Friday, October 24, 2008

Chrysler plans to cut 25% of salaried jobs
Layoffs, early retirements and buyouts will begin in November

Philip Nussel
Chrysler LLC said today it plans to cut 25 percent of its salaried work force beginning next month.
A statement sent to employees today did not specify how many jobs were being cut. But spokesman Michael Palese said that, according to the most recent figures available -- from September 2007 -- Chrysler has 18,529 salaried workers. That would mean 4,632 jobs.
The cuts will take the form of voluntary retirements, buyout programs and layoffs, Chrysler said. Chrysler said the buyout programs would include "enhanced benefits," including cash and new-vehicle vouchers.
The company also told employees it would "cut back on all discretionary and overhead expenses and reduce capital expenditures not connected to major product programs."
Chrysler, according to numerous reports, is in ...


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Daimler: Chrysler worth nothing


Of Chrysler's future, Vice Chair Jim Press says: "Nobody

knows what's going to happen. It's all speculation."

Minority partner values its stake in company at $0


As Daimler AG sees it, Chrysler is worth nothing.The German automaker has depreciated its stake in Chrysler to zero from $268 million at the end of June, the company said Thursday. A little over a year ago, the company valued its 19.9% stake in Chrysler at $2.2 billion.

The announcement came as part of Daimler's quarterly financial release on a day when Consumer Reports scolded the Auburn Hills automaker's quality and Chrysler announced plant cuts that will halt hybrid vehicle production -- all as majority owner Cerberus Capital Management talks with General Motors Corp. about a merger that could result in 30,000 job cuts.

Chrysler indicated Thursday that it had a net loss of $662 million in the second quarter of this year, meaning the automaker and its financing arm, Chrysler Financial, lost more than $1 billion in the first half of the year. The bulk of the $662-million losses -- $572 million -- was attributed to the automotive business.

The Auburn Hills automaker announced it will close its Newark, Del., assembly plant a year earlier than expected and eliminate a shift at its Toledo North Assembly Plant, cutting 1,825 jobs between the two.

"The pain level must be extraordinary over there -- Cerberus and Chrysler and Daimler. You can just imagine how tortured they are," said Gerald Meyers, a University of Michigan business professor and former American Motors chairman.

Daimler officials said they continue to negotiate with Cerberus for the private equity firm to acquire its final stake in Chrysler.

Combined with previous statements, Thursday's announcement indicates that Chrysler's automotive and financing businesses lost $1.17 billion through the first half of the year. During the same time, Ford Motor Co. lost $8.6 billion while General Motors Corp. lost $18.7 billion.

Chrysler officials declined to elaborate on the statement about finances.

Chrysler has seen its sales drop at twice the rate of the U.S. industry, hard hit by the tough credit market and customers moving to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Since February 2007, the company has announced around 28,000 job cuts, the elimination of four products and taken out more than 1 million units of capacity.

Since Cerberus acquired majority control of Chrysler, the automaker's top executives have talked about their efforts to improve the quality of their vehicles, making Thursday's Consumer Reports comments even more stinging.

"In their new models that have come out, we have seen a decline" under Cerberus, said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division. "Their biggest issue is trying to hold the vehicle together."

Beverly Thacker, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said the automaker is working toward improvement. "We do have pockets of success that demonstrates we can meet our customers' expectations," she said in a statement.

Chrysler gave the guidance on its second-quarter financial numbers in response to public filings Thursday by minority partner Daimler AG, which said it lost 351 million euros -- or $528 million using an average third-quarter exchange rate of $1.505 -- on its 19.9% stake of Chrysler.

Chrysler's results show up in a 3-month delay in Daimler's quarterly report. Overall, Daimler said it had a net profit of 213 million euros -- $321 million -- during the third quarter.

Since Chrysler became privately held and no longer required to make public its finances, it has disputed Daimler's quarterly reports saying how much the German automaker was losing on Chrysler. Chrysler officials say the figures are not accurate reflections of Chrysler's business because of the difference between International Financial Reporting Standards used by Daimler and the U.S. accounting standards used by Chrysler.

Chrysler issued a statement that said under U.S. standards, Daimler's losses would be 88 million euros -- or $132 million -- in the second quarter. While Chrysler does not say how much money it lost as a whole, simple math would say the automaker and its financing arm lost $662 million.

As Daimler sees things, its loss of $528 million on its stake of Chrysler would indicate that Chrysler as a whole lost $2.6 billion under Daimler's accounting. Similarly, Daimler's stake of Chrysler lost $585 million during the first quarter, implying Chrysler as a whole lost $2.9 billion.

Chrysler's adjustment attributes $257 million of the difference between its and Daimler's numbers to the differences between accounting standards. In addition, Chrysler said $196 million was attributed to Daimler adjustments not related to Chrysler.

Chrysler issued a similar clarification in July that indicated Chrysler and its financial arm lost $509 million during the first quarter of this year.

Then in August, Chrysler executives said the automaker had $11.7 billion in cash and marketable securities on hand at the end of June and that it earned $1.1 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization -- known as EBITDA -- and before restructuring charges during the first half.

