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1. All of this guesswork by "analysts", journalists and armchair managers without access to actual market data and industry/company specific cost and revenue data coupled with sound excellization is hot air.

2. You can make a guess on whether you need two bags or one bag for your groceries after taking a glimpse of it rolling down the conveyor towards the cashier. But using the same method to argue whether a business "needs" a number of brands is just silly.

3. A brand is an opportunity to make extra margins / win extra sales by making the product appealing and emotionally desirable. A brand is not a cost position, it is an asset. Sergio VERY SLOWLY starts to understand that IMHO.

4. If anything is a problem and a potential risk in the current marketplace, it is the rampant overstretching of brands. As the market polarizes between "cheap appliances for getting around" and "luxury lifestyle status-enhancing items", trying to cover both becomes more and more impossible. Almost all of mainstream brands, from Ford to Toyota, try to do both in some measure in different markets, and as markets converge and products and brand image become global, their lineups and brand image become a mess with less and less distinguishing features.

4.1 In particular, the lifestyle segment, where most of the extra money is, will gravitate toward brands with some personality and a permeable, strong image, like MINI or Range Rover. The likes of Ford and Toyota are fighting a losing battle for the upper segments of their traditional market with the premium/lifestyle brands. Ford's Vignale attempt is a feeble admission of that.

4.2 This is why if anything can be said when looking at the groceries moving on the conveyor belt, it is that automakers may need more brands, and brands will need to return to being smaller and more focused. The key to success in the future's marketplace may be a portfolio of a few strong brands that appeal to a possibly affluent spectrum of buyers, not one brand that tries to appeal to broad spectrum of buyers.

4.3 And one of the best ways of making a strong, focused brand is taking one that has a lot of heritage to build upon. This is why Fiatsler is actually in such a good position, they collected a large portfolio of such brands.

4.4 That said, Marchionne's idea for the Fiat brand does not seem all too well tough-out for me. They will try to be cheap and premium at the same time, which is something that doesn't usually work.

4.4.1. Either Fiat is the ideal brand for Brazil - specializing in smallish, inexpensive yet sturdy and cheap to own/maintain thanks to proven technology cars - a sort of a Dacia with actual styling and one that you do not have to be ashamed about. And this is also what works in developed markets like Europe, as the Dacia evidence proves.

4.4.2. Or Fiat becomes the modern-day Lancia - premium small cars built upon humble underpinnings, but with styling, interior appointments and a story to enhance them into something so much better and quite desirable. But while Lancia had decades of heritage to hark back to and make their message convincing, Fiat still only has the 500 - it is a lot of arm-twisting to create a premium story out of it.

4.4.3. On top of all that are the commercial vehicles, as pointed out. They make Fiat something of a Ford or Toyota - a brand watered down to a point where it is meaningless.

4.4.4. And when you look at sales results, replacing Lancia with Fiat doesn't really change much - the Fiat 500L seems like a runaway success in Europe, until you compare the sales numbers and see that in reality it just replaced the once-successful (but with much less fanfare) Lancia Musa in Italy and France, where the vast majority of sales of both models are. Both the 500 and the 500L could have been Lancias all along and would have probably sold just as well.
 

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It's supposed to be Chrysler.

Spending money to turn ChryCo's Buick in to a volume brand while while also spending money to then reduce their already volume brand into a niche one, on top of creating RAM (which doesn't make sense unless they plan to make RAM a full Class 1 to Class 7 or 8 commercial line), in turn crippling Dodge, and cutting the Caravan/Grand Caravan (one of the best-selling minivans on the market, if not the most) sort of shows to me that Fiat doesn't exactly get it.
Chrysler at one time was the luxury (or upscale) brand under ChryCo. It's currently a small hodge-podge of vehicles. Some study I read a while ago came to the conclusion that many people don't know what the Chrysler brand stands for. That's why Sergio decided to make it the mainstream brand since Dodge has been going the sporty route for some time. Will it work? Sergio has a long row to hoe on that one.

By the way, the most recent news on the Dodge Grand Caravan, in its current form, is that it will be built concurrently with the all-new Chrysler Town & Country, for two years. I bet they want to test the waters to see if the Dodge will continue to sell as well as it previously did.

