Chrysler and Cerberus couldn’t provide the UAW with specific product guarantees because they’ve figured out they have too many vehicles that do too little for sales and the bottom line.
The Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker is expected to cut at least five vehicles from its product lineup, including the much ballyhooed, but cannibalizing Jeep Commander. Did they really need another Grand Cherokee that, if possible, looks cheaper and is less comfortable? Clearly not.
Other models expected to get the boot include the Dodge Magnum wagon and PT Cruiser. Additionally, newly hired executive Jim Press, fresh from Toyota North America, sat in a Sebring and discovered in less than five seconds why Chrysler is having some problems: the interiors look cheap. So the automaker is also undertaking a review of its interiors and will made adjustments according, according to a published report.
Tweaking the interiors is just one of many changes Cerberus is going to be trying to affect over the next two years. Shutting down plants is likely next and in spite of the new contract being more favorable to the UAW than many expected, it does allow for the closure of some plants.
However, Chrysler is not the only one that should be and probably will be reviewing product lineups. Ford is still seeing Wall Street analysts call for the death of the Mercury brand. They cannot see the value in the mid-level product linuep. For example, a fully equipped Ford Fusion is just as appealing as the Mercury Milan. The only difference is the front fascia, rear fasica and the price. Ford CEO Alan Mulally has said in the past that every aspect of the company is being reviewed. If they’re willing to dismantle the Premier Automotive Group (Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo), cutting Mercury might not be as far fetched as some think.