Is it just me?
Or has the U.S. business scene run amuck?
The media is foaming at the mouth with stories depicting the possibility of Daimler dumping Chrysler in the very near future.
Along those same story lines, it appears that General Motors may be considering the purchase of the Chrysler Corp. Before you dismiss such a ridiculous venture, be aware of the fact that both Chrysler and GM shares jumped within hours of the announcement.
Apparently, we’ve learned nothing from history. Anyone remember when the U.S. auto industry boasted the “Big Four”? That fourth spot was held by American Motors Corp. (AMC), which was originally formed from the merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corp. and the Hudson Motorcar Company in 1954. Remember these classic nameplates: Gremlin, Spirit, Renault, Nash Rambler, Javelin, Hornet, Pacer, Concord, Matador, and Cavalier (later to re-emerge as a GM nameplate) to name just a few? It all came to an end with the merger of AMC into Chrysler in 1987. It’s kind of ironic that the one-time big fish has become the small fish being eyed hungrily by General Motors.
Riddle me this. When one ailing, flailing, failing, leaderless conglomerate merges or acquires a second distressed, floundering, directionless, leaderless competitor … which of the two will save the other?
What a short memory we have. It wasn’t that long ago (2005) that Sears, Roebuck & Company (at one time the number #1 U.S. retailer) merged with K-Mart Corp. (at one time the #2 U.S. retailer) to form the Sears Holdings Corporation.
Everyone waited with baited breath to see if competitors such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, Costco, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s, JCPenney’s, Nordstrom’s, Younkers, Macy’s and others could withstand the devastating onslaught of this newly formed terrifying tandem. Needless to say, everyone survived. Since the Sears/K-Mart merger, there have been few changes at the store level and those that have surfaced have been as riveting as watching paint dry.
It doesn’t matter what the product and/or service may be. The keys to success lie with the people involved at every level and the culture which evolves as a result of the efforts of those people.
The answer to the Chrysler challenge is unbelievably simplistic. This scenario will never happen. However, if it were to materialize, Chrysler would emerge as the worldwide automotive leader exempt from threats of any current competitor on the face of the earth. It’s that simple. Here’s the formula:
- Recruit Donald Trump and Ross Perot to join forces as co-chairmen of the new Chrysler Corp.
- Trump has overcome numerous obstacles to attain success and knows how to capitalize on his enormous network.
- Perot was once an intricate piece of General Motors. He identified major problems, offering sensible solutions, but was ignored and bought out by the GM leadership that feared him. He could make it work this time and, by doing so at Chrysler, once again prove to GM that they should have listened to him when they had the opportunity.
- They both have a proven track record when it comes to turnarounds. They have both demonstrated a phoenix-like ability to create success from the ashes left behind by others.
- Neither needs the money, yet both thrive on emerging victorious after being told it can’t be done.
- Recruit Lee Iacocca to return as CEO and Jack Welch to complete the equation as Chief Operating Officer.
- This would be deja vu for Iacocca. In the late 70s, Chrysler was on a “suicide watch” as Lee galloped in on his white horse, fresh from being put out to pasture by Ford Motor Co. As the world looked on in doubt, he took draconian measures never before seen at Chrysler and led them out of certain bankruptcy destruction to become a competitive dynasty to be reckoned with by all in the industry. He knows what it takes, isn’t ready to be counted out, and would be returning to his true love.
- Both Iacocca and Welch would welcome the opportunity to disprove their nay-sayers who have claimed their legendary legacies were a “fluke.”
- Again, neither needs the money but both would emerge in the public eye revitalized beyond recognition by the challenge most would deem impossible.
Let’s not overlook the obvious thought on everyone’s mind. Would it be possible to corral four of the world’s most gargantuan egos long enough to even propose such an undertaking? You might be surprised. The opportunity and possibility of accomplishing what the world would deem incomprehensible would easily overshadow the concern of ego-clashing. Each of these cultural icons would certainly recognize and capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime prospect of working with fellow legends in a combined effort to accomplish the impossible.
Interestingly enough, their challenge and final results really have nothing to do with the auto industry. They would experience the identical success whether they were dealing with the challenges of our perplexing airline industry and the deteriorating automobile industry.
They’ve each proven themselves in their own respective areas time and time again. Regardless of the product, service, or challenge, they take action. They get results. That’s what this country needs today.
Do you think my solution is absurd? Think again AFTER comparing it to the merger of Sears and K-Mart. And again AFTER reviewing the merger of GM and Chrysler. And once again AFTER observing daily examples of our once powerful two-party political system moving closer and closer to a one-party mind-set.
Now, wouldn’t you agree that my solution is actually pretty feasible? Excuse me now as I’ve got to make a few phone calls in hopes of reaching Donald, Ross, Lee, and Jack. They may be our only hope!