It is Chrysler's supposed pile of cash that interests GM, which is burning through at least $1 billion a month. Several analysts caution the money may run out next year.

Knowing that GM is eyeing Chrysler's cash worries some. "They're marrying us for our money because we're rich, and to say that Chrysler is rich -- who ever thought GM would want to marry us because we're rich? We're rich in cash for the next 12 months, that's what we've got," a dealer told the Free Press.

Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press told the Free Press on Thursday that the current market is "really really tough" for its dealers, in part because of consumer fears that car loans are not available.

"Actually, I think there are a lot of sources of financing that local dealers can use. And we've got a half a billion dollars of incentive money in the market," he added, referring to Chrysler's budget for spending on incentives in October, November and December.

As for the industry buzz that Chrysler might be sold or merged, Press said, "Nobody knows what's going to happen. It's all speculation, and if you're going to assume the worst and go fetal, then what good things can happen?"

Chrysler announces cuts, explains loss

Daimler reports $273-million 3Q profit


Chrysler indicated early this morning that it had a net loss of $662 million in the second quarter of this year and also announced it will close its Newark, Del., Assembly Plant earlier than expected and eliminate a shift at its Toledo North Assembly Plant.The shift reduction in Toledo will occur Dec. 31 and affect about 825 jobs. The Newark plant was already slated for closure at the end of 2009 but will now close Dec. 31, 2008, affecting 1,000 jobs.

Chrysler said in a statement that it is committed to working with the UAW “to address the represented manpower reductions in a socially responsible manner” and will hold meetings with employees to review special programs for the affected locations.

The bulk of the $662-million losses — $572 million — were attributed to the automotive business.

Combined with previous statements, today's announcement indicates that Chrysler's automotive and financing businesses lost $1.17 billion though the first half of the year. During the same time, Ford Motor Co. lost $8.6 billion while General Motors Corp. lost $18.7 billion.

The Auburn Hills automaker gave the guidance on its second-quarter numbers in response to public filings today by minority partner Daimler AG, which said it lost 351 million euros — or $528 million using an average third-quarter exchange rate of $1.505 — on its 19.9% stake of Chrysler.

Chrysler’s results show up in a three-month delay in Daimler’s quarterly report. Overall, Daimler said it had a net profit of 213 million euros — $321 million — during the third quarter.

Since Chrysler became privately held and not required to make public its finances, it’s disputed Daimler’s quarterly reports on how much the German automaker was losing on Chrysler. Chrysler officials say the figures are not accurate reflections of Chrysler’s business because of the difference between International Financial Reporting Standards used by Daimler and the U.S. accounting standards used by Chrysler.

Chrysler issued a statement that said under U.S. standards Daimler’s losses would be 88 million euros — or $132 million — in the second quarter. While Chrysler does not say how much money it lost as a whole, simple math would say the automaker and its financing arm, Chrysler Financial, lost $662 million.

Chrysler issued a similar clarification in July that indicated Chrysler and its financial arm lost $509 million during the first quarter of this year.

Then in August, Chrysler executives said the automaker had $11.7 billion in cash and marketable securities on hand at the end of June and that it earned $1.1 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization - known as EBITDA - and before restructuring charges during the first half.

Today’s results come as Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management is in talks with GM about a potential merger of the automakers. Renault-Nissan are also interested in a partnership with Chrysler.

Chrysler announces Toledo's Jeep North to lose one shift of production

Chrysler eliminated the third shift at the complex in February when sales of Toledo-made sport utility vehicles first showed signs of a prolonged slowdown.

Chrysler LLC announced early Thursday that it will eliminate approximately 825 employees at its Toledo Jeep Assembly complex because of slow sales of its products.

The involuntary layoffs are expected to occur by year’s end, but may be offset by attrition as employees take buyout offers that are expected to be offered, The Blade has learned.

The cut effectively eliminates the second shift at the Toledo North plant, where the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro are made. Added production cuts — but not job losses — are expected to be made at the Toledo South plant where the Wrangler is made.

At this time last year, Chrysler employed nearly 4,000 people in its two plants in North Toledo. By the end of the year, that number could be down to 1,400.

Early this morning, Chrysler LLC formally announced the elimination of the second shift at Toledo North, as well as a related decision to speed up its previously announced closure of its Newark Assembly Plant in Newark, Del., which makes the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen.

“The markets are facing unprecedented turmoil and we are in a time of historic change in the auto industry,” Frank Ewasyshyn, executive vice president – manufacturing for Chrysler said in a written statement.

Chrysler said approximately 825 jobs at Toledo North would be affected, and another 1,000 jobs will be lost when the Newark plant closes Dec. 31.

Chrysler said it "is committed to working with the UAW to address the represented manpower reductions in a socially responsible manner. As the Company has done in the past, the UAW and management leadership will hold employee meetings to review special programs that will be offered at affected locations."

