TO THE EDITOR:
Sadness overwhelmed many people at the loss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne last month. His vision ultimately saved Chrysler Group and Fiat.
My great-grandfather Walter P. Chrysler founded Chrysler Corp. in 1925. His namesake model, the Chrysler Six, was introduced in 1924. A 1972 Antique Automobile article was forthright in its analysis: "This rather ordinary looking machine stands second only to the Model T Ford in its revolutionary impact on the industry. Beyond a doubt, this car stands alone as the dividing line between what may be termed 'old' and 'modern' cars."
On June 1, FCA presented its 2018-22 business plan, with hardly a mention of the Chrysler brand. Marchionne said it will survive, but will new CEO Mike Manley and Chairman John Elkann stay with that plan?
Chrysler is an American institution and part of our cultural fabric. Besides its involvement in many automotive inventions and innovations, Chrysler supplied a majority of our ordnance that helped defeat the Axis powers during World War II. Chrysler was the prime contractor in the early space race to the moon, and Chrysler built the rocket that sent our first man into orbit.
My goal is making a difference, and I have no financial interest in FCA. Growing up, we were taught to offer help before taking care of yourself. Today, it is all about ingratiating oneself. Marchionne purportedly said, "I am in the business to make money and not cars." FCA needs to do the right thing concerning Chrysler. I am sure the Italian government would not let the Fiat brand go away.
To all the dedicated people at FCA, including Manley and Elkann: The Chrysler brand is a part of American pride. Hopefully, FCA will consider our American heritage when crafting business decisions.
FRANK B. RHODES, Chestertown, Md.