Chrysler today pulled the plug on its involvement in the Australian V8 Supercar championship where it has supplied the official safety car/pace car for the past four years
That means only two of America’s big three carmakers will remain involved – Ford and General Motors through its Australian subsidiary, Holden.
All three are battling to survive in a failing US new car market, and both GM and Chrysler have asked the American government for a $US15 billion bridging loan to tide them over until March.
They say that without the bail-out they may go to the wall. Ford says it has been cost-cutting and has salted away a contingency fund which should see it through the global financial crisis.
However, it says that should either Chrysler or GM collapse, it would have a ripple effect on Ford as all three use common suppliers who might also cease trading if they lose a third of their business.
Some Ford dealers also own Chrysler or GM franchises and could have their businesses further damaged if either of the two failed.
Meanwhile, V8 Supercars is likely to seek a third party manufacturer to supply the next safety car. Before Chrysler got the job, Audis did the course-opening and closing and pace car duties.
V8 Supercars Australia CEO, Cameron Levick, says Chrysler has been “a wonderful partner. Their sponsorship has been fantastic for Chrysler and V8 Supercars Australia. We thank them for…their efforts in raising not only their profile but the brand of V8 Supercars."
Chrysler Australia’s marketing boss, Craig Bradshaw, says the 300C safety cars were “literally seen by millions of fans, both at the event and broadcast coverage, this was an innovative way to introduce one of our iconic cars to the Australian market.”