And the winner is ... Ford?
With Chrysler in bankruptcy -- and General Motors possibly following suit -- some analysts predict an exodus of customers who don't trust a bankrupt automaker to be around tomorrow to service a car bought today.
Despite enthusiastic predictions from President Barack Obama that a revitalized Chrysler will be an important player in the U.S. auto industry, the company's Chapter 11 filing may remove Chrysler's brands from the shopping lists of consumers who don't trust that the company will emerge from reorganization.
"All the other automakers are rubbing their hands together, although they'll all deny it," said George Peterson, president of the market research firm AutoPacific in Tustin, Calif.
Said Lincoln Merrihew of the research group TNS Automotive: "Ford looks like the quiet winner, when you look at emotional, 'Buy American'-based purchases."
Todd Turner, principal of Car Concepts, a consulting firm in suburban Los Angeles, thinks Ford could be a "big winner."
Said Ford sales analyst George Pipas: "It's probably not a negative. But the real question is volume. Hey, when GM went on strike in 1998 for 60 days, our market share went up, but total industry volume went down. And at the end of the day, what are you left with?"