Road could be rough for Chrysler this year

| Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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While other automakers are touting all their gee-whiz upcoming products at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler Group LLC has nothing new on its stand.

I find that to be astounding, given that automakers develop new cars and trucks four to five years ahead of their introductions. So what the heck were previous Chrysler owners Daimler and Cerberus doing for all that time?

Unless you've been on the set of "Lost" for the past few months, you know that Italian automaker Fiat is running the show at Chrysler now. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler and Fiat makes no bones about the fact that Chrysler's cupboard is bare and that there's not much he can do about it for another year or so.

But in a possible bright spot for Michigan's economy, Marchionne told USA Today's Sharon Carty that Chrysler will be hiring an unspecified number of engineers to help jump-start product development.

"The area that has been decimated the most is the technical area of the company," Marchionne says. "We need to have engineers. We just don't have enough, and we're in the process of recruiting."
 FYI: I'll be spending much of today making a few bucks by writing for the old media. Beginning this week, I'm writing a regular column that will appear in the Grand Rapids Press, the Kalamazoo Gazette and the Muskegon Chronicle. Here's a hint about this week's topic: Michigan's efforts to become the advanced battery capital of the world.

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