July 19, 2013
Chrysler Sticks With ‘Made in Detroit’ Despite City’s Bankruptcy
Earlier this year Chrysler executives and assembly workers celebrated production of the new Dodge Viper sports car at the Conner Avenue plant in Detroit.
Little is expected to change in the U.S. auto industry in the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing. The city’s politics, finances and infrastructure have been in dire straits for decades, so people familiar with Motor City history will not be surprised by the filing.
Still, car makers are likely to maintain their connections with Detroit’s scrappy image. Chrysler, which has based its recent comeback in part on its overarching “Made in Detroit” marketing theme, said it has no plans to change its marketing approach or to distance itself from the troubled city.
“Chrysler Group believes in the City of Detroit and its people. We not only continue to invest in the city and its residents by adding to our presence in Detroit, we also are committed to playing a positive role in its revitalization,” the company said in a statement.
Arguably the auto industry saw this coming many years ago and moved much of their operations to neighboring cities and suburbs. Only General Motors still has its headquarters in downtown Detroit. GM said it also feels an attachment to Detroit and published the following statement:
GM has assessed the potential implications of Detroit’s bankruptcy and we do not anticipate any impact to our daily operations or business outlook. Our first thoughts, however, are with our neighbors throughout the city. GM is proud to call Detroit home and today’s bankruptcy declaration is a day that we and others hoped would not come. We believe, however, that today also can mark a clean start for the city. We hope that all parties recognize the sacrifices to follow can help rebuild a stronger Detroit with a level of services and quality of life its citizens deserve. A healthy auto industry will play a part in Detroit’s comeback story and GM is doing its part.
As car makers seek to attract buyers with the “Made in USA” label, they are likely to continue focusing on Detroit, even if much of its Motor City image is based on nostalgia dating to the first half of the last century.
Detroit’s population peaked at two million in 1950 but has fallen to about 700,000 today. The city’s unemployment rate has nearly tripled since 2000 and its crime rate has continued to rise in recent years even as other historically dangerous cities have become safer
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