Discussion in 'Mopar / FCA News' started by 77 Monaco Brougham, Sep 14, 2020.
Alfa has such a big potential but it needs patient and a lot of new models.
YES! But...You forgot the most important ingredient in the formula:
Right now all any of us have are opinions because no one, not even the powers that be know exactly where this is headed. Second Alfa Romeo in this country will always be just a niche brand. They are playing in a market here that the Germans and Lexus dominate. Their initial launch issues didn't help their cause either, and put them even further back.
Major part of PSA success in Europe is due to seperate dealerships for each brand. They are acting as competitors.
Killing it and with retreat of each brand to their domestic market would just kill the business case.
A lot is not just someone's opinion. Numbers are backing it.
When we speak about Alfa and to some extent it can be applied to a Maserati. Half arsed revival doesn't help anybody. Spending 2.5 out of promised 5 didn't help. It took so much money for just 2 models while equal amount was needed to 5 additional.
People interested in buying Alfa because of this are skipping it. They don't see commitment to new products. That hurts it more than anything else. And this is more important for premium and luxury brands than to generalist ones.
And the question is, how much money will it take?
Actually, “Mercedes” was the brand-name for Gottlieb Daimler’s original car business, and the British business was originally a franchise that became independent
By 1900, a distributor for, and early investor in, the Daimler-Maybach company was the German diplomat and businessman, Emil Jellinek. Jellinek would race the cars at the annual meetings for motor-car owners in the French Riviera, but as motor-racing was still not a “done” thing for a respectable gentleman (and also to save face if you lost badly), many teams were entered under pseudonyms, and Jellinek named his team after his daughter Mercédès.
Jellinek’s success at these race meetings led to him advertising the Daimler-Maybach cars he sold as “the Mercedes car”, and eventually he commissioned D-M to produce a model of that name to his specifications. It was so successful that Daimler-Maybach eventually used the name as its automotive brand. In 1924 when the Daimler-Maybach business merged with their local competitor, Benz, the combined company was called Daimler-Benz, but their main automotive brand was called Mercedes-Benz, as it still is (despite the parent not reinstating Benz’s name into the company name after splitting with Chrysler)
The British Daimler Cars operation was started as an independent manufacturer with sole rights in the British Empire to use the Daimler patents and the Daimler name in the late 1890s. As this was before the success of Jellinek’s “Mercedes” cars, it advertised its products as “Daimler” cars, and stuck with that name even after the parent had adopted Mercedes as its brand, not least because the name arrangement had been a personal one with Gottlieb Daimler, who died in 1900. The Daimler company held the prestigious contract to supply the British Royal family with cars from 1902 until Rolls Royce muscled them out of the position in the 1950s. Up to this time, a Rolls-Royce was seen as distinctly “new money”, as opposed to the more aristocratic Daimler.
The decline of Daimler is the decline of the post-War British car industry: sold to Jaguar by struggling owner BSA (of motorbikes fame) in the 1960s, it ended up with Jaguar in the doomed British Leyland conglomerate. Ford, then Tata Motors bought the brand, but JLR’s hopes of re-introducing the brand for a luxury car range were stopped when it was discovered that the US trademark rights to the name had lapsed in the 1990s and now could not be renewed owing to the existence of Daimler AG.
I can’t comment on people’s love for the brand in general but for Chrysler, you can only sell what you offer, and I suspect Chrysler would sell a lot more if it gave people more ways to become a Chrysler driver. A re-launch as an electric brand would certainly differentiate it from Dodge and give it space to expand, but low gas prices and a continuing squeeze in middle-to-lower income spending power make EVs a hard sell in the USA.
Alfa and Maserati are upmarket brands based on their product offerings, not their country of origin; these are upmarket brands in their home markets too. Even the FIAT 500 is seen as a fancier option to the general run of cars in its size, but I accept that when you take a car like 500 out of the background of a European car market where it’s one of a dozen such models, and make it the only car of its size in a market where bigger is always better, it is much harder to see that. (I do think they should have considered a Chrysler re-skin of the front-wheel-drive 500X versions, though, but when it comes to Chrysler, the buck stops in Auburn Hills, and if they didn’t want it, FCA Italy wasn’t going to argue it with them.)
Maserati is staying high. The current plans indicate that there will be no Ghibli replacement, but instead a short and long wheelbase version of Quattoporte, leaving the new Grecale as Maserati’s entry model. I think this is the right thing to do. Mercedes has suffered at the very top end from its reach downmarket in the 1980s and 1990s. An S-class Mercedes used to be a pinnacle of automotive engineering and cost be damned; now it’s just the fanciest car in the local corporate cab business.
