Walter P. Chrysler’s Great-Grandson to Cerberus: You Didn’t Ask, But I’m Telling You Anyway

If there was a way to say “oh, snap!” that sounded respectful and professional, I would say it

By David Surace

10.24.2008

Cerberus Capital Management–the company which owns 80.1% of Chrysler, LLC–is headquartered in New York City with affiliate and/or advisory offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Baarn, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Osaka and Taipei.

Frank Rhodes, the archivist for the Chrysler family and great-grandson of the automaker’s founder Walter P. Chrysler, is headquartered in Chestertown, MD.

According to an Automotive News article (sub req’d), on October 16th, Mr. Rhodes sent a letter to Stephen Feinberg, the founder of Cerberus, issuing some unsolicited advice on some good places to take the company. The letter was also CC’d to Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, Co-President Jim Press, among several other important people and media outlets.

While the full text hasn’t been made available yet, Mr. Rhodes’ three salient points are up for display:

– Cerberus should reassure consumers that Chrysler wasn’t just a throw-away investment: “you will be in business for the duration.”

– Chrysler’s product sales targets should reach higher and farther, or at least more than just “building a truck for Nissan and a minivan for Volkswagen”, as the AN article puts it.

– The ever-popular Hail Mary pass: Product planners should focus on an inexpensive “people’s car” with “no fancy radio, no air, no frills and EASY to service.” Did someone at this address order a K-car?

Mr. Rhodes also closed his letter with an optimistic-yet-ominous touch: “This is a sad period for American history, one of which should be and will be won. I am on your side. Make it work — failure is not an option.”

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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1 Comment

  1. For a modern “K-car” incarnation, a look to an alliance with Renault-Nissan might be useful. The Logan aka Nissan Aprio in Mexico is very close to the definition of a modern K-car.

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