Joe Eberhardt, the new marketing chief at the Chrysler group, has the toughest job in Detroit, with the possible exception of Bill Ford.
After Eberhardt arrived this month, bad news washed over Chrysler.
The company said it expects only slight operating profits in 2003, a shock considering that CEO Dieter Zetsche's turnaround plan called for operating profit of $2 billion this year.
In May, sales inched ahead just 0.4 percent while market share fell half a percentage point to 13.8 percent.
Clearly, Eberhardt is on the hot seat. The savvy thing for Zetsche to do is swallow his pride and use Eberhardt's arrival to rethink Chrysler's turnaround plan.
Eberhardt and Zetsche need a realistic attitude about sales growth and pricing in the brutal North American market. To his credit, Zetsche cut costs and pushed new products into the pipeline quickly. But in this extremely competitive market, that's not enough to ensure huge growth. He was simply too optimistic in expecting dramatic growth and profits.
Take rebates and other incentives. They are a way of life in the American auto industry but less common in Europe. Zetsche originally assumed he would cut back rebates at Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep.
But in the face of relentless incentives from General Motors and others, he threw in the towel late last year. The company now uses incentives freely and has accepted that that's the game in America.
Zetsche was swimming upstream against a lot of history. Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler have long been sold as mass-market products with medi-ocre quality, reasonable prices and good design. Zetsche and Eberhardt aren't going to change that in a year - or even two or three.