Great grandson of Walter Chrysler worries about fate of automaker

Merger to be finalized Jan. 16

DETROIT – For nearly a century, the Chrysler name has meant a lot to the auto industry, but now the famed family is concerned it will all disappear.

The Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles merger is at the center of the contention.

The new name for the combined Peugeot and FCA is Stellantis, a new image for the global future.

But for one of Motown’s storied legacy auto families, seeing the Chrysler name and even the brand go by the boards is a sad sight.

Walter Chrysler founded his famed auto company in 1924. His name has stuck around through the Daimler merger and the Fiat takeover, but this new world without Chrysler bothers his great grandson, Frank Rhodes.

He wanted to derail the merger itself.

“We are concerned a lot of the profits from this company are going to overseas interests, the Chinese, the French and will leave our country,” Rhodes said.

He brought in Titan Global Advisors to help him fight although the federal government gave the merger a pass last September.

Cox Automotive analyst, Michelle Krebs, believes that is a moot point.

“Seems to me if the shareholders of both companies approved, there is no going back,” said Krebs.

Rhodes is also upset about the possibility the Chrysler brand itself is in jeopardy.

“They closed the Chrysler museum in Auburn Hills and they replaced it with Alpha Romeo and they closed the Viper plant. They’re slowly taking things away and it’s really upsetting,” he said.

On that point Krebs believes Rhodes is rightly concerned.

“It’s down to two vehicles now and one is a very old Sedan and Sedans aren’t selling, so the future of the Chrysler brand may be questionable,” said Krebs.

“If it goes through, we’re going to keep working to save the brand,” said Rhodes.

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