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Detroit News Columnist Daniel Howes and Michigan Radio are partners in weekly essays examining what's hot in Michigan business and politics – and what it all means. This week, Howes says the automaker known in its hometown as Chrysler is in play for the fifth time in roughly 20 years. Why? Because it still doesn’t have the scale or financial wherewithal to invest in the traditional car and truck business and make big bets in mobility and autonomy. Chinese interest in such things as its Jeep brand, and internal debates about spin offs of Maserati and Alfa Romeo, suggest the status quo will change, inevitably.

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