Saturday, May 22, 2010

Welcome Back Chrysler!

Remember this?


Detroit News, May 1, 2009. "New Lease on Life - Obama Confident Risky Move Will Save Detroit Icon. Chrysler is Team Obama Test Case."

Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy protection and finalized a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA on Thursday — dramatic steps that will reshape the ailing U.S. auto industry but do not come without substantial risks.

"It is the only path," Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli said. "It is the most viable path now to make sure that Chrysler survives."

Chrysler 's bankruptcy, the sixth largest in U.S. history, was forced by the White House in another highly unusual case of government involvement in a private company.

President Barack Obama's auto task force was convinced that the automaker must shed billions of dollars in liabilities, cut its dealer network and start fresh, despite risks that a bankruptcy could drag on for months or years or that consumers might shy away from buying Chrysler vehicles.

Without that "government involvement", the company would have went under. Sure it was a gamble, but Team Obama had the plan. Same paper, different story on the Michigan reaction to the bankruptcy:

The possibility that — if the Chrysler plan turns out badly — Republicans will try to use it as an election issue against Democrats in the state was highlighted when Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said, "It's a shame the Democrats in Washington have forced Chrysler into bankruptcy."

Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Flint, shot back, "This is too important to make cheap shots like that."

Yeah. Such a shame that Obama and the Democrats saved Chrysler, isn't it, Ron. We won't even bother to look up what Shelby and Corker had to say, because it doesn't matter anymore. Fast forward a year...


Detroit Free Press, May 22, 2010. "Chrysler: 1,080 New Detroit Jobs - After bankruptcy, there's reason to celebrate"

Chrysler's 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee hasn't gone on sale yet, but CEO Sergio Marchionne said the Jefferson North assembly plant that builds the iconic SUV will add 1,080 jobs for a second shift starting in mid-July.

"Nearly all" those jobs, he said, will be filled by new hires earning a lower wage of about $14 an hour.

Almost one year after a government-funded bankruptcy restructuring that saved the Auburn Hills automaker, Chrysler turned Friday's Grand Cherokee launch into a revival meeting for the 1,700 workers at the plant.

"The best workforce in the world is right here in the Motor City," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was in attendance.

Certainly not your daddy's UAW wages anymore - but these jobs and the company would not exist at all if not for Team Obama taking a chance on them, so, thank the nice President for his assistance in this matter, OK Brooks?

Even Patterson gave Obama credit for successfully assisting the industry. “It pains me to say it,” Patterson added.

Well, it pains us to have to listen to you too - but this is good news that will certainly benefit the Detroit area and the entire state, so enjoy the victory. If it's true that every auto job lost took five others with it, then these new jobs will translate into more than the initial thousand in the long run, right? Right.

Chrysler still has a ways to go. But even with zip for new product, they have seen a sales increase already this year, and the new Grand Cherokee is turning some heads and should be on dealer's lots in the next couple of months. Fiat is committed to sticking it out to ensure Chrysler's success, so if all goes well, this is just the beginning of the company's growth.

Thank you, President Obama, and everyone involved in ensuring this company lived on to see this day. It's very much appreciated.