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Where is Chrysler trying to go?

Discussion in 'Mopar / FCA News' started by Dave Z, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Cornupenuria

    Cornupenuria Well-Known Member

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    Lately, I've been wondering what would happen to sales of crew cab pickups, large SUVs, large CUVs, and minivans if something less pricey than a Bentley Silver Spur were offered as a four-door sedan with 60 inches of hip room, 60+ inches of shoulder room and chair-height seats.
     
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  2. Cornupenuria

    Cornupenuria Well-Known Member

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  3. rmtodd

    rmtodd Well-Known Member

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    I suffer from an intermittent malady, triggered by environmental factors, which is known as "car fever". According to scientists, none of the cars on Forbes' list is capable of inducing car fever, so it is possible that people possessing those vehicles are immune to the disease.
     
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  4. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    What's the point of replacing a 5 year old Camry for a new one? Get new floor mats?
     
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  5. HotCarNut

    HotCarNut Defender of Reality
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    Maybe they wanted to change colors? :rolleyes:

    Oh wait! I know why....because the dealer told them it was time to trade as part of the Toyota service interval in their owner's manual!!! :p
     
  6. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    Why can Toyota, Honda, and Nissan manage to make cars profitably in the U.S. yet FCA has to look to countries like Mexico, Turkey, Poland and Serbia to do so? And as to your claim that FCA isn't looking toward a world-car approach, the how do explain the 500, 500L, 500X, Renegade, Cherokee, Dart/Viaggio? Same vehicles, selling (or not selling) globally. Sounds like the Chrysler 100, if it ever comes to be, will essentially be a rebadged Fiat just like the Dart. And I'm betting that if Alfa ever gets off the ground, some Dodge models of the future will be rebadged Alfas.
     
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  7. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    Actually, it's the manifestation of another disease called Rip Van Winkle-itis, commonly know as a coma, that prevents them from trading their vehicle any earlier.
     
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  8. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Toyota used to kick butt developing small cars that were affordable, durable, refined and efficient.

    But Toyota can't even develop a proper Yaris now. The shortcomings of that car, which are many, especially for a Toyota, stem from the little investment it put into it. Toyota tried harder with Prius C and got marginally better results. It then had to partner up with Subaru for the FR-S/GT86, and rebadged a Mazda2 as the newest Scion sedan.

    My hunch is that part of the tepid cars Toyota is cranking out these days is related to the investment it has funneled towards the uglier-than-hell $50,000 Mirai fuel cell sedan. Personally, I can't see that being the future given that (1) the hydrogen infrastructure is nonexistent, (2) hydrogen doesn't exist in a natural state, which means some type of energy (with its resulting pollution) needs to be spent separating it, and (3) the future just can't be that ugly!
     
    #228 aldo90731, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  9. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    All Asian brands. Go figure. Honestly, