After the death of FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, many have praised the late CEO’s hard work and dedication in saving the Chrysler Group and Fiat. One descendant of Walter P. Chrysler, however, has an urgent message for FCA’s new leadership.
In a heartfelt letter to the editor published in Automotive News, Frank B. Rhodes, the great-grandson of Walter P. Chrysler, pleads future FCA leadership to keep the Chrysler brand alive and flourish as it did in the past.
Rhodes argues that his great-grandfather’s Chrysler Six automobile had a “revolutionary impact” on the automotive industry, second only to Henry Ford’s Model T. He credits Chrysler as a “part of our cultural fabric” and notes Chrysler’s contributions to defeating the Axis powers during World War II and its innovations during the space race.
As critics seriously question the relevance of the Chrysler brand, both inside and outside of FCA, Rhodes concludes his letter with a plea, “Hopefully, FCA will consider our American heritage when crafting business decisions.”
The late Sergio Marchionne, who tragically passed away last month, has been replaced as CEO by former Jeep/Ram brand head Mike Manley, and as CEO of Ferrari by former Philip Morris executive Louis Camilleri. The board promptly announced these appointments after learning of Marchionne’s medical condition.