My first sort of Vlog - Chrysler's collapse

Voice of America gave me my first opportunity for a straight to the web story this past week. At a morning meeting, our editors were talking about Chrysler. So I decided to try and go multimedia about the American dream with a car boom to bust with big, gleaming unsold cars in the showroom type of approach. In other words, to get a feel of how car dealerships are dealing with the doomsiness getting doomier, if those were words. With video, pics and that great web amateur feel.

Since my camera is small, my tripod abilities somewhat subpar, the characters weak in the amount they wanted to talk to us, I decided to go vlog style putting co-journalist Kay Maddux in the spotlight as the working journalist with a more familiar, easy-going style, a dash of movement, showing the process, some irreverence and tada ... my first Americana web type of product ...

It was lots of fun to do, no doubt about that.

Here is the link to the low-res video on youtube ... The link is not yet up on the VOA site ... sniff ... there is lots to say about packaging and I aint no flash packager. Maybe one day.

And here is the script I wrote to go with this story ...

David Hellmuth, the general manager at Passport Chrysler in northern Virginia, has been struggling since early 2008.

In his showroom, bows are on cars, holiday season music is playing, luxury cars are gleaming, but there are no customers.

He said sales are down 70 percent this year. He even used the dreaded concept of deflation (a negative inflation rate which destroys the value of money) to explain what is happening.

"We are selling vans now for less than we were selling minivans probably in 1997. Because the economy is not as good as it was. So we have really had, I can't swear by this, deflation with a number of our cars."

A salesman, who used his first name Sid, said he is able to sell some used cars with customers, even though he says they drive a hard bargain, and a few new sport utility vehicle Jeeps, but little else.

He said he's never seen it as bad as this in the 25 years he's been a salesman in the car industry.

Asked if he felt Chrysler and the two other American automakers, General Motors and Ford were going under, he had this to say.

"It would be an institution going down. I mean the two major industries are housing and automobile. I don't think it will ever get to that. Hopefully, it will work out."

An office inside the dealership is filled with memorabilia and pictures of happier days, with customers smiling on the lot having just purchased a Chrysler.

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