Economic Club of Chicago Luncheon
Invoking the spirit and sometimes twisted wisdom of Yogi Berra, Chrysler Vice Chairman and President Jim Press told a special luncheon meeting of the Economic Club of Chicago that, “The future just ain’t what it used to be.”
He said that it applied to everyone, “Regardless of whether you’re a trader or publisher from Chicago or a car salesman from Detroit. So, now the trick is to move forward from merely ‘intellectualizing’ that concept to truly accepting it.”
“I can tell you we have accepted the fact that there really is a harsh new reality in the auto industry,” said Press. “Our world has changed dramatically. It began in the second half of last year when we saw fuel prices spike, consumer confidence fall, and credit markets freeze. It was literally an automotive nightmare.”
Offering his company’s take on future action, Press said: “Everyone in the auto industry is being forced to rethink everything. The good news is that this is also the opportunity to fix a lot of things that should have been fixed a long time ago. We now have this moment in time, with the world watching, to make the right long-term decisions for our company and industry.”
“And our obligation in exchange for this opportunity is to commit 100 percent of our efforts to deliver to the American people the quality and fuel efficient automobiles they deserve at attractive prices,” he said. “We are confident we have the right plan and we will see Chrysler, again, be a symbol of American innovation and craftsmanship. We will restore Chrysler to once again be a great American icon.”
He enforced the need to partner with the government in preserving American jobs and expanding the availability of fuel efficient cars. The reliance on foreign oil needs to decrease and gas emission regulations must be set in place. America also needs to be cautious not to trade reliance on foreign oil for foreign batteries.
Press said we stand at a great moment of opportunity.
“Our industry and this country are at a crossroads,” he stated. “But we should look at this as the historic opportunity it really is. Hope and change may be national slogans—popularized by Chicago’s most famous citizen—but they are particularly meaningful to the auto industry.
“At Chrysler, we feel we have a special bond with America and the American taxpayers. We now have a responsibility to deliver on their investment by building a viable company and producing high quality desirable products that serve society. I can assure you that we’re going to give everything we have to hold up our end of the bargain—and to make our contribution to get our country and national economy back on track, and preserve our American way of life.
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