Chrysler eliminated the third shift at the complex in February when sales of Toledo-made sport utility vehicles first showed signs of a prolonged slowdown. More than 600 workers at the plant accepted buyouts, avoiding all but about 100 layoffs. Since then the Toledo North plant has been shut down more than 14 weeks because of slow sales.


Through the end of September, sales of the Liberty are off 21 percent from last year, while sales of the Nitro are off 46 percent. Wrangler sales have dropped 30 percent.

The automaker will offer buyout packages to employees to voluntarily sever their ties with the firm in exchange for between $70,000 and $100,000 in cash. Similar offers were made this week to Chrysler workers at several plants, including the Toledo Machining facility in Perrysburg Township.

Laid-off employees would be entitled to unemployment and “subpay,” which provides a supplemental benefit for a limited time that allows a laid-off employee to receive about 95 percent of his or her normal base take-home pay.

The loss to metro Toledo’s economy could exacerbate the local economic picture. The city budget alone easily could take a $1 million hit or more in lost income taxes, not including lost supplier jobs.

Some secondary service suppliers to the factory had been told by their employers that Chrysler intended to eliminate its second shift. However, as of early yesterday evening, United Auto Workers Local 12 officials had not been informed of any decision by Chrysler.

Dan Henneman, Jeep Unit Chairman for UAW Local 12, said earlier that if the factory’s second shift is eliminated, the job losses would leave a deep impact on the already scarred local economy. He said the cuts will lead to secondary job losses among the dozens of automobile suppliers in the area.

“It’s going to lead to more foreclosures and more unemployment and make everything worse in Toledo,” Mr. Henneman said. He could not be reached for comment last night.

George Mokrzan, senior economist with Huntington National Bank in Columbus, said the cuts will hurt the local economy, which he said was starting to stabilize.

“There have definitely been some positive things going on in Ohio’s economy recently. Unfortunately now, we’re getting some new headwinds from the national economy,” Mr. Mokrzan said.

He said falling crude oil prices, which have fallen by more than half since the summer, should help revive at least some sales of Toledo-made SUVs.

“But consumers are a little bit nervous about what’s going on in the markets and in the job markets, so auto sales are probably going to fall off here in the near term,” he said, adding that he is “not bearish at all about the Midwest’s economy.”

Cerberus Capital Management LP, Chrysler’s parent firm, reportedly has been in negotiations with General Motors Corp. discussing a possible swap of Chrysler for GM’s remaining share in its financing arm, GMAC. No public announcements on a potential deal have been made by the firms yet, however, and privately held Cerberus is believed to be negotiating with other parties to take over Chrysler.

Auto sales in North America have plummeted this year as the industry first fought through record-high gasoline prices and then a credit crisis that made it difficult for many people to finance new-vehicle purchases. Chrysler has suffered the most dramatic drop of any of the three domestic automakers, losing 25 percent of its sales through the first nine months of the year.

Chrysler’s fleet of vehicles is heavily weighted with trucks and SUVs, and the automaker has lagged its competitors in its ability to offer small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

But last month, Chrysler surprised the entire industry when it introduced three high-mileage, electric-drive vehicles, including a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and promised to manufacture one of the three by 2010.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: or 419-724-6091


Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Stylist Amos E. Northup is born in Bellevue, OH
Automotive historian James Potvin Barry is born in Alton, IL
The Marmon-Herrington Company, Inc. purchases the Indianapolis, IN factory used since 1921 for the manufacture of the Duesenberg
The 1953 Dodges are introduced, featuring the marque’s first V-8 engines
Gary Gabelich, driving the Blue Flame, raises the land speed record to 622.407 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats, UT

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Chrysler to share auto discount


There's good news for Chrysler's employees, too: a discount on most Vipers. A 2006 SRT10 Coupe is shown.

Wal-Mart workers to get savings offer


Chrysler LLC, which has seen its sales drop 25% so far this year, will begin offering employee discount prices to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers in a special program beginning Nov. 1.

All U.S.-based Wal-Mart employees will be eligible for the incentive, Curtrise Garner, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

"Wal-Mart is one of our largest fleet customers," she said.

She said the savings would range from 4% to 6% off invoice or 8% to 14% off MSRP. It is identical to what Chrysler employees and eligible family members receive.

Dan Fogleman, Wal-Mart spokesman, said the retail giant has 1.4 million employees in the United States.

Chrysler also told its employees that they will now be able to get an employee discount price on most Dodge Viper models.

This isn't the first time Chrysler has extended employee pricing; earlier this year, it did so for military personnel, Tier 1 suppliers and members of AARP.

Chrysler's U.S. sales have fallen at twice the rate of the industry average, worsened by its truck-heavy lineup at a time when customers were turning to more fuel-efficient vehicles. The recent financial turmoil has added even greater difficulty, making it hard for many people to find financing needed to acquire a vehicle.

Hennessey Venom 1000 Dodge Viper - Best Sportscar for $200,000

by Asif
You have to be out of the automotive loop if you haven’t heard or read anything on the Hennessey Viper, which has been highlighted, tested, and pushed into competition with other tuners (mostly in Venom 1000 twin-turbo trim) by nearly every other reputable reviewers on automotive stage.

