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Another Letter to Steve Rattner, Car Czar: Combine GM and Chrysler

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 1, 2009

Dear Steve,

Back in June, ‘08, I predicted that Chrysler would fail and its key brands would be picked up by General Motors. It turns out that GM is failing as well, but it still makes sense for GM to pick up Jeep and some of the hybrid and electric cars Chrysler is developing with partners in China and elsewhere.

In many ways, it makes MORE sense to keep Chrysler American if jobs are the issue. The merger with Germany’s Daimler Benz was a cultural disaster and there is no reason to think that a merger with Italy’s Fiat will be any better. Fiat is also in a much weaker financial position than Daimler was in the last merger round. Will it have the funds to keep investing in Chrysler? And does Fiat have the technology for hybrids, pure electrics and other gas-saving technologies? It certainly doesn’t appear to be a global leader.

And finally, Chrysler has a legacy of great design and innovation. GM can use as much of that as possible. GM can’t really succeed just building hybrids. Every auto maker in the world is doing that now. GM has to innovate deeply, from its ideation to its distribution. Chrysler design people can help with that (if the good ones are still at Chrysler).

So Steve, please take a moment to think merger—between GM and Chrysler.

From your friend who still drives his 1996 Subaru Outback (can I get a trade-in deal from you?).


Reader Comments


April 2, 2009 4:02 AM

You're an idiot. Not even worth arguing with an ignoramus as you've shown with this article. BW should be very ashamed.


April 2, 2009 7:57 PM

Please, what innovation(s) are you speaking of? Chrysler? Have you tried to SIT in one of their current vehicles? What innovation? What design?


April 7, 2009 6:34 PM

Why would they need to merge to get Chrysler's design innovation? Wouldn't just hiring the top 10 or so out of work Chrysler designers make more sense than addding a failing, out of cash car company to GM's near failing, almost out of cash car company? Most of Chrysler's great design was done by Freeman Thomas, and I think he's at Ford now...

GM needs to focus on itself, get really good at what it is supposed to do, not add the complexity of taking on the remains of the worst US car company and all the catastrophe that goes with it.

Bruce, great work on looking at innovation, but this was a bit of a reach...

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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