I give Sergio credit for trying. Look how far Chrysler has come since 2009; 50 months of consecutive sales increases is not something to be dismissed. If the new 200 is an indication of what's to come, then I think Chrysler can continue to increase market share.
 

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Something makes absolutely zero sense about Sergio's numbers.

If Dodge sold 700,000 units in 2013, how exactly is it supposed to sell 800,000 by 2018 by cutting a bunch of models and turning the brand niche?.
You misread it. Dodge goes from 800K in 2013 to 700K in 2018.
 

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Chrysler at one time was the luxury (or upscale) brand under ChryCo. It's currently a small hodge-podge of vehicles. Some study I read a while ago came to the conclusion that many people don't know what the Chrysler brand stands for. That's why Sergio decided to make it the mainstream brand since Dodge has been going the sporty route for some time. Will it work? Sergio has a long row to hoe on that one.

By the way, the most recent news on the Dodge Grand Caravan, in its current form, is that it will be built concurrently with the all-new Chrysler Town & Country, for two years. I bet they want to test the waters to see if the Dodge will continue to sell as well as it previously did.

I give Sergio credit for trying. Look how far Chrysler has come since 2009; 50 months of consecutive sales increases is not something to be dismissed. If the new 200 is an indication of what's to come, then I think Chrysler can continue to increase market share.
Chrysler was NEVER a Luxury brand (Cadilllac, BMW, MB) of ChryCo. It was just the Entry Luxury brand ( Mercury, Buick, Acura). It was Imperial that was Chryslers Luxury Arm of Chrysler for Chrysler corp.
 

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Go back further in time before Imperial even existed as a separate brand.

Or said another way, look at all relevant brands from their inception forward 'till Imperial is formulated.
 

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Go back further in time before Imperial even existed as a separate brand.

Or said another way, look at all relevant brands from their inception forward 'till Imperial is formulated.
Do you mean Chalmers Motor Car?
 

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I'm an Oldsmobile guy but have to admit it wasn't the greatest brand name. Olds Motor Works or REO sounded better. But when the products are really good the name doesn't matter that much. Heck, people drive KIA's. Before they were cars KIA meant Killed In Action. Next we'll be motoring in POWs and MIAs. People have no problem driving Japanese brands with ridiulous made up names like LEXUS, INFINITY, ACURA.... And now LEXUS tags their cars with their made up 'F' brand copycatting BMW's M and all that.... it's all kind of silly.
In the 70's and 80's the name Oldsmobile struck fear into the hearts of Ford and Chrysler. Here was a mid priced nameplate which was nevertheless registering literally the best selling car year over year.

It just really raises my blood pressure to see people knocking Olds as a 'joke' when it was the best GM had to offer - and lasted 100 years btw.

Why weren't "the jokes writing themselves" in 1950 when the Rocket V8 was tearing the industry a new one?

Or in '67 when Car and Driver wrote about the 442...

"We think the Olds 442 is the best car made in Detroit since they started building cars there."

Or in the seventies when Olds outsold the perennial best selling big Chevrolet?

And what did Olds do when there actually was a youth market? Cash in!



I mean cue the 'ironic' listicle with "Top 10 "toootally laaaaame 80's cars"

It's this kind of arrogance and ignorance combined to form a cliched and hackneyed 'conclusion' that gosh, we're sooo smart n 2014 and people were so clueless in the '70's making Olds the best selling car. People were dumb then. That's why Olds was raking in the $ right? Because everyone being dumb and 'totallly laaame' in the 50's, 60's 70's and 80s, but' we're so smart in 2014 with our fake 'off road' mommymobiles.

 

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KingElvis is correct.

The only thing that killed Oldsmobile and Pontiac was GM's mismanagement of the brands.

I've said this multiple times on this board but if Oldsmobile were still RWD and sold the Cutlass it would still exist.
 

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Chrysler was NEVER a Luxury brand (Cadilllac, BMW, MB) of ChryCo. It was just the Entry Luxury brand ( Mercury, Buick, Acura). It was Imperial that was Chryslers Luxury Arm of Chrysler for Chrysler corp.
Somewhat true. Imperial was a model under the Chrysler brand through 1954. It then became its own marque beginning 1955 and ended as a separate marque in MY 1970, reverting back again in 1971 as a model under Chrysler. In any case, too many people regarded the car as a Chrysler Imperial...which is why I stated the above.
 

