Alfa Romeo 100. Where to?

September 8th, 2010 § 3

This year Alfa Romeo celebrates 100 years since the company was founded as A.L.F.A (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) on June 24, 1910.
During this time Alfa Romeo became one of the most known, celebrated, loved and admired brands in the automotive world. For most of its history Alfa Romeo was a leader, always at the forefront of technology and design, through innovative thinking and a commitment to engage its customers into enlightening and memorable experiences.
Today the famous company is at crossroads, fighting for survival… » Read the rest of this entry «

Who is the New Old BMW?

August 12th, 2010 § 7

A good question for designers, marketers and product planners.
Three to four decades ago BMW was a small, independent company making a very limited number of models, practically one design in three sizes, complemented by a very small production of coupes, substantially derived from sedans. From the business point of view it made sense and there was nothing particular there, with one exception: not just the coupes, but also the sedans were sporty, making them special in a world where sedans meant transportation and nothing more. That gave the BMW brand an edge over the competition. » Read the rest of this entry «

The state of design [2]

July 27th, 2010 § 8

From time to time I find in different places on the internet, posts or articles about design and the condition of the designer, how the designers are viewed and treated, and how that influences a business and its brand image.
But what is design? From Wikipedia:
“No generally-accepted definition of ‘design’ exists, and the term has different connotations in different fields. Informally, ‘a design’ (noun) refers to a plan for the construction of an object (as in architectural blueprints, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns) and ‘to design’ (verb) refers to making this plan“…”With such a broad denotation, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject.”
This reality, reflected in the above definition, is actually creating the issue these posts or articles are bringing up: what is the role of the designer in an organization, how designers are viewed and treated and how all this influences the company’s brand image. » Read the rest of this entry «

The Standard of the World

July 15th, 2010 § 3

Is there a “Standard of the World” in the automotive industry today?
“The Standard of the World” slogan was associated with the Cadillac brand for many years.
Cadillac was founded in 1902 by Henry M.Leland, a machinist, inventor, engineer and automotive entrepreneur with a rich experience in toolmaking, metrology and manufacturing. The new company was born from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company which supposed to be liquidated but, at the advice of Leland, who was hired to appraise the plant, was reorganized and named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit.
In 1909 General Motors purchased Cadillac, making it its prestige division, devoted to the production of large luxury vehicles. » Read the rest of this entry «

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 «

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 «

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