This Thing Just Might Work

The Cerberus all-star team breathes hope into the domestic equation. I love knowing that the new leaders of the company have been seasoned with “take no prisoners” battle wins in their past.

The Cerberus all-star team breathes hope into the domestic equation. I love knowing that the new leaders of the company have been seasoned with “take no prisoners” battle wins in their past.

I swell with optimism about how well the stock might perform on the announcement that these guys are engaged. Given the pessimistic view so many Americans have of our political leaders (with ties to special interests, cronyism and corruption), the possibility of belief in our American automotive leadership could be huge.

I must admit that I was worried that the “New Chrysler” would be steeped with Home Depot ingredients. I didn't like the thought of wearing a bright orange apron to direct shoppers to an appropriate aisle on the lot.

I doubted that part-time and retired techs would be effective at showing my customers how to use a new minivan to build a family drive vacation. It was comforting to see that we weren't just heading toward becoming Chrysler Depot.

I can't wait for the new Toyota-infused Chrysler. It is sure to satisfy more customers. I know from testing the Mercedes-flavored Chrysler just how powerful a strategy it was to add flavor to water. People loved it.

I'd like to see a few other things added to Cerberus' Chrysler recipe. If Burger King were added to the mix, we might see cars perfectly matched to the customer's order while they watched.

An Apple exec or two might give us cool points. Nike managers could get our customers to stop waiting for a sale and “just buy it.”

There must be hundreds of corporate guys out there who might speed Chrysler's recovery.

Sure, great car men and women have been tapped, but adding folks from outside of the automotive hemisphere is the strategy we'll be watching conquer the market now; our new turks lack of any encumbrance to Chrysler's history could speak volumes about their potential for success.

What remains to be seen is how many co-executives CEO Robert Nardelli can strap along side of Tom LaSorda before the collective ‘they’ cause a critical corporate waddle that might unbalance the company's advancement.

Cerberus' founder Stephen Feinberg has gathered a lot of cooks in a short period of time, all entering the kitchen with rich pay plans tied to bountiful stock plays.

Industry analysts must be having a ball handicapping this formula. If someone sold 10% more lumber and lighting, how many more Rams and Wranglers will they push?

I've rarely been so riveted on the daily news. I can't wait to wake up and read who's been added overnight and how Wall Street will respond. Day trading Chrysler stock might be a better idea than going long on Sebring.

I used to think you actually had to dig deep into the guts of a failing company to turn it around. Who would have thought that it could be done so quickly and cleanly simply by adding some new icing to the top layer?

Who suspected that Nardelli would do a lateral with LaSorda by adding Jim Press? Who thought that Cerberus would win the bid in the first place?

Heck, I believed that the Daimler Chrysler deal was a merger of equals. Maybe day trading isn't such a good idea for me after all.

What I do know is that I'm watching extreme change in how and where American cars will be built, marketed and sold. We're all witnessing American commerce at its extreme, and we all love extreme makeovers.

Bringing on gifted guys like Jim Press is a smart move for the future of any company. I pray deserving and devoted dealers and their staff be given the resources to thrive during the transition. I hope our political leaders protect us from carpetbaggers and quick-hit artists who might cost us our due.

Our political leaders have several times recognized our industry with special loans and legislation.

Let's watch closely how the candidates we support and endorse protect our stake in the future.

Peter Brandow is a veteran dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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