuel efficient. The V6s (with the exception of the 2.7L) were reliable and class leading in power for displacement. The interiors were a dramatic improvement from what existed before but had a few teething issues. The transmissions admittedly were less than perfect, but were improving.

Dodge's brand image:
The new management is making two big marketing mistakes. 1. Performance brands and trucks go together like peanut butter and jelly. The trucks make the cars seem tough and the cars make the trucks seem exciting. Non-performance cars like that Chrysler used to have like the Neon (yes the SRT was but that was at the end of the run), also gained from this image. 2. Dropping the Viper is an enormous mistake. It was winning contests, giving Dodge a positive image. The fuel mileage was amazing considering the whale sized engine that it had. In fact, that engine is a trump card that could be used in other models that make sense (the Ram SRT-10 never made sense though I liked it anyhow) in very limited production models with pricing adjusted accordingly.

Your thoughts?
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