09/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Chrysler Would Outsource Everything But SUVs?

This is the year of cutting SUV production.

If you don't believe it, ask Ford, where they're idling manufacturing plants because they can't sell the things; ask GM, which is closing four SUV plants; ask Hummer which is on life support, sending its long-time foes into giddy prognostication of the future of the auto industry (hint: it's not hybrid SUVs, either).

So, then. What would you say to a company that said it was going to outsource everything but trucks, SUVs and other vehicles whose sales seem tied to the fate of oil prices?

Hold it, don't tell us -- tell Chrysler, which is looking into just this sort of decision, according to the Wall Street Journal. Regarding Chrysler's potential deal with Nissan:

A deal would signal a dramatic change in the way Chrysler operates, at least in its passenger-car business. For decades, major auto makers have taken pride in marketing their vehicles as products of their own engineering. Chrysler plans to continue developing new trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans itself, from the ground up.

A partnership with Nissan on midsize sedans would put Chrysler on a path to becoming a marketer and seller of cars made by others. Under its earlier agreement with Nissan, which is based in Japan, Chrysler will start selling a subcompact car made by Nissan by about 2011. Chrysler also has a deal under which China's Chery Automobile Co. will make small cars for it.

Is it crazy to hold onto just that one card, or are they brilliant for swimming upstream on this one? By the way, oil prices stopped falling...