Renault-Nissan-Daimler alliance

May 28th, 2010 § 4

Soon after the alliance was officially confirmed, Automotive News published an article called “ Brand-image killer or sensible move? Analysts debate merits of Renault-Nissan-Daimler alliance” where several quotes were posted. Among them I found interesting two comments:

“…We keep our skeptical stance on Daimler, also with regard to a possible dilution of the brand”
MICHAEL PUNZET, DZ BANK

“Fundamentally, this is really a deal between Daimler and Renault. The number of (Nissan luxury unit) Infiniti cars that can take Daimler’s engines is extremely limited. I can’t see a clear picture of a meaningful cooperation between Nissan and Daimler. It seems Nissan has just been roped in for the money. I can appreciate the attempt by the partners to look for synergies and go into this cooperation, but when it comes down to it, you can’t help but ask, ‘Where’s the beef?’”
TAKAKI NAKANISHI, ALLIANCE BERNSTEIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT » Read the rest of this entry «

Bob Lutz, again?

May 27th, 2010 § 0

Recently Bob Lutz retired from his post as vice chairman of General Motors after a 47-year career, including executive positions at BMW, Ford and Chrysler.

Bob was a bigger-than-life personality known for his outspoken character, blunt at times, and very good talent to inspire and, often, provoke. For sure he was a very controversial figure in the automotive industry. Reading blogs, forums and various articles on the internet, the opinions can’t be more diverse.
Bob Lutz was a brand himself with a very powerful image. » Read the rest of this entry «

The state of design [1]

May 26th, 2010 § 7

Do cars look as good today as they looked in the past?

Recently, in several magazine and website articles I found comments of automotive journalists and simple car enthusiasts talking about the car design of the previous decade. They were not very excited about it and overall the opinion was that car design didn’t reach the levels of the previous decades.
Most of the last ten years represented an economic boom which, by definition, means a period when companies spend more than normal to develop and expand their products. It’s the time when innovation gets much more attention. That’s when one would expect a large number of very exciting designs to come to the market. It is interesting, if not strange then, to hear people saying that in the last decade car design was not as exciting as before. What happened? Is this true? » Read the rest of this entry «

Chrysler & Fiat

May 25th, 2010 § 4

The collaboration between Chrysler and the Italians dates back many decades. From proposals made by Ghia in the ‘50s, to Chryslers made by Maserati, and Chrysler owning Lamborghini in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Today, Chrysler is in the hands of Fiat and its future is, after the Marchionne’s five year plan was released at the end of April, still unknown.

Looking at details of the plan and reading about it in various publications one element came to my attention. Seen as an internal business plan, it makes sense. It’s all about, as Automotive News writes, an “effort to weave together the companies’ product development, purchasing and other operations for maximum efficiencies of scale”. There is perhaps nothing mentioned about the external perceptions of the two organizations. » Read the rest of this entry «

Management 3.0

May 24th, 2010 § 0

When Detroit is criticized for falling behind the competition, besides closed culture, provincialism, unions, short sight and others, two words are always mentioned: poor management.

The fact that the “Detroit 3” had a poor management is very well known and the very situation the three corporations find themselves in is an undeniable proof of that. In the last 3-4 decades poor management became practically part of their brand image.

If they had a better management, would that have helped them? My answer is yes, but it would have helped just slightly, not enough to be competitive. The problem with all three corporations is that they still have in place a management at the 1.0 level. When most of everybody else is at 2.0 that shows that they have no chance to compete even if all the other problems are fixed. » Read the rest of this entry «

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