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Joseph P. Porter
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I am a retired college faculty in Philosophy, with specializations in Ethics, Socio-political Theory and Rational Choice/Decision Theory. My teaching focus was on Business Ethics, Medical Ethics and Logic. After retirement I freelanced as a Grant Writer/Fund Raising Consultant. I have taught at... More
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  • Oh, Oh, Sergio! Fiat Vs. Chrysler 5 comments
    Sep 24, 2013 1:39 PM

    The title dates me a bit, I'm afraid. It's a reference to an ad for one of the earlier "designer" jeans manufactured by Sergio Valente. The ad featured young women wearing jeans that appeared painted on, with the jingle "Oh - Oh, Sergio!" playing in the background.

    Circa 1980's.

    That was back when I bothered watching TV, something I try strenuously to avoid anymore.

    But, to get to the topic . . .

    There's another Sergio to be interested in today - Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and also CEO of Fiat S.p.A., which owns 58.5% of Chrysler, and wants to take the U.S. automaker private.

    The problem? Chrysler's retiree healthcare trust, which owns the remaining 41.5% of Chrysler.

    Fiat could buy the trust out for $6 billion, but Marchionne thinks the price is too high. The trust wants more than $6 billion for its stake.

    The trust's strategy: an IPO (which it has the right to request), which would determine the market value of Chrysler. Marchionne's situation? Executing a successful IPO, but hoping that it will be one that will price Chrysler so that the trust's shares are worth less than $6 billion.

    What's at stake? $12 billion in Chrysler cash that Sergio would love to use to put Fiat back on track in the European market.

    No conflict of interest here, folks - just move on.

    I am no fan of Chrysler. Their cars have always had a "plasticy" feel to them. And they don't run very well. They barely even walk. I have never owned one, and I never will (I'm old enough now to be able to say "never" to some things and not worry about what happens in the distant future).

    I am also no fan of Fiat. I did own a Fiat once - an 800 Spyder (I think it was a '69), and can honestly say it was the worst car I've ever owned.

    The old joke goes: "Fiat is the acronym for "fix it again, Tony." It's no joke. I paid $850 for the car in 1973, and over the next three years spent about $2500 keeping it on the road. That would never have happened had I been in the U.S., but I was Air Force, stationed in Spain, and access to automobiles was limited.

    I was a victim of circumstance. That and mechanics who knew a dupe when they saw one.

    But I digress.

    The best thing that could happen here would be that no one buys into a Chrysler IPO, Fiat takes Chrysler, and the merged company fails in a year or so. Chrysler is a no-go, and would have died 20 years ago had it not been for the U.S. government, Daimler AG and Fiat.

    Fiat deserves to fail, since it makes lousy cars and is so cheap it won't accept a 100% profit from a buyout of the Chrysler trust.

    (Do the math - they could buy the trust out with $6 billion, and they would get $12 billion in cash for doing so. This ought to be a no-brainer. They could take the cash and sell the factories.)

    Marchionne could end up failing no matter what happens, and it would serve him right.

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  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
    What's this? No TV and no Chrysler?? Why, that's positively un-American! (Well, mostly anyway.)


    Just to mix the two, Dodge had some of the hands-down best car commercials on TV with the 2011 Charger ads. I simply don't know how you could survive without having seen them. Well, there's always YouTube, I guess. :)



    24 Sep 2013, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » The old Charger and Challenger (and the RoadRunner) were nice efforts in the bulky sports car category back in the late '60's and '70's, but the new Charger is just trading off Boomer nostalgia.


    And no, I don't watch TV, precisely because of the commercials. My son collects the TV series he likes, and we watch those (no commercials), but every time a new program is advertised that looks good my wife and I try to watch it, and sure enough, the commercials spoil the experience..
    24 Sep 2013, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
    They have this new invention called a DVR. Let's you record one or more shows while watching another pre-recorded show, and then zip right past the commercials, unless you particularly want to watch them (like said Dodge ads). I *never* watch live TV anymore, precisely so I don't have to watch the commercials.


    Chargers were muscle cars, much more fun than sports cars. :P


    24 Sep 2013, 07:13 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I'm sorry - you're right - maybe. If the Charger was a muscle car, it was atrophied. GTO - now, there's a muscle car. Firebird, Camaro, the Good Machines. Charger was the Yugo of the muscle cars.


    There's a lot of TV technology that would be nice to have, but the only thing I want to get is a ROKU 3. We have this beautiful 60" plasma TV, and we haven't even watched it for two months - my wife has been sick, I've been busy trying to get some articles out - who has time for entertainment?????


    I'm busier in retirement than I was when I was working.


    By the way - watched the commercial. OK. The car looks like a good machine, but . . . Before I could close the window, another commercial came on for Winnipeg Humane Society's "Kitty Midnight Madness" commercial. Hilarious.


    24 Sep 2013, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
    I totally agree about GTOs (owned one), Firebirds & Camaros (Dad owned one). But don't forget the Charger came into its own in the movie Bullitt, along with the Mustang GT. Fun fun fun!


    Shucks, retirement is MADE for entertainment! I'm on my laptop, parked in my recliner, in front of my new 55" LED TV. I can tune in or out at will, and with a DVR, I can zip back if I missed something, and zip forward past the commercials if it's recorded. Life is good!


    Best wishes to your wife for a speedy recovery.


    24 Sep 2013, 11:28 PM Reply Like
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