In March of 2007 I said that Magna buying Chrysler would be a good thing. And I specifically said that private equity would botch this up.
Magna knows the car parts industry through and through. Thus unlike other private equity companies there is a good chance that Chrysler would survive and prosper.
I did not think that private equity could manage Chrysler. I understood why Daimler sold to them, since only private equity is stupid enough to overpay. Though now private equity is crying, "Oh, Oh you sold us a dud…"
Chrysler is not a dud, but Chrysler is challenged with interesting circumstances.
The dispute raises questions about the due diligence review of Chrysler before Cerberus bought its controlling stake in the struggling automaker. Cerberus has also been saddled with losses due to its 2006 acquisition of a 51 percent stake in auto and mortgage finance company GMAC.
Exactly, Cerberus did not do its due diligence! The problem was that Cerberus thought in terms of financial engineering, and we have seen how far that has gotten us.
So now there is talk of how Chrysler could be split up. First let me tell you Phil LeBeau is mistaken in thinking that the American market is important to car makers.
In America, Fiat is gone, Renault is gone, and so is Peugeot. There is no Seat, no Skoda, and the list goes on! So to think that people might buy any part of Chrysler to get access to the North American market is clearly delusional. This is my thinking because the American market is too complicated and too saturated.
So any maker interested in a piece of Chrysler is not interested in its "American" reach.
First as Phil LeBeau says, Jeep is the premium name. This has always been the case. Jeep has always survived because it is the defacto AMERICAN trademark! A Jeep is a piece of the American dream that you can drive! I own a Jeep Wrangler and I love it. Would I buy another Jeep Wrangler? Simply put, HELL YES!
Because Jeep is a premium it will command a premium price. This means only very very interested buyers would take it. I say BMW! Phil says a host of other names, but here is why BMW.
BMW used to own Land Rover, and they unloaded it. But the fact that they used to own Land Rover, and still own the Mini brand name shows that BMW only wants very strong brand names. They want brand names that can sell themselves, and that is Jeep. BMW would to a large degree leave Jeep as is, but their design team would make Jeep sing! You only need to look at the Mini and how BMW made this work. Many were skeptical that BMW could make the Mini work.
BMW has some SUV’s or 4×4’s, but they are weak. Their X3 is over 95% Magna and third party owned, designed, and built. Thus BMW only has the X5 as their own SUV. Jeep with its very strong 4×4 image would provide quite a bit of support.
Dodge Ram would be bought by Fiat. Many of you might be surprised by this, but you should not be. Fiat, or the parent Fiat Group, is quite the industrial group that has names like Case, New Holland and Iveco.
The Fiat Group has a very strong industrial division, and Dodge Ram Group would dovetail beautifully. Iveco has some light duty trucks, but it is a weak portfolio. For the bigger equipment Iveco, and Fiat Group have their ducks in a row. Dodge Ram Trucks would provide much needed support with a solid brand name. As a result industrial companies or farmers could go to Fiat Group as a one stop shop for all their vehicles.
The remainder of Chrysler I think would go under. Most car makers already have a mini-van department, and they already have cars, sedans, and what have you. The remaining pieces are what I would call Rover left overs. Not pretty, but true.
Though here are individual vehicles that could attract interest:
- PT Cruiser: A car that has room, and has some followers
- Viper: In Germany many people love this car. Note Germany has a no limit autobahn and they love the power.