Chrysler Disappointed at Column on Iacocca

You win a few, you lose a few, and we think we lost big in our decision to put James Flanigan together with Lee A. Iacocca during our “Chrysler in the ’90’s” tour (“At Chrysler, Iacocca Should Blame Himself,” May 23).

Obviously, Flanigan doesn’t agree with some of the decisions Chrysler made during the last decade. Our acquisitions in the aerospace-defense business--which have been quite profitable to date--and stock repurchase program, which adds to shareholder’s stake in the company, seem to have raised his ire.

Monday morning quarterbacking is a science, but he should understand that the money spent in these areas was not deflected from product development. It was not spent in lieu of new products or improvements to existing products. In truth, Chrysler did everything it could physically accomplish in the product arena in the ‘80s. We have only so many people and so many plants.

Chrysler did not play to tie, as Flanigan writes. If he knew anything about Iacocca, at whose feet he’s chosen to place the blame for everything that’s wrong at Chrysler, he’d know that second best is not in Iacocca’s lexicon and a “tie” is in no way as good as a win. Chrysler is looking for victories, and they are tough as hell to come by in this league.


We hoped maybe a one-on-one sit-down by one of The Times’ leading columnists with Iacocca would help us set the record straight. We hoped Flanigan would have attended Iacocca’s press conference prior to his interview to see how we’re investing for the future and to hear firsthand why we are so enthusiastic about where we’re headed.

To paraphrase Flanigan and Whittier, “the saddest words . . . it might have been.”


Executive Director


Corporate Communications

and Marketing Services

Chrysler Corp.

Highland Park, Mich.