That is an agreeable position. Without common parts, platforms etc. the road ahead is going to be almost impossible to sustain. Either that or brands will be forced to disappear. That's where my comments about regions came in. I do not know the European market, maybe all their brands can coexist in each country, but it makes little sense to compete with each other. If they think they can relaunch Peugeot back here in the states, good luck. Money would be better spent to upgrade Dodge's cars and maybe a CUV for Chrysler. Or just fold Chrysler up and concentrate on Dodge Jeep and Ram here.
I’m completely fine with this. I can’t imagine a product scenario for Chrysler that will restore them to a competitive state. MAYBE electrified models, but Jeep (and Maserati on the luxury side) is again taking the lead on that.
I suppose Chrysler could be an all electric brand, but until we as a society, here in the states, better embrace electrics, that won't happen. I guess we are going to have to relive dirty air and water again before that happens.
One parts supply store still lists ProMaster as a Dodge which is odd because it never was one.
Re Chrysler, yes, it's partly a matter of the number of cars, but even when they had a full range, their equivalents to Plymouths and Dodges didn't sell at Dodge and Plymouth levels.
Kris, thanks for the clarifying history of Daimler (UK).
I don't think Alfa's problem was lack of models. I think it was that they relied on auto writers to portray Alfa as something special, and most of those writers leaned on their 1970s images of Alfa. Maybe that was as much of a surprise as comparisons of the Chrysler Aspen to the Dodge Aspen? If they brought back LeBaron, nobody would compare it with Imperials, it would be the final K-based cars.
When they first brought Fiat over, they saw it as a premium brand for the US, and they did say, repeatedly, that Americans associated Italian cars with Ferrari. Sure. Well, we associate Ferraris with Ferrari, anyway. I don't think it helps that the Giulia and Stelvio weren't particularly different in styling other than the Alfa front treatment which isn't especially attractive to anyone NOT conditioned to think Alfa = beauty. I was impressed by the cars but would I risk buying one? I didn't even get a Fiata and that's made by Mazda (aside from the powertrain and electronics).
AFAIK Alfa hasn't been a roaring success anywhere.
Re Maserati, I was kinda surprised they didn't do a crossover in addition to the Quattroporte right up front. VW showed the way with the Phaeton and Touareg. You'll notice which one they still make. They were exactly the same cars in sedan and wagon form, except the wagon was slightly higher up. Wouldn't have cost that much to do QP that way, vs doing the Ghibli as well.
I was in another town the last 2 days and saw no less than 5 giuilas. Also starting to see more stelvios too, must be having a sale ???
Here's an interesting article regarding U.S. Alfa sales. My son's doctor bought a Stevio.
Alfa Romeo Sales Figures – US Market (at https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/alfa-romeo-us-sales-figures/ )
Due to the FCA/PSA merger, DS is redundant and its days are numbered, IMO.
ALLPAR IS FOREVER!
I share your opinion. Actually I've said that long ago.
I don't think it's a matter of reliving, we just have to wake up to reality. We are 50 years beyond the first Earth Day, and it has been nearly a half century since the 1973 oil embargo. We, as a nation, still do not have a comprehensive energy and environmental plan or policy. There have been different presidential administrations and congresses from across the political spectrum, but we still lack a plan for serious energy and resource conservation. The only solution seems to be endless war in the Middle-East. We subsidize leap frog development and have basically outlawed the traditional neighborhood with the federalization of zoning regulations. We spend tax dollars on on inefficient infrastructure, while demonizing the automobile. Despite that, it is mandatory driving in much of America.
The fact that this pandemic forced people to conserve energy and there has a noticeable effect on the environment, should have been a teachable moment. Today we are too divided as a nation to find any practical solutions.
Moderators, delete this post for being to political.
The decision going forward on Chrysler is this, keep watering down Jeep, or give the Chrysler brand some products which compete in the popular market segments. The Peugeot/Citroen/Opel vans and MPVs are based on the EMP2 platform. Use that platform for a PT Cruiser replacement that is palatable to Americans.
Should Dodge have a product in a smaller size segment. Imagine a replacement for the Caliber on the SUSW platform with the 2.0T GME.
As far as the DS, that brand does well in China. All the brands should continue because most regions have their own production facilities. One size fits all does not work.
I see no good reason to sell all brands, all over the world. Play to your strengths and sell where your markets are strongest. For eg: Alfa will never do well in North America as long as our love affair with trucks and suv's lasts, mostly because they have the wrong product for here.
Start with the 124, make it the Alfetta Spyder, then (guilletta?) and guilia/stelvio and finally a larger suv, thats all, because of American lifestyles and size, you'll never sell more than about 150,000 units a year here, max.
