How do you spell survival for a bent and battered U.S. auto industry?
According to an April 8 Associated Press story from the floor of the New York International Auto Show, the spoils might go to companies that dare to do something truly revolutionary.
“Chrysler LLC President Jim Press surprised reporters at the automaker’s news conference by arriving on stage in an iconic Fiat 500 subcompact. While the company’s big unveiling was a new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the attention was clearly on the small car Chrysler may bring to the U.S. if it completes its tie-up with Italy’s Fiat Group SpA. ‘Don’t you think that this would be a perfect car to get around New York City?’ he asked the crowd.”
But, as the AP reported, the bigger question remains whether Chrysler, living on a $4 billion government bailout, “will survive long enough to see the 500 on city streets.”
Offerings from other automakers trended toward the hip and green.
Mercedes-Benz debuted four new vehicles, including a high-performance version of its E-Class sedan and two hybrid models, and Land Rover unveiled a trio of new models, the wire service reported. Toyota’s Scion brand showcased a concept based on its iQ microcar, and Acura unveiled the ZDX, a sport sedan from Honda.
General Motors Corp. showed off the 2010 GMC Terrain compact crossover vehicle, but Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, nixed plans to speak with reporters at the show so he could stay in Detroit to focus on the company’s restructuring.
Only time will tell if new concepts and innovative selling techniques — including guarantees if a purchaser loses their job — will make a dent in the sluggish car-buying market.
The week before the show, the AP reported, automakers reported a 37 percent decline in March U.S. sales.
This article was submitted by Kathleen O’Connor, a contributing writer for Biz2Credit. Biz2Credit is a small business marketplace that provides entrepreneurs with the latest industry news and financial advice. Send all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.