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The Big Deal.

Monday, 27 October, 2008

For two weeks I have found myself reading baseless or inane analysis about the coming but still mysterious deal with regard to General Motors and the present owners of Chrysler, LLC. So I may as well throw in.

Before us is an uncommonly complicated business deal which may stabilize the U.S.-based automobile industry, introduce desperately needed capital and reduce costs while transferring surplus capacity to other companies. Specifically, moving surplus factory capacity to foreign automakers.

What is known.

  • Renault-Nissan is somehow involved with this deal.
  • General Motors is interested in divesting its remaining interest in GMAC.
  • General Motors has expressed desire to acquire the Jeep brand.
  • Cerberus Capital Management is interested in divesting its 80% stake in Chrysler, LLC.
  • Daimler, AG is interested in divesting its remaining 20% of Chrysler, LLC and terminating Chrysler’s technology licenses.
  • Renault-Nissan wishes to enter the North American market for commercial vehicles. What proposals we have seen claim these vehicles will be labeled Nissan or Nissan Commercial, and shall be based on Renault’s designs. (UD-Nissan Diesel is not related to Nissan Cars.)
  • Chrysler and Renault-Nissan are somehow involved in a deal which would use small vehicle platforms, apparently, under a similar license to the Daimler legacy deal.
  • Renault-Nissan intends to replace the present Nissan Titan full-sized pickup truck with a badge-engineered version of the Dodge Ram beginning in MY 2010.
  • Volkswagen presently sells the Chrysler Town & Country minivan as the Volkswagen Routan in North America. This moves Chrysler vehicles to people who would never purchase an American-branded car, and is an unexpectedly successful model for VW.
  • General Motors has never offered a commercially successful, profitable minivan.
  • Terminating thousands of dealer agreements would draw the ire of state attorneys general across the United States. Without regard to the propriety or legality of this action: it cannot be done. The surviving Chrysler brands, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep must continue unless a definitive legal argument can be made that the company and its elements no longer exist.
  • The Chrysler portfolio contains an astonishing back catalog of trademarks which may become a small source of revenue in the event of the company’s divestment.

What we may see:

  • General Motors acquires 80% of Chrysler, LLC in a no-cash deal trading its remaining interest in GMAC with Cerberus Capital.
  • General Motors retains the trademarks and plants associated with the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country minivans. These vehicles, in order to retain some market equity, become Chevrolet Caravan, GMC Voyager and Buick Town & Country. The Volkswagen Routan continues and a variation in Routan-like trim becomes a Saturn.
  • General Motors retains the trademarks and plants associated with the Jeep brand. Hummer and Jeep are rolled together, or Hummer becomes as Geo-like sub-brand.
  • Daimler sells its interest in Chrysler to Renault-Nissan at an unconscionably low price.
  • In lieu of closing plants and creating all manner of market chaos, GM then divests the Dodge brand and all facilities producing Dodge trucks, and perhaps others associated with Chrysler, to Renault-Nissan. This provides the basis for Renault-Nissan’s entry for commercial vehicles in North America. That is, Renault-Nissan’s commercial-vehicle line will be branded Dodge and utilize the existing Dodge dealer network. All Daimler or Mitsubishi models are canceled as quickly as possible.
  • Every effort is made to sell away the Chrysler brand and existing dealer agreements. All existing Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, and the Jeep variants of those vehicles, shall be phased out as quickly as possible.
  • The Mopar brand is sold by GM to an existing aftermarket auto-parts supplier.

What this accomplishes:

  • GM gets the Chrysler minivans and Jeep. Hummer might be saved after all.
  • Renault-Nissan gets a familiar name with American-made credibility for their line of commercial vehicles. They get thousands of new outlets for their vehicles, North American production capacity and an incentive to bring more models to this market.
  • General Motors gets rid of industry-wide surplus capacity. The income from the sale of whatever they can salvage from Chrysler, and consideration (read:$$$ or €€€) paid from Renault-Nissan to GM, can be rolled into GM to keep it going.

Wild-ass speculation:

  • The dispensation of GEM, or Green Eco-Mobility, originally Global Electric Motorcars, is not clear. GEM’s existing dealer network is closely connected with selected Dodge dealerships. GEM may not be ready to become a separate company, and it does not fit readily into the presumed battle plan of any suitors.
  • Chrysler, the brand, could be continued by Renault-Nissan. The vehicles would be based on larger Renault models. This would give Renault-Nissan four brands in the U.S.; positioned with Dodge as an economy brand with trucks, Nissan as a mainstream-to-sporty brand, Chrysler with lots of options, and Infiniti as the premium brand.
  • The brand Chrysler could be sold to Hyundai-Kia and become their premium division.
  • The brand Chrysler could be sold to Fiat and pave the way for their return to the United States.
  • The Renault-Nissan Alliance becomes Renault-Dodge-Nissan, naming the component companies in the order of their creation.
    • Société Renault Frères, 1898
    • Dodge Brothers Company, 1900
    • Kwaishinsha Motorcar Works, 1914
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One Comment
  1. Friday, 5 December, 2008 1:23

    Although not very old, as I type this, things have changed dramatically.

    I make no claims to being comprehensive, but I cannot stop thinking about the most romantic industry in America.

    Like

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