Picture Sources: pic 1 and pic 2
I’ve come to realize that Chrysler is essentially the “Keith Richards” of automakers. It once looked good, went platinum with their sales numbers, and had groupies galore. However, that was 30 years ago. After 30 years of sex (expanding the family to include Jeep), Drugs (gas guzzling), and rock and roll (blowing money they don’t have), everyone is left scratching their heads wondering just how they haven’t kicked the bucket yet.
Like Richards, Chrysler has not aged gracefully. Its years of addiction to gas guzzling are finally catching up. However, there is one distinct difference that sets the two apart – groupies. Richards has them, Chrysler does not. That is the determining factor between the polarities of their success. Richards may be hideous, but the fan base is still there. Chrysler’s started abandoning them years ago.
Chrysler has always targeted their vehicles at Gen-X and the Baby Boomers – people familiar with the brand before it started becoming yet another Hollywood rehab story. When Echo Boomers started demanding vehicles that not only looked good, but were “green,” had a high MPG average, and were reliable, Chrysler ignored them. By ignoring an entire generation, Chrysler effectively blew their amp in front of a concert of 60M angry fans.
The only car in Chrysler’s lineup that even marginally targets Gen-Y is the Chrysler 300. From their subsidiaries, they’ve got the Jeep Wrangler which has always had a cult following, and maybe the Dodge Charger. Chrysler’s Hybrid SUV, the Aspen, is $10K more and only does 2 MPG better than the non-hybrid model.
Chrysler has effectively severed its relationship with Gen-Y. They simply cannot neglect their groupies and expect all to be forgiven now that they’re broke and have theoretically gone to rehab ($4B from TARP and a proposed partnership with Fiat) to get better.
Expecting to fully recover from their current financial troubles without groupies is about as ludicrous as Richards going back on tour only to play covers of Britney Spears hits.