Saturday, October 11, 2008

CHRYSLER--A LIKEABLE ROUNDHEELS--WILL SELL ITSELF TO ANYONE

G.M. Held Merger Talks With Ford Before Chrysler



DETROIT — Before General Motors began exploring a possible merger with Chrysler — talks that first came to light on Friday — G.M. proposed a similar deal with its other cross-town rival, the Ford Motor Company, two people with knowledge of the talks said Saturday.
G.M. executives approached Ford about a possible merger in July, but Ford rejected the idea and ended the discussions last month, these people said.
After Ford decided to remain independent amid an increasingly difficult auto market, G.M. turned its attention to Chrysler. For the last month, it has been in preliminary merger talks with Chrysler’s owner, the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
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The question of course is whether these two newlyweds can get themselves to the church ahead of the bankruptcy court. Neither of them spring chickens, the financial world may see this as a marriage of convenience to get combined Medicare for whichever needs heart-massage first.
Mergers once were hyped on the basis of combined strengths. But times have changed and any port in a storm, whatever it takes and until death us do part all come to mind as vows.
What a grand old business the management in Detroit has managed to muck up. Oldsmobile, Packard, Studebaker, Hudson, LaSalle and the venerable old badge, Duesenberg--all gone to the collector's. The chairmen of Ford, Chrysler and GM are all hired guns, veritable undertakers somberly marching their once great companies to the graveyard.
The real pity is they will blame the financial crisis, rather than their own incredibly dysfunctional mismanagement, for the collapse. And they will believe it, because the truth is too hard to face.