Chrysler also always boasted the “inspiration comes standard” but but what about the indignation? For many voters, the billions of dollars given to the auto industry is the latest outrage from Washington, which seems intent on bailing out every failed company and bad mortgage. The U.S. auto industry spent decades fighting environmental laws and resisting pressure to build smaller, fuel efficient cars. Now, no one wants to buy their cars and they are receiving a bailout. Chrysler, however, decided that it wanted to thank the American people — so it took out full page ads in the most expensive newspapers in the country. Of course, this is a lot like sending flowers to a loved one with a bill from the florist. After all, as the advertisement says, “Chrysler. Drive = Love.”
Chrysler was overjoyed at the Administration’s $17.4 billion auto industry bailout plan and could not contain itself over its $4 billion cut.
Less of course what it just spent in celebration: A full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal runs between $206,000 and $264,000 while a full-page ad in USA Today runs between $112,000 and $217,000.
In the ads, CEO Bob Nardelli proclaims “On behalf of the 1 million people who depend on Chrysler for their livelihoods, thank you for investing in Chrysler, and America.” Nardelli seems to have a tin ear when it comes to the proprieties and niceties of begging for public hand outs. He was previously criticized for flying a private jet to Washington to demand a hand out on the basis of corporate poverty, here. The move seemed to fulfill the company’s minivan campaign entitled “Make Your House Jealous.” Both Houses were likely jealous of a guy who can fly to Washington in a private jet, get billions, and then celebrate with splashy public-supported thank yous to the public.
It turns out that the company successfully lobbied the White House to drop loan conditions that would prevent it from selling off the company and potentially avoiding any repayment of the loan. “Cerberus officials lobbied the White House last week to prevent the private equity firm from being held responsible for the Chrysler loans if the automaker cannot repay them, according to people with knowledge of the talks who declined to be identified because the discussions were private” Click here.