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Can Alfa Romeo be saved?

Discussion in 'Mopar News' started by Beentherebefore, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. aldo90731

    Level III Supporter

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    ^^^ this!

    There’s already a blueprint to a successful brand relaunch: Audi - VAG took a long-term view, devised a plan and stuck with it.

    Marchionne did not have a strategy: there is no vision, no commitment, no perseverance. It is simply betting on horses.
     
    #141 aldo90731, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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  2. Beentherebefore

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    You are right on about Audi. Their reputation was toxic back in the mid 80s after unintended acceleration problems. It took them more than 15 years to recover. Perseverance often pays off.
     
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  3. Deckard_Cain

    Deckard_Cain Active Member

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    After the merger, and with Tavares at the helm I believe that we will finally start seeing a real strategy and commitment to said strategy.
    I believe that Alfa will benefit from his leadership tremendously. Just look at DS. If it was Marchionne, he would've given up after the first models. Tavares launched the DS7 and if you check European sales numbers you will see that it sells roughly the double of the Stelvio and its rise in sales is comparable to the Audi Q5 lost sales.

    Also they will have more available cash.
     
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  4. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Marchionne gets dinged a lot because people don’t believe he had a strategy for the FCA brands. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair to him. No, I don’t think all the brands thrived under him, only a select number did. But I don’t think that was his goal, nor was it his strength.

    I think his role in this was to keep the ship from capsizing and sinking...as it was already listing severely. He was able to maximize profits from certain brands, renovate and modernize a bunch of production facilities, pay down the debt, and get the corporation ready for a merger. If people were expecting him to turn around brands, I think they’d be expecting something he wasn’t trying to do or wasn’t capable of...that was always going to be the job of whoever came after him IMO.

    CEO’s have strengths, and are often hired because of specific corporate needs that are best suited to those particular strengths. Some have grand vision for growing the company. Some are financial specialists brought in to get the books in order. Some are slash and burn specialists brought in to reduce head count and trim expenses in a strong effort to avoid or get through bankruptcy. Etc, etc, etc.

    In my time at my current employer, a massive healthcare system, I’ve seen upper management leaders of all flavors and varieties be brought in under certain circumstances and then be shown the door when they no longer fit the bill (either voluntarily or not). Each served their purpose and then we all moved on. Managers are hire and fire, as we say...just some get golden parachutes while others get an empty sack to pack out their desk.

    I think SM did what he was brought in to do. Was he perfect? No. Did he make mistakes? Sure. In the end, it doesn’t matter because it’s water under the bridge. There will be a new CEO, and from what I’ve read so far Mr Tavares could be just what we were hoping for. For now, I’m very optimistic. Maybe it’s just the “new” excitement you feel before a first date....time will tell. :)
     
  5. aldo90731

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    A good CEO is also well aware of his own limitations, surrounds himself with people who can bring to the table the skills he doesn’t have, provides a vision and delegates.

    But that’s not what he did. He made 25 managers report directly to him, and made them do exactly what he wanted them to do. Sorry, but that would fail a Management 101 class. And when things didn’t work out, he threw them under the bus. That’s not what a true leader does.

    Yes, he kept Fiat and Chrysler from floundering, and he got them ready for the sale. We should thank him for that. But let’s not attribute him qualities he did not posses.
     
    #145 aldo90731, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  6. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    Nah, I never said he was a “good” CEO. I just said he did what he was brought in to do. That was his style, for good, bad, or indifferent.

    They had to know what they were getting when they hired him. They knew his personality, his strengths & weaknesses...assuming they did their homework. So then how could they be upset with him being himself? It’s like buying an ox to pull your cart, and then getting mad at the ox because it can’t run like a horse. You bought an ox...if you wanted a horse, you should’ve bought one instead.
     
    #146 Zagnut27, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  7. aldo90731

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    Even if we were to give him the benefit of the doubt, at the very least he created a culture of permissiveness that resulted in corruption at various levels of the organization, and in questionable product decisions.

    We are starting to see posts on the JL Wrangler forums of steering problems that should give us palpitations. They involve owners of 2+ year-old JLs losing steering assist in the middle of a turn. The issue appears to be related to the ESS cutting power unexpectedly, killing all electric assist to the steering. Thankfully there haven’t been any casualties reported yet, but it is only a matter of time.

    How come a modern steering system has no fail-safe? Is this sloppy engineering? Cost cutting? Who knows at this point, but it sure sounds like a ticking bomb.
     
    #147 aldo90731, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  8. gforce2002

    gforce2002 Well-Known Member

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    That issue reminds of me the oil consumption problem in the 2.4L where the engine can suddenly shut off without warning if it detects a low oil situation. I've read a number of times where this has happened to people in the middle of highway traffic, and it happened to me when turning a corner from a stop onto another street. Thankfully in my case there was no traffic. But, someone is going to get injured or killed eventually.
     
  9. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Why would the ESS cut power to the steering? My Dart has power steering even AFTER I take the key out of the ignition.

    Let's go to basics. Sergio was in office too long, first of all. He is a quick-turnaround artist and he rescued Fiat and then Chrysler. But he stayed on past his prime. So did Lee Iacocca and Lynn Townsend, for that matter. (The problem with Walter Chrysler and Walter Flanders was leaving too quickly.)

    SM strengths: decisiveness (like Lee), willingness to make unpopular decisions, ability to schmooze the media and investors, openness about plans, and ability to change his mind on new data.

