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Jim Press Pulled Back By Renault/Nissan Allianace

Former Toyota, Chrysler exec aiding global alliance strategy.

by on Jul.20, 2010

Former Toyota and Chrysler exec Jim Press has resurfaced working for the Renault/Nissan Alliance.

Once the most powerful American in the Japanese auto industry, Jim Press has resurfaced, this time working for the Renault/Nissan Alliance.

The 63-year-old Press is serving as a consultant on sales, service and marketing issues for the Euro-Asian partnership, a Nissan/Renault spokesman says.

A former board member with Toyota Motor Co. and the maker’s top-ranked U.S. executive, Press had most recently been working as a vice chairman for Chrysler until the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy.

Press On!

“Jim is already making a great contribution to the business,” said Renault/Nissan spokesman Simon Sproule, confirming Press’s involvement with the Alliance.


Chrysler Sold to Fiat. Immediate Organizational Changes Are Announced

Sergio Marchionne is the new CEO. EVP Steve Landry Retires.

by on Jun.10, 2009

Sergio Marchionne

Chrysler Group needs to sell off its bloated inventory and get factories producing again.

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of the New Chrysler Group, put in place a new organization at the same time the sale of Chrysler to Fiat was completed this morning.

The U.S. Supreme Court late yesterday lifted a stay, allowing the sale to proceed. Under the terms approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York and antitrust regulators, the company formerly known as Chrysler LLC formally sold substantially all of its assets, without most of its debts and liabilities, to a new company that will operate as Chrysler Group LLC.

In addition to Mr. Marchionne, currently the Chief Executive Officer of Fiat S.p.A. serving as CEO, Chrysler Group LLC will be managed by a nine-member Board of Directors, consisting of three directors to be appointed by Fiat, four directors to be appointed by the U.S. Government, one director to be appointed by the Canadian Government and one director to be appointed by the United Auto Workers’ Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. The Board is expected to name C. Robert Kidder as Chairman. The process of determining additional board members is continuing.

Chrysler Group LLC said in a statement that it is restructuring to concentrate on the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge vehicle lines and the Mopar brand of aftermarket parts.

A large, potentially fatal, issue remains with Chrysler’s currently depressed sales levels, and as a result how long it takes to sell off the current inventory. All Chrysler plants have been idled since its bankruptcy filing and it is uncertain when they will resume production. Its suppliers are facing their own insolvencies.

The sales challenge confronting Chrysler as it emerges from bankruptcy is gargantuan. Before the Chrysler bankruptcy filing in March, the company had an average of $5,566 of incentives in effect — roughly 20% to 25% of the wholesale cost of a vehicle — and sales declined almost 50% anyway.

“I personally feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead the New Chrysler and to work with senior management to build this company and our great brands into all we know they can and should be,” said Sergio Marchionne, who today was named Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Group LLC. “That effort starts with leadership.”

To assist the new company in the transition, Jim Press is appointed Deputy CEO and Special Advisor, reporting to Mr. Marchionne. The company said Press will be instrumental in the restructuring of the Chrysler Group. Press served most recently as Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman & President.

Steven Landry, Executive Vice President, North American Sales & Marketing, Global Service & Parts, announced his intention to retire. Mr. Landry offered to assist the new company in the transition. (more…)

Fired Chrysler Dealers Want Bankruptcy Court to Slow Down on Asset Sale

Dealers facing termination in June are making a last minute bid to head off the Fiat sale.

by on May.20, 2009

Golling Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

"The relief Chrysler seeks is unprecedented and improper," claims a dealer group.

The newly organized “Committee of Chrysler Affected Dealers” has filed an objection to Chrysler’s proposed asset sale to Fiat that is key to Chrysler emerging from bankruptcy. Lawyers for the group are asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan to delay hearings that would approve the asset sale and rejection of the dealer franchise agreements. The hearings are now set for May 27 and are key to Chrysler’s early exit from bankruptcy.