Cerberus favors single buyer for Chrysler

Automaker works to reassure its network of dealers


As Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management continues merger talks with General Motors Corp., one option not being considered is splitting up the Auburn Hills automaker among different buyers, the Free Press was told Wednesday.Cerberus' preferred play is merging Chrysler LLC with GM in a deal that gives the private equity firm a stake in the combined company and a greater share of GM's financing arm -- GMAC.

People familiar with those talks said Wednesday they believed Cerberus was tepid toward an alliance with Renault-Nissan, another Chrysler suitor that is thought to seek only a minority stake in the company.

GM believes it can find billions in possible savings by merging with the No. 3 U.S. automaker, and GM executives are drooling over the idea of tapping into Chrysler's pile of cash, a person familiar with the thinking said.

Chrysler has reported it had $11.7 billion in cash at the end of June.

3,500 dealers on edge

Meanwhile, Chrysler is working to reassure its independent dealers, which were already hit hard by the credit squeeze and now face the brutal reality that their automaker is on the sales block -- again.

Jim Press, Chrysler's president overseeing sales, and Steven Landry, executive vice president for North American sales, held a conference call earlier this week with dealers in an attempt to soothe them, dealers said.

"They said, 'Look, we don't know much either,' " said one dealer who participated in the call.

Press, talking with reporters Wednesday after speaking at an engineering conference at the Renaissance Center Marriott, declined to discuss reports that Cerberus is negotiating Chrysler's sale. He said during his speech that Chrysler has been "able to stop the high level of negative cash flow," which might be why "a lot of people have been smelling around the Chrysler vault lately."

Dealers are beyond anxious.

"We're getting roughed up pretty good," said Tom Barenboim, owner of a dealership in Methuen, Mass., near Boston. "I am just trying to grasp on to anything positive."

After acquiring a neighboring Dodge franchise last year, Barenboim said, he was about to begin renovations but is now concerned. "I don't want to spend a lot of money for naught," he said.

Barenboim joined other dealers in saying they were focused on selling the vehicles they have as speculation swirls about Chrysler's future.

Chrysler's 3,500 dealers find themselves in an already tough market of declining sales, poor consumer confidence and tightened credit rules that disqualify many potential buyers.

U.S. sales slide

Earlier this month, Grant Thornton LLP predicted the number of car dealership closings will accelerate through next year, with an estimated 3,800 dealerships needing to close in order to maintain sales per dealer at last year's level of about 750 units.

Chrysler's U.S. sales are down around twice as much as the industry average.

"Chrysler dealers are suffering," said Paul Melville, a partner with the Grant Thornton global automotive practice. "There is a lot of concern. ... There is a lot of duplication of brands, there's a lot of duplication of dealers. Everyone knows there are too many dealers in the U.S. anyway and everybody is looking around saying, 'Is it going to be me?' "

A little over a year ago, Cerberus acquired majority control of Chrysler, leaving Daimler AG as a minority partner.

The Free Press has reported that officials from Renault-Nissan have visited Chrysler facilities, and it has been reported that Cerberus is considering having Chrysler join the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Representatives for the companies are not commenting on the talks.

Several analysts have speculated that Chrysler could be broken into different pieces, with Nissan perhaps getting the Dodge Ram pickup program and GM eyeing the Jeep brand and minivan platform, but a person with knowledge of Cerberus' thinking denied that Wednesday.

While any sale of Chrysler could result in layoffs, plant closures and fewer dealerships, Dick Scott, owner of Dick Scott Automotive Group, which owns a Nissan dealership as well as Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships, said he sees potential advantages for a deal between Nissan and Chrysler.

"To form an alliance with anybody, and do away with product, I don't think that will please any Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep dealer," he said. "But as a Nissan dealer, if there is a going to be an alliance, I think it would be advantageous to me, because I am a Nissan dealer."

Overlapping products

If a GM-Chrysler merger occurs, Chrysler's brands could become just like Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick. Overlapping brands could be dealt with after the industry has moved past the current turmoil, the Free Press has reported.

Several dealers spoke privately about their anxiety over Chrysler's future. They declined to be named to avoid fouling relations with Chrysler or a future owner.

"I don't know what to say. The GM idea sounds good, but if they're going to close all of us down, that doesn't sound too good," one dealer said. "We need somebody who sticks with us once and for all."

Tony Viviano, chairman of Sterling Heights Dodge, is frustrated with all of the talk and is urging his people to remain focused on selling vehicles.

Viviano said he's seen some easing in the credit market and is confident that if Chrysler is sold, his dealership will be OK.

"Is it bad? Well, it's not great. I am not out jingle belling but I will tell you one thing, I am convinced I'm going to be a survivor. I can remember when Chrysler was going broke ... they had nothing," he said of the company troubles in the 1980s. "But you see, you've gotta just have patience and you gotta be focused."

