Okay, so GM’s Segway on Steroids is a little silly looking. But credit where credit’s due – the PUMA is still more forward thinking than Chrysler’s only new vehicle to debut at the New York Auto Show, the 20 mpg Jeep Grand Cherokee. That’s right – Chrysler’s plan to reinvent itself for a changing market and stave off bankruptcy involves building exactly the same sort of vehicle that they have been for the last decade.

Meanwhile, questions remain as to whether even an alliance with Fiat will be enough to save Chrysler. Even the $6 billion government loan available on completion of the Fiat deal might not be enough to get the company through 2009 – both companies are cash strapped, sales are down, and the costs of revamping plants and launching new vehicles may mean Chrysler will be back at D.C. with hat in hand sooner rather than later.

This isn’t a company that’s viable without a helping hand from Italy – but it’ becoming increasingly clear that it might not be a viable company with it either. If that’s the case, does another $6 billion loan make more sense than simply forcing a bankruptcy, which is less politically expedient but, speaking frankly, probably more pragmatic?

Read more on the current auto industry crisis and the government’s ideas on how to deal with it at Baseline Scenario.

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