Take Fiat out of N/A, unless you re-introduce it as a plymouth-type brand with the non 500 models, Chrysler, Lancia, and DS (or Peugeot ) become the Hybrid/Electric premium (mainstream) brands with all new styles and powertrains shared across the line but with each model tailored to its target clientele. Dodge and Alfa are sister (sporting) brands, and Maserati becomes the Mothership Brand, like Imperial and Cadillac USED to be. All good comes from Maserati and trickles downward to the others. Similar to the old GM and Chrysler where divisions were somewhat independent from each other but shared basic parts and technologies specific to brand aspirations.
DS could have built up its reputation over the last decade, but to do that (as a new brand) requires decades of heavy investment and sellable product*, something that PSA hasn't quite done up to this point (not helped by the fact it has only been a seperate brand for 5 years) and is reflected in the fact they now only have 3 models within its range.
Now while I do understand why PSA established DS Automobiles (since it lacked a premium brand of its own**) in the first place; now that it has merged with FCA however (which as better potental options in terms of Premium brands such as Alfa Romeo) and now has too many brands to deal with, I don't see the point in keeping the brand going in what is a highly competitive sector of the market.
*As shown by both Lexus & Audi. Both of which where introduced in what was then a less competitive premium car sector.
**Although they would have been better off buying Jaguar Land Rover instead.
In my humble opinion; Lancia's fate was decided the day Fiat bought Alfa Romeo (which was a similar brand to the former), the only surprising thing being that the death of Lancia has been a slow & painful one. So I would agree that both Lancia & DS need to be discontinued in favour of a bigger focus on Alfa Romeo & Chrysler. Otherwise we might end up in a siutation where all 4 brands meet their demise...
Peugeot is a mainstream brand and should become Stellantis's sole mainstream brand (to help enable it become a serious competitor to Volkswagen), which means discontinuing Citroën, Vauxhall & Opel as a result of this.
That might have been due to the fact that a lot of Buick Models (until recently) where basically rebranded Opels. Likewise I can assure you that Vauxhall suffers from the same reputation as well.
If Stellantis where to reintroduce "Imperial" as an actual brand (1); they would not only have to spend serious amonts of cash developing cars (2) that are better than their BMW, Mercedes, Audi & Lexus conterparts, but they would also need to spend serious amounts of cash on quality control, marketing (3) and on dealership networks. As well be willing to accept years of losses until it finally pays off.
Likewise to make the project sucessfull; it would have to involve turning the Jeep Wagoneer project into a Imperial Full-Size SUV, scrapping the Maserati Quattroporte, Ghibli & Levante altogether (4), require that Jeep remains a Mid-Level Brand (5), require that Alfa Romeo goes from being a seperate marque to being the "performance" arm of Imperial and of course require both DS & Lancia to get killed off.
Now I am not saying that (re)establishing the "Imperial" brand would be a bad idea (in fact I quite like it), its just that to make it work would require Stellantis to make a lot of difficult decisions that require time for said decisions to pay off.
(1) And actually making it work this time.
(2) More specifically a Full-Size Sedan, Compact SUV, Mid-Size SUV & Full-Size SUV.
(3) Changing Juventus's sponsor from Jeep to Imperial would help on this regard, as would getting some of their star players involved in Imperial's marketing campaigns.
(4) Since they would directly compete with Imperial's own models.
(5) Which would doom Chrysler as a result.
A 3-Way Premium Brand stratagy would never work against the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes & Lexus. Especially when brand image is a big factor in this sector of the Automobile Industry. So like it or not Stellantis will have to pick one name to be its "Premium" Brand, be it Jeep* or your interesting proposal to revive the Imperial Brand.
*With Alfa Romeo surviving as a niche performance brand.
From a British perspective, there would have been no point introducing the Pacifica in Britain (good as it is) considering that MPV/Minivan sales in Europe have fallen dramatically in the last 15 years or so. Which kind of doomed Chrysler in Britain considering that the Voyager/Grand Voyager was the bread & butter for that operation, hence why the only way Chrysler's UK operation could have been saved is by selling SUV's by Chrysler.
Which again goes to show that FCA's failure to introduce any Chrysler SUV models has directly led to Chrysler's sorry state.
From my personal perspective, the only way Chrysler could survive is if they become a proper Mid-Level brand (with a Full-Sized Sedan based on a Alfa-Romeo Platform & SUV's based on Jeep Models) while Jeep moves upmarket as Stellantis apparantly want them to.
From my perspective; Volkswagen made a huge mistake in not persuing a takeover of FCA (as was rumored a few years back). Mainly because buying FCA would not only have given Volkwagen a much stronger presence in North America (which is their weakest market) in the form of Jeep & Ram, but would have also given them Alfa Romeo as well.