A&W and Chrysler LLC give away a 2009 Dodge Challenger

    GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.
announced today that Jeff McKay of Valleyview, Alberta is the lucky winner of
its national Cruisin' the Dub, Dodge Challenger contest. As contest winner,
Mr. McKay will drive away with a brand new 2009 Dodge Challenger SXT.
From early June until mid-September A&W ran a contest during the Cruisin'
the Dub summer program at over 200 A&W restaurants to reward a lucky contest
entrant with a 2009 Black Dodge Challenger SXT.
The random draw was made in late September and Mr. McKay qualified as the
winner. McKay will meet with A&W at the Chrysler Dealership in Grande Prairie,
AB today from 2 to 3 p.m. to receive his prize. He will be escorted from
Valleyview to Grande Prairie by local A&W franchisee David Chychul. At the
dealership McKay will receive the car by Grande Prairie Chrysler Jeep Dodge
principal Wes Kaban, and A&W Cruisin' the Dub Manager Roger Barnes.


WHEN: Thursday, October 23, 2008
2-3 p.m.

WHERE: Grande Prairie Chrysler Jeep Dodge
11448 Westgate Drive, Grande Prairie, AB
(780) 532-3560

WHO: Contest winner, A&W rep and dealership owner with prize vehicle

Cruisin' the Dub is A&W's Classic Car program, reliving the 50's, 60's
and 70's (when cruisin' up to the restaurant was the fashion) at participating
restaurants each summer. With over 200 cruisin' locations, A&W invites local
classic and custom car clubs as well as traditional hot rod enthusiasts to
bring their vehicles out to the restaurants once a week for a show n' shine,
great music and to enjoy old memories and meet new friends. The classic fun is
served up with their favourite burgers from The Burger Family and topped off
with frosty A&W Root Beer.
In the summer of 2008, A&W hosted over 3,000 of these weekly traditions
at participating locations and are the largest organizer of classic and
collector car events in Canada.
The contest was a promotional partnership between A&W and the Chrysler
LLC Dodge Division for the launch of the new retro vehicle model the
Challenger, a muscle car legend brought back from the early 1970's with an
approximate retail value of $35,000 CDN.

About A&W Food Services of Canada

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is 100% Canadian-owned and is one of the
strongest brand names in the Canadian foodservice industry. A&W is the
nation's second largest hamburger restaurant company, by number of outlets,
with more than 680 locations coast-to-coast. A&W restaurants feature famous
trade-marked menu items such as The Burger Family(R), Chubby Chicken(R), and

A&W Root Beer(R). For more information on A&W, please visit further information: Roger Barnes, Cruisin' the Dub Manager, (604)
290-7321,; or Alex Chapple, Hoggan and Associates, (604)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chrysler cutting 1,825 jobs with moves at 2 plants

TOM KRISHER | DETROIT — Chrysler LLC will cut 1,825 jobs by eliminating one shift at a Toledo Jeep plant and accelerating the closure of its sport utility vehicle factory in Newark, Del., because of the slowing global economy and a shift toward smaller vehicles.

About 825 workers at the Toledo North Assembly Plant will be laid off indefinitely as of Dec. 31. The Newark closure also will be effective at the end of the year and affect about 1,000 jobs, the company said Thursday in a news release.

The cuts are about 6 percent of Chrysler's U.S. hourly work force of 33,000.

The Toledo factory makes the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty. Both have been selling slowly this year due to high gas prices and a slowing U.S. economy.

The Newark plant makes the slow-selling Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen sport utility vehicles. It originally was expected to close at the end of 2009. By closing the plant earlier, Chrysler apparently is getting out of the large SUV business.

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler said in a statement that the changes will adjust inventory to better match consumer demand.

"The markets are facing unprecedented turmoil and we are in a time of historic change in the auto industry," Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler's executive vice president of manufacturing, said. "These tough, but necessary steps are vital to our long-term viability."

The company said it would work with the United Auto Workers union to handle the layoffs in a "socially responsible manner."

Chrysler LLC's Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Selects Alcoa's Dura-Bright(R) Technology for Dodge Viper and Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee

CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa Automotive Wheels, a division of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, announced today that it has been awarded platform placement of Dura-Bright® technology wheels with Chrysler LLC’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) engineering organization. Two new wheels within the Chrysler SRT family, including both Dodge and Jeep® platforms, will begin placement with the 2009 model year.

“Our innovative Dura-Bright® technology has enjoyed commercial success for many years in the heavy duty truck market and more recently with leading Global automobile manufacturers. We are honored that Chrysler’s SRT organization has recognized that this wheel surface innovation can add value and product differentiation through easy to clean maintenance benefits extended to their new vehicle owners,” said Kevin Kramer, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products.

Chrysler’s SRT organization has selected the patented surface treatment for the standard 5-spoke wheel fitted to the Dodge Viper SRT10 coupe and roadster. Alcoa forged wheels treated with Dura-Bright® technology allow Viper owners to maintain their sports cars appearance with minimal maintenance effort. Vehicles fitted with aggressive brake packages, like the Dodge Viper SRT10, typically generate a high level of brake dust. Viper owners will now be able to maintain the appearance of their vehicle with less effort to keep their wheels cleaner with Dura-Bright® technology.

