As I sat down to interview Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, Co-President Jim Press, and Co-President Tom LaSorda two things jumped out in my mind. First: is Chrysler's turn-around on target? Second: Do Chrysler's growth plans remove lingering doubts about the automaker's future.
The answers: Yes and yes.
Let's start with the turn-around. Nardelli says Chrysler has met or exceeded the targets set by the owners at Cerberus Capital. One reason is because the company set conservative projections for '08. While Nardelli did not lay out in dollars and cents how much money the automaker is losing, I wouldn't be surprised to see that the rate is much lower than in the fourth quarter of last year when Chrysler lost $1.6 Billion.
Chrysler's cutbacks have been swift and coming quick. All three would say the automaker is moving far faster than it would if still owned by a publicly traded corporation. But do Chrysler's growth plans from here remove lingering doubts about the automaker's future?
Jim Press and Tom LaSorda say the plan to build fewer cars and trucks has paid off because sales are as weak as they expected. And while critics question if Chrysler's pipeline has run dry, Press says there is a line-up on the way that will not only balance out the truck heavy line-up at Chrysler, but also provide models that will sell.
Watch the interview (in sections) here and tell me if you are convinced the automaker is on the right track.