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Ford has 2 brands remaining.
GM has 10 brands remaining.
VW has 8 brands, 9 if you count Ducati.
Toyota has 5 brands, 8 if you count Daihatsu, Subaru, and Isuzu.

Marchionne may have a need. I don't know. I haven't really looked at Fiat-Chrysler to make an educated guess.
Ford has 6 brands technically: Ford, Lincoln, Troller, JMC, Landwind, Taiyuan. A 7th will be added later this year.
GM has 11. Im guessing you forgot Jiefang?
VW has 13 (not including Ducatti) when you account for Truck and Bus brands. A 14th will be added soon.
 

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How exactly would Oldsmobile fit into the picture in the context of GM's current lineup? If you're feeling crazy, go for Pontiac, too.

My answer: they wouldn't. Chevrolet would overshadow them all like it already does, and anything those brands represented would just be able to be folded into Chevrolet.
 

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KingElvis is correct.

The only thing that killed Oldsmobile and Pontiac was GM's mismanagement of the brands.

I've said this multiple times on this board but if Oldsmobile were still RWD and sold the Cutlass it would still exist.
I agree with you and King Elvis. I was watching a program a few weeks ago with industry experts. They said point blank GM lost market share and it lost buyers. They said killing those brands did not help GM's bottom line it hurt them. They said too many people assume that once a brand was killed those people would go to another GM brand. The thing is, they do not and they didn't. I own two Oldsmobiles. The only car maker out there offering something similar right now is Kia and Hyundai. Hyundai and Kia were smart. They went after that segment GM and Ford walked away from. That is that entry level luxury segment of valued packed cars. A lot of those buyers left GM because GM like Ford walked away from that near luxury/entry luxury segment where Oldsmobile was. They walked away from the performance with Pontiac. Right now Dodge is doing what Pontiac used to do and should be doing. What GM failed to see is dumping all your models at Chevrolet and some at Buick did not fix the problem. It made it more apparent. Why on earth would I step down and buy Chevrolets? I do not care how many features/options you put on them. It is and it will always be a "Chevrolet". People want something different. People want a brand they can identify with. GM like Ford does not understand: marketing, brand differences, the market place. VW and all these other companies are adding brands , but some how have made those brands different even though they share parts.

All GM had to do was mange its brands and understand the market and keep the product relevant to today's buyers. They did not. GM messed up and needs to own it and fix the problem.

In today's market because everything is almost like everything else and global styling and brand differences is what will make cars stand out. How many companies are going to keep trying to out Camry the Camry?

I hope while GM is fixing everything else they are fixing in the company, they can fix their brand issues and gaps in their product line up.
 

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This is all going to be exciting to watch. Alfa and Jeep are probably two of the most loved brands. Dodge as an affordable performance brand (which is what Lutz wanted to turn Pontiac into) should excite everyone here. Fast forward to 2018 and if these 3 brands live up to expectations FCA will be THE PLACE to shop for a car.

I don't know, but I assume splitting off Ram from Dodge had something to do with fuel economy requirements. Fleet average is still based, in part, on the footprint of the vehicles you sell. There's got to be something in that calculation that drove that decision.
 
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I think GM NEEDING to feed 2 complete and un related supply channels Chev/Olds/Caddy AND Pontiac/Buick/GMC and the dealers NEEDING "bread and butter" product lead GM to make "clone cars" and THAT choice lead to the KILLING of brands where as the FCA line up is being "aligned" to PREVENT clone cars and even in house segment competitors and MOSTLY delivered through ONE supply channel reducing the NEED for full line appliances and allowing marketing/branding into "niches"
 

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How exactly would Oldsmobile fit into the picture in the context of GM's current lineup? If you're feeling crazy, go for Pontiac, too.

My answer: they wouldn't. Chevrolet would overshadow them all like it already does, and anything those brands represented would just be able to be folded into Chevrolet.
If you're going to do Oldmobile you SHOULD do Pontiac too. Here's why: Oldsmobile's success from the 40's onward was attributed to performance. The first muscle car was the 1949 Olds 88 and the Rocket division rocked it that way for decades... until the arrival of what most folks now call the first muscle car in the Pontiac GTO in 1964. After the muscle car mayhem started to die down GM decided Pontiac would continue with it's sporty image and olds became fairly bland and eventually destroyed. Pontiac followed the same path eventually by peddling Vibes and other garbage...

So where would they fit now? Either would slot above Chevy as the sporty division. The equal of Dodge. Chevy can go back to value and mainstream. Buick has the performance credentials of an Elevator - not to mention buyers lined up at life's check out counter. However, Olds is probably too far removed to returned and Pontiac probably isn't needed if GM would just make legit SS models of Chevy's lineup. Buick is only here becasue of China and outside of that place it's not really needed in the North America except to convince the Chinese it's legit...
 

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You know what, I know this board is about second guessing captains of industry, but how did Oldsmobile place consistently in the top five or six nameplates for decade upon decade? They were still riding pretty high - even having their best selling years in the 80's and doing pretty well right into the 90's.

And geez, how did Olds punch so far above its weight in the youth obsessed sixties? Their 442 supercar outsold Ford's GT/A.



Now that it has had some time to sink in, we're seeing that GM has lost market share because of losing the Olds and Pontiac sales channel.

And the other thing about the "industry experts": According to everything the so called analysts say, VW should be falling apart. They are literally doing the opposite of what the trend hopping management consultants all say to do. And succeeding.
Old's 442 wasn't a "supercar".....it was the 2nd lowest selling "musclecar" at GM, ahead of Buick's GS.

Ford's equivalent was the Torino GT and later the Torino Cobra.

Finally, as far as GM losing marketshare by dumping Oldsmobile and Pontiac, who gives a flying weasel.....GM was hemorrhaging money. Market share is pointless when you're in bankruptcy court. GM wound up in better financial shape killing Oldsmobile, and even better throwing off Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer, and freeing up resources to put into making better cars and frequent updates to keep them competitive.

Most fans of the brands either don't know or refuse to realize that in Oldsmobile and Pontiac's case, both brands were draining money.

Oldsmobile was in trouble from the 1980s onward. Sales were horrible, and Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura put what amounted to a deathblow on Oldsmobile. GM attempted to reenergize the brand with a modern logo, new designs, and even new engines based on Cadillac's Northstar. In the end, the only vehicles that sold at any real volume was the Trailblazer based small SUV. The Oldsmobile everyone remembered died in the 80s, though it's soul went out a decade before.

Pontiac wasn't much better. The last time Pontiac was a performance division was in 1989 when every Pontiac model had a version that had a supercharger or turbocharger strapped to it. That included the Sunbird and the Anniversary Trans Am that had what was essentially a larger bore, worked over version of Buick's turbo V6. After that, Pontiac went down hill. By the end of the decade, it was selling more cars to rental and fleet buyers than it was to retail buyers paying full price. And it got worse from there. Although GTO held down the fort after the Firebird was killed off, the G6 was suppose to represent Pontiac's rebirth. There were plans for turbo V6s, AWD, and all types of good stuff. Instead, you got a coupe and convertible years after the sedan was introduced, and all the promised goods never materialized. Then there was North America's Zeta and the program of a small RWD platform that was supposed to revitalize Pontiac. Both were shelved because GM simply didn't have money to fund it. Pontiac's last ray of hope was to become a Holden distributer operating out of Buick showrooms with the G6 (it was already part of the BPG division...Buick-Pontiac-GMC). But by this time, GM was already bankrupt.....and throughout the decade, Pontiac wound up selling almost 2/3s of it's cars at fleet discounts. The ONLY Pontiac that were selling at retail were the G8, Solstice, and the Torrent.....all which represented a small sliver of total sales. The only Grand Prix that sold at retail was the GXP.

In the end, Pontiac buyers still bought performance, but there were so few Pontiac buyers that weren't value hunters and women (Pontiac had the highest percentage of female buyers of any brand...foreign or domestic... sold in the US) that they didn't constitute enough to even begin to make up for the losses.

Oldsmobile was a lost cause...... GM fought a really good fight trying to save Pontiac. Anyone that believes they didn't isn't remotely considering all the efforts GM made for at least a decade. Losing a division that was losing money may have cut market share, but it plugged the losses.
 
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