Chrysler’s SRT organization has also selected Dura-Bright® technology for fitment on Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Owners will appreciate the exclusive wheel surface treatment to easily clean away brake dust, dirt and road grime whether they use the vehicle for on-road or off-road performance.

Alcoa began supplying one-piece forged aluminum SRT wheels on the Dodge Viper SRT10 in 2002. The company has supplied wheels for all SRT8 fitments, including Chrysler 300C, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum and Jeep Grand Cherokee since 2004. 2009 will signal the first applications of Dura-Bright® technology to the Chrysler SRT organization. Look for “db” engraved on Dodge Viper SRT10 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 wheels, to identify them as being specially treated with Alcoa’s patented Dura-Bright® technology.

Along with the benefits of easy to clean Dura-Bright® technology, all SRT wheels by Alcoa are forged from one piece of aerospace grade 6061-T6 aluminum. The forging process aligns the grain of the metal producing a strong and durable wheel with light weight benefits to enhance vehicle performance and fuel economy. Forged aluminum wheels by Alcoa are typically twice as strong while reducing weight by over 20 percent as a comparable cast aluminum wheel.

All aluminum wheels for Chrysler’s SRT organization are forged at Alcoa’s Cleveland (Ohio) Works Plant. For more information, visit

Chrysler-built playgrounds popping up across USA

Company News

Chrysler employees and dealership personnel have been building quite a few playgrounds lately.

On Friday, more than 250 volunteers built one in Orlando, Fla. On Thursday, a playground was built in Newport News, Va.

In the week ahead, playgrounds will be constructed Wednesday in Bossier City, La., and on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

A playground-building day is also planned for Nov. 1 in Detroit.

In total, 25 playgrounds are scheduled to be built this year by KaBoom, The Chrysler Foundation; Chrysler Financial; and Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers across the country to provide more than 70,000 children with a great place to play.

KaBoom is an organization that is aiming to provide an enjoyable place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

Chrysler hosting SAE Convergence this week

calendar (1K) Posted Monday, Oct 20, 2008 at 1:33 pm in Company News

Chrysler LLC is the host company for the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Convergence 2008, a three-day conference with the theme of “Vehicle Electronics Converging on Real Customer Needs.”

Andreas Schell, Vice President — Engineering Core, Electrical/Electronics, is serving as conference chairman. Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President Jim Press will deliver the conference’s keynote address Wednesday evening.

The conference runs today through Wednesday at Cobo Center in Detroit.

2009 Ram wins ‘full-size’ Truck of Texas honor

calendar (1K) Posted Monday, Oct 20, 2008 at 9:16 am in Company News

Voting after their annual Truck Rodeo, members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) named the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 “Full-Size Pickup Truck of Texas,” giving Dodge honors over competitors from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

The RamBox won the “Best Feature” category in a landslide.

“This is quite an honor,” said Mike Accavitti, Director, Dodge Marketing. “In a head-to-head competition, our game-changing all-new 2009 Dodge Ram unseated the new Ford F-150, long considered the leader in the market. This is not only the best pickup truck we’ve ever built, it’s the best pickup on the market, period.”

TAWA’s competition names three overall winners, including Truck of Texas, SUV of Texas and Crossover of Texas (a new category this year), along with 12 additional categories.

Judging by the 40-plus TAWA members occurs over two full days of on- and off-road evaluation. Consideration is given to everything from exterior styling and off-road capability to the entrant’s overall utility, value and fuel efficiency.

“The TAWA Truck Rodeo is the most comprehensive evaluation of new trucks and SUVs in the country and manufacturers consider it a great honor to win their category,” said Harold Gunn, President of TAWA. “This was an especially tight competition because several manufacturers are building great product. We’re proud that the Texas truck rodeo is considered the most important competition of its type in the nation.”

The winners were announced Sunday.

Dodge Viper models added to Employee Advantage

calendar (1K) Posted Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm in Company News, Employee News

Chrysler LLC’ s U.S. employees and eligible family members and friends can now get the employee price on most Dodge Viper models.

The Employee Purchase and CDI (Certain Designated Individual) programs includes all Viper models except the SRT-10 ACR.

In addition, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s U.S. employees will be eligible for employee pricing through a special program beginning Nov. 1. Wal-Mart employs 1.2 million people.

For further information on eligible vehicles, visit the Employee Advantage Web site at

Court hears shareholder suit over DaimlerChrysler

Associated Press

Associated Press 10.21.08, 10:10 AM ETSTUTTGART, Germany -

Former DaimlerChrysler AG boss Juergen Schrempp on Tuesday rejected allegations that the deal he oversaw to create DaimlerChrysler in 1998 undervalued his company's shares, denying a group of investors of potential profits.

Schrempp spoke to a court that opened a new hearing of a suit by former shareholders over the handling of the 1998 combination of Daimler-Benz AG with Chrysler Corp.

