Chrysler may divest Viper Automakers turn focus away from specialty vehicles

"SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Chrysler LLC, now studying a sale of its Viper sports-car business, is following General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. in looking to shed specialty vehicles and focus on main brands.

Ford during the past two years sold off its UK-based luxury-car divisions. GM is considering a sale of its Hummer line of sport-utility vehicles based on military trucks. Chrysler said yesterday that it hired Lazard Ltd. to help in a review of options for the 600-horsepower, 10-cylinder Viper.

"When times are tough, you retreat to the core businesses," said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler, the three US-based automakers, are scaling back as they lose money, sales, and market share in their home country. GM hasn't posted an annual profit since 2004, while Ford hasn't done so since 2005. Daimler AG sold Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management LP a year ago because of losses."

And yet at the same time, comes this;

SUV plant urged to stay open

"DAYTON (AP) - Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher says the state is offering General Motors Corp. a tax credit and grant worth more than $56 million to keep open its SUV plant in the Dayton suburb of Moraine.

The automaker has said it plans to close the plant by 2010 or sooner because of a customer shift to smaller vehicles. About 2,400 workers are employed there.

The proposed assistance announced yesterday consists of a $54 million job retention tax credit and a $2 million "rapid outreach" grant."

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