Jim Press, Chrysler president and vice chairman, said last week that he was confident Chrysler’s decision to terminate dealers will withstand legal challenges.

The dealer’s lawyers, however, insist the termination is improper.

“Chrysler’s proposed asset sale and request for immediate termination of dealer franchises will destroy several hundred independent businesses, ruin the livelihoods of their owners, cause the loss of thousands of jobs and precipitate inevitable personal and business bankruptcies flowing from the closing of the affected dealers,” said Stephen D. Lerner, head of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Lerner leads the team representing the dealer committee, which represents the collective interests of nearly 300 dealers in 45 states.    (more…)

Chrysler Sales Dive 48% in April

"We know where the bottom is," said Jim Press.

by on May.01, 2009

Jim Press with Challenger

Not very many people are buying vehicles.

Bankrupt Chrysler LLC experienced the kind of sales performance in April that caused its financial difficulties in the first place, as sales dropped to 43,138 vehicles, or -48%, compared with 83,348 a year ago.

Year-to-date sales dropped to 323,890 vehicles, compared with 601,622 in 2008, or -46%. Chrysler Crossfire, PT Cruiser and Sebring; Jeep Compass, Commander and Patriot; Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Durango and Journey — all had sales declines that averaged -70%.

As a result of the ongoing sales slump, Chrysler will extend through May 4 the Employee Pricing Plus Plus (sic) program, which offers the employee price to all customers purchasing or leasing new 2009 Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles. Customers may also qualify for 0% financing for up to 48 months through Chase bank.  In addition to the employee price, customers are eligible for cash discounts of up to $3,500 on 2009 model year vehicles. 

The Company finished the month with 336,913 vehicles in inventory, representing a 114 day supply.  Inventory is down 20% compared with April 2008, when it totaled 422,353 units. All of Chrysler’s North American plants will be closed until it emerges from bankruptcy, the company said yesterday.

As always sales executives attempted to stay positive in the face of a clear disaster.

“The industry appears to have stabilized, as it’s been fairly level for the past four months,” said Jim Press, Vice Chairman and President, Chrysler LLC. “We know where the bottom is and, as the economy struggles to recover, vehicle sales should follow.” (more…)

Harsh Reality Approaching for Chrysler

Automaker confirms it hopes to build Fiat products at Chrysler plants.

by on Feb.13, 2009

Facing harsh reality: Chrysler's Jim Press

Facing harsh reality: Chrysler's Jim Press

Chrysler is prepared to submit the updated version of its viability plan to its federal overlords, next week, which it hopes will demonstrate that the company not only can survive but actually thrive through the current downturn and beyond, Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press says.

“I can tell you we have accepted the fact that there is really is a harsh new reality in the auto industry,” Press said during remarks to the Economic Club of Chicago. “We are confident we have the right plan and we will see Chrysler, again, be a symbol of American innovation and craftsmanship,” he said.

“Everyone in the auto industry is being forced to rethink everything. The good news is that this is also the opportunity to fix a lot of things that should have been fixed a long time ago,” Press asserted.

The former Toyota executive also stressed that Chrysler is already well along in restructuring and repositioning its core business . “When we complete our viability plan, we will have eliminated 1.3 million units of installed capacity, or more than 30 percent, and reduced our fixed cost s by more than $3.8 billion,” he noted.


Nissan-Chrysler Alliance May Collapse

Nissan may be ready to pull the plug.

by on Feb.13, 2009

Nissan would give up Ram-based Titan

Nissan would give up Ram-based Titan

The highly touted alliance between Chrysler and Nissan now appears to be on very thin ice if it’s not dead already.

Nissan officials confirmed Thursday that two projects integral to the alliance are now under review.

“Last year, Nissan and Chrysler announced three projects to provide each other with certain vehicles on an OEM basis. Nissan and Chrysler have agreed for Nissan to supply compact vehicles to Chrysler for sale in South America beginning later this year. That project continues to progress,” Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said in a statement.