In 2006, a Stuttgart court ruled that DaimlerChrysler (nyse: DCX - news - people ) must pay a group of 16 investors 22.15 euros ($29.72) per share to resolve the dispute over the valuation of their stock - making for a total payout of 232.6 million euros ($312 million).

DaimlerChrysler appealed, taking the case to a higher Stuttgart court. The company last year sold a majority stake in Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management LP and has since renamed itself Daimler AG.

Some shareholders claimed that the exchange ratio at the time of the combination undervalued their shares.

Schrempp, DaimlerChrysler's CEO until 2005, rejected that argument.

"It is hard for me to imagine calculating downward such a great company," he told the court. He said the value of both partners had been set with the help of auditors, whose task was to "establish a value freely and independently."

The deal led to several legal cases for DaimlerChrysler - most prominently, a legal battle with billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who sought a payout of more than $1 billion.

Kerkorian claimed that Daimler-Benz engineered a takeover of Chrysler, then cheated him out of an acquisition premium by claiming it was a merger of equals. A Delaware court rejected his suit in 2005.

Schrempp reiterated on Tuesday that "it was a merger among equals."

Daimler board member Ruediger Grube said that "Chrysler fitted us well for several reasons," among them that the German company had been concerned about future growth and was weak in the U.S. at the time.

DC Performance - The Viper Shop (An Introduction)


While I get Brandon's username set-up here (Brandon@DC Performance), I wanted to post something he put together for everyone...

Hello Gentlemen,

My name is Brandon Chasin. I've started working over @ the world-famous DC Performance and wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone here. I'm a young buck (24 years young) but have been an automotive enthusiast for as long as I can remember and am very involved in the European enthusiast community. I've put on more events than I can count, spent countless hours in parking lots for shows and spent my fair share of time at the track as well.

I have recently started driving a Night Runner (#386/400) Viper truck and... WOW! The truck is incredible and I can't help but to share your enthusiasm for the Viper... I'll post pictures ASAP.

I'm incredibly excited to be able to jump on board with such a well-respected, knowledgeable, and forward moving shop! Look forward to DC being involved with many, many events in the future... Whether it be a dyno day (on our in-house Dynojet), BBQs, picnics, group drives, track days, whatever else you can think of... If we (DC) can be involved, we will be! I look forward to talking to meeting, talking, and getting to know many of you in the near future...

In one of our first meetings here, I brought up to the Big Three (Dan, Tony, and Aaron) that my focus is bringing the enthusiast community in to our shop... and I don't necessarily mean physically. While the Southern California folks have the incredible opportunity to stop by and see what's new in the shop, the rest of the country doesn't get this chance... and that is exactly what I want to change. I will be focusing my time on keeping everyone up-to-speed on some of the cool projects we have going on. 2008 Competition Coupe

2008 Competition Coupe

This car was unveiled at VOC 2008 and we just received the car at the shop. It’s brand new and is the most optioned CC ever made. It features the new Mc Claren engine with a sequential transmission. It has the new center lock endurance wheels and Brembo 15 inch Mon-block brakes. The paint is a one-off factory job that really makes the car. We can’t wait to see this one on the track.

2003 SRT Drag Car

This car has been a work in progress but has had a lot of track time.

It runs 9 second ¼ miles (soon to be 8’s) and is street legal with full interior and air conditioning. It still retains the factory ABS. It took quite a bit of work to get those tires to fit. Here is just a few of its features, 1200hp supercharged engine with Methanol injection, Turbo 400 automatic transmission, custom built production differential with chromoly halfshafts, rear brake conversion, NHRA approved roll cage, fire suppression system, Penske suspension, removable parachute and more. Drove it to church on Sunday and its going to the track on Monday (no, I'm not kidding).

1976 Pontiac Trans Am

This is the Smokey and the Bandit Model. We are getting it tidied up after a semi-restoration. It’s a rare one, 4 speed with the 455 motor.

1970 Chevy Chevelle Convertible

I like this car. It’s a big block with an overdrive.

We are rebuilding the front end and installing Bear disc brakes. This car will be fun to cruise!

Lastly, here is one of our favorite customer's 1997 GTS-R

We have been maintaining this factory GTS-R for a while now. These models are very rare and hard to find in good shape. We are lucky because the owner likes to run the car not just collect it. These models share very little with the production car, but are based on it. The neatest parts on this car are the engine and driveline. The CDI motor turns 8000rpm on the dyno and sounds awesome, the transmission features straight cut gears and the differential is a bigger Dana 60 unit. Motec engine management allows perfect tuning.

I'll keep this thread updated with current projects, updates, etc... so keep posted here and we'll have some hot Viper lovin!


Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Elwood Haynes marries Bertha Beatric Lanterman in Portland, IN
General Motors stylist Charles Morrell “Chuck” Jordan is born in Whittier, CA
Alain Madle of Graham and General Motors, a developer of the variable speed transmission, dies at age 57
The 1956 Pontiacs are introduced
Hendry S. M. Burns of the Shell Oil Company dies at age 71

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Chrysler's Windsor plant will have rotating layoffs

Chrysler's Windsor plant will have rotating layoffs

Associated Press

October 20, 2008 10:36 pm

WINDSOR, Ontario -- Chrysler will lay off workers on one shift at its Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant on a rotating basis over the next three weeks.
The automaker says it will eliminate the afternoon shift for the first two weeks, then lay off the midnight shift in the third week.
The assembly plant produces minivans and has about 5,000 workers, with between 1,200 and 1,500 workers per shift.
Chrysler LLC says it will re-evaluate the situation after three weeks, but the local union president says he fears the layoffs will be extended.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coach Builders Ltd. Bringing 560 HP Dodge Challenger Convertible To SEMA

JALOPNICK - You remember that recent Dodge statement basically confirming there would not be a Dodge Challenger Convertible? Who cares if Dodge won't bring it, because it's just opening the doors for aftermarket converters like Coach Builders Ltd., bringing their interpretation of a drop-top Mopar pony to the SEMA show in Vegas next month. For the show, Coach Builders' Challenger gets 560 HP from a supercharger and other underhood mods, along with the requisite obnoxious wheels and what appears to be a Challenger T/A-inspired strobe stripe, though it comes off looking more like safety tape.

Next Time Maybe Just Take The Top Off And Stop There

Priced at about $16,000 on top of the cost of a Challenger, the conversion nets you hidden chassis bracing and a power hydraulic top with extra sound insulation, an integrated headliner and heated rear window. Body kit and engine package pricing hasn't been determined yet, as the company is still finalizing details. But with production slated to start November 15, if you want one, you'd better get Coach Builders Ltd. your deposit quick — apparently they're already putting buyers in the que. Sure, the price is steep, but where else are you going to get a Challenger convertible? [Edmund's Inside Line]


2009 Chrysler Town & Country

2009 Chrysler Town & Country

Compiled by Motor Matters

The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country raises the bar in safety by adding two minivan-first safety features to the more than 40 available safety features already on the award-winning fifth-generation minivan.The Chrysler Town & Country is first in the minivan segment to feature Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path advanced safety systems.

BSM detects a possible unseen vehicle when changing lanes. The Rear Cross Path System aids the driver any time the vehicle is in reverse and warns if any traffic is moving toward the vehicle. Both systems utilize dual ultra-wideband radar sensors that notify the driver via an audible chime and a visible icon on outside mirrors.

The 2009 Town & Country improves passenger safety with SmartBeam headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. SmartBeam automatically optimize high-beam brightness when possible and reduce brightness in and around traffic. Rain-sensing wipers adjust wiper speeds in order to keep the windshield clear during storms.

The flexible seating system Stow 'n Go is standard on all Chrysler Town & Country models, giving customers 2nd and 3rd row seating that quickly and conveniently folds into the floor.

The 2009 Town & Country offers three powertrains: a 251-hp 4.0-liter V-6; 175-hp 3.3-liter Flex Fuel V-6; 197-hp 3.8-liter V-6.

Base model estimated mpg: 17/25 n Estimated starting price: $25,730

Gilles: Chrysler design chief

Chrysler's new design boss, Ralph Gilles, and veteran supplier executive Kathleen Ligocki will be featured speakers at the 33rd Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

Gilles will speak Wednesday evening, Jan. 21. Ligocki will speak Tuesday morning, Jan. 20.

Gilles, who is famed for leading the styling of the 2005 Chrysler 300, was appointed vice president of design for Chrysler LLC in September. Previously, he led design for Jeep and trucks. Gilles oversaw styling of the new Dodge Ram pickup, debuting this fall.

In August, Ligocki was named CEO of GS Motors, a subsidiary of Grupo Salinas, of Mexico City. GS plans to produce Chinese-designed cars at a plant to be built in Mexico City with China's First Automobile Works.

Before moving to GS, Ligocki was CEO of Tower Automotive. She led the supplier through a Chapter 11 restructuring that culminated in a reorganization plan and the sale of the company to Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Ligocki previously held a variety of senior positions at Ford Motor Co., including CEO of Ford of Mexico from 2000 to 2001.

Key facts
When: Jan. 19-22
Where: Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center
Cost: $1,495 early registration fee by Dec. 1 (save $200); daily fee $850
Information: 313-446-0485 or
Exclusive lead sponsors: PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM


October 19th, 2008

Filed under: Heavy Hitters Magazine — John Jarasa @ 8:31 pm

SEMA is going to be flooded with dozens of customized Dodge Challengers but I can guarantee that none of them will come close (when it comes to exterior stying) to the three widebody edition Challengers crafted by Topo. If you're headed to the show be on the lookout for these bad boys.


The black Dodge Challenger pictured here is the second one to be completed and the orange one behind it the third in line.


With stock wheels on the Challenger it gives you a better feel of just how much wider the Challenger gets after the wide body conversion.


Topo taping up his the rear quarter for his cut lines.