    SM problems: didn't seem to care about quality, apparent willingness to bribe, unwillingness to push power down to appropriate levels, changing too often, making unreasonable schedules (which caused the safety and quality issues mentioned above; I doubt he personally said "kill the ignition when oil drops"), unwillingness to bring back veterans / desire to have underpaid newbies doing everything.

    Most of his foibles, other than allegedly being involved with bribery and not making quality any sort of a priority, were based on his constant changes. He could not hold to a decision if it appeared in any way to be flawed. You can even see that with the LX and Wagoneer. This was part of his snap decision-making, which was also a problem, since I think he often made these decisions based only on impressions, not data. Lido would listen, then decide, though often Lido made crazy decisions based on his preconceived notions; both were right more often than wrong, it seems. But the crazy timetable thing hurt.

    Oddly, his desire for speed often caused massive delays when projects had to be redone or restarted...

    This is why I felt FCA could really use a _manager_ in charge for a while, rather than a transformational leader... but I'll take Tavares, thank you...
     
    #149 Dave Z, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  10. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    I think you’re missing my point. I’m not defending him, just stating that he had his priorities...which I think matched well with what the owners were looking for at the time, and he went about achieving those priorities in his own ways...for good, bad, or indifferent. But other areas lagged...like quality & customer service...and then the corruption issues as well either weren’t noticed or got a free pass. Some things just didn’t seem to be a priority to him.

    This goes along with what I said about CEO’s having strengths & weaknesses. SM was a financial guy who got them ultimately ready for a merger, at the expense of some other areas that probably should’ve been addressed too.
     
  11. aldo90731

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    I couldn’t tell you, Dave. It hasn’t happened to me yet, thankfully. I haven’t tried steering my JL when the ESS is on, but I know it kills other assists, like HVAC.

    I’ve now seen at least three separate posts of owners losing steering assist pop up on the JL Wrangler forums in the past week. I sure hope FCA gets all over this before it grows legs. But judging by how slow it’s been to fix JL’s ongoing vague steering issue, I am not holding my breath.
     
  12. AlfaCuda

    AlfaCuda Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
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  13. turbonetic

    turbonetic Member

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    Marchionne was the right man for the job at the time. It was obvious the new improved and combined "FCA" needed a different vision and road map after they'd been saved and given a new lease on life. Those two tasks require different CEO's IMO. Serg was a car co repairman and FCA didn't need that after they'd paid back the loans. He could have retired in 2014 and I bet everything would be peachy.
     
  14. aldo90731

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    Apparently Rams have a similar issue by which electric steering assist is lost in mid driving. A recall exists for 182,000 pickups: Fiat Chrysler recalls 182K Ram pickups over power steering problem

    “Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 182,000 pickup trucks worldwide to fix an electrical problem that can knock out the power steering.

    The recall covers Ram 1500 pickups from the 2019 model year. Most are in the U.S. and Canada.”
    Hopefully a similar recall is in store for JLs.
     
  15. aldo90731

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    Excellent summary.

    Yeah, executives tend to stick around well past their shelf life. Mr. Ghosn included.
     
  16. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Thanks.

    The very best ones get bored and move on... I think WPC’s longest-held job was Chrysler pres. and he didn't hold it all that long; moved on to play with trains. Oh, and he was never paid to leave! (But in those days, who was?)

    The Ram issue is so totally unrelated it's not funny - they lose their power steering when the battery connection comes loose. No stall needed! The Dart's power steering is not related to the ignition as far as I can tell, at least with the man trans. It's an odd design, when you think about it.

    ESS cars should certainly have power steering unrelated to ignition... since it's electric on just about everything (not sure about cars like the Hellcat).
     
  17. aldo90731

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    For clarification, JL owners report losing steering assist in mid turn, not on stall. The reason ESS has been brought up is because some of the explanations out there is that the ESS system is causing the malfunction.

    I agree, something so trivial like a loose battery wire shouldn’t result in a potential catastrophic failure like loss of steering.
     
  18. Tin Man 2

    Tin Man 2 Active Member

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    This whole move to advanced electronics in new cars is the root of most problems. God help us when these vehicles get a few years on them.
     
  19. CherokeeVision

    CherokeeVision Well-Known Member

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    What was bad is that it was driver error not anything wrong with the vehicle.

    "There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code..."
     
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  20. aldo90731

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    Yes, the relaunch of Audi is a textbook case.

    Every step was pre-planned and deliberate:
    1. From the first A6 to hit the streets in the early 1990s, the styling turned heads but was understated at the same time.
    2. Audi's new model naming was even simple, intuitive and effective.
    3. Audi followed by A4 and A8, carefully maintaining close family resemblance and building the brand lineup
    4. In the late 1990s, the all-new TT interior was the first to use real stainless steel accents*
    5. Soon thereafter Audi launched R10 as "halo" vehicle; R10 captured global headlines as the first diesel to win LeMans
    6. During the 2009-10 Great Recession, Audi was the only automaker to increase its marketing budget as the entire industry retrenched. This allowed Audi to multiply the impact of its dollars well beyond the money spent. At my prior employer we tracked how Audi's brand opinion and share of demand grew during those years.
    Alfa Romeo's relaunch "strategy" pales by comparison.

    ______________________
    *VAG set up an in-house design studio that explored the use of different materials, colors, shapes and forms. Similar to the Art and Color Center that made GM a leader in design under Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell.
     
    #160 aldo90731, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020

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