I don’t know how we went from this to this, but I do know the Dodge Journey is Chrysler’s attempt to keep their promises of future.
Even after ‘inventing’ the first contemporarily packaged, attainable mainstream minivan in the 1980s, Chrysler continued to dream aloud through moonshot concept multi-purpose vehicles. The Dodge Epic, Plymouth Pronto, and Chrysler Citadel concepts employed emerging “Cab-Forward” architecture to maximize interior volume. Somewhere along the road to retail, cost-cutting and stagnance took their toll on ChryCo’s bottom line. Bankruptcy ensued. Here we are today.
In execution, the Dodge Journey feels like a Hyundai-built Ford Edge — like the first-generation Chevrolet Equinox, engineered before GM gained “product religion.” Ergonomics oddities abound, and its lagging powertrain fails to deliver power or fuel efficiency superlatives. However, hope hides in each cleverly concealed crevice. The Journey’s suite of storage crannies proves that Chrysler is still staffed with real moms and dads who understand what it means to take a family roadtrip. If these creative engineers are given the tools and support to radically redefine automotive interior packaging, Chrysler could one day be a multi-purpose vehicle leader. Otherwise, the company will wither.
Blame management, the unions, asymmetrical trade regulations or tough competition — because the blasé love to blame. But no matter where your armchair analysis pins responsibility, the fact is that America’s once-proud R&D and manufacturing powerhouse has been reduced to bankruptcy — a fate that almost no other government has allowed to befall their automakers.
The President is priming the country for a bankruptcy that will affect assembly workers, suppliers, dealerships, and an already economically battered Midwest. We’ll liveblog his comments after the jump.
In honesty, reassurances from the President won’t lessen the worries of Chrysler’s employees, suppliers, and competitors. Chrysler is going through the process of assessing their assets with a bankruptcy lawyer and there is no telling how things will end at this point in time. Nobody in this industry will sleep better tonight because the President has a few feel-good words to share. Nonetheless, President Obama cannot let such an important bankruptcy occur without acknowledging the telling moment — we’re liveblogging his damage control, but don’t hold your breath for any announcements that could really help the industry, like legislation that narrows the international trade gap… If you are bankrupt or would just like some help with your personal finance then you may be interested in a RESP, which is a Registered Education Savings Plan, which could help you with your financial situation.
11:08 CDT: Obama opens with “Hey guys, I know you haven’t seen enough of me lately… ”
This morning, GM will reveal “a revolutionary vehicle to help people move through crowded cities and alleviate the significant issues of congestion, safety, parking, affordability, and energy concerns.” This vehicle may be the next evolution of the “Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility” collaboration with Segway. We’re liveblogging the details as they surface.
Last night, news hit the wire that President Obama’s Auto Task Force found GM and Chrysler’s restructuring plans to be insufficient. This morning, Obama will delineate exactly why Rick Wagoner was asked to resign as GM’s CEO, why GM will receive operative funding for 60 days as it races to hack off even more of its limbs, and why Chrysler has 30 days to hook it up with Fiat or face death. Talk about a shotgun wedding. Let’s liveblog.
In the foothills of Tucson’s Mount Lemmon, Toyota’s public relations staff delivered Utterli tragic news: a driving impression embargo would preclude live video microblogging coverage of the 2010 Prius. Crushed, I resolved to hike the mountain in the Prius anyway. Now that the embargo has passed, here are a few excerpts from my notes.