Daimler About to Get Hosed in Chrysler Sale

No one could save this marriage. Certainly not Dr. Z.

Daimler purchased Chrysler for over $30 Billion in the summer of 1998. Today, news arrives that the first bid for Chrysler is being prepared. The total? $4.5 Billion. So the pending bids should be in the $4 - $6 Billion range as well.

Not good for Daimler, but they have decided to cut and run, as they say. Analysts said it was a bad marriage from the start. I verbally said it was a bad marriage. Like other bad marriages (Pepsi's ownership of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut; AMEX's ownership of Lehman Brothers), this ended with a thump (but a far, far bigger thump than the others).

In a just world, the workers would own most of the shares of Chrysler, and we could have the most fair ownership structure in what's left of the US automotive industry. Ford and GM saw the future well before Chrysler did - expansion of manufacturing to Australia and China. But Chrysler owns a solid Jeep brand, and a resurgent Dodge brand. Both market strongly to male buyers, but interestingly have drawn female buyers to their products in impressive numbers (the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Caliber, for example, are popular with women). There can still be a niche for this family of products.

Chrysler is 'damaged goods' today. But 50 years ago, it was one of the most prestigious and

successful brands in the world

. And 40 years ago, it was the leader in muscle cars (especially the Plymouth marque) in an era of prosperity that came to abrupt halt in 1973. The Pontiac GTO and Oldsmobile 442 are legends. But Plymouth had the Valiant (the boxy 67 coupe was amazing), Barracuda, Fury, Satellite, and Duster, not to mention the outrageous Superbird. Plymouths played major roles in movies (Duel) and novels (Christine). Anyone who loves the sixties will probably tell you that 66/67 was the peak of all the decade had to offer, including cars. Times change, and we must all change with them, or risk being thrown out.

Yeah, I know that sounds very Capitalist, but I assure you I am a Democratic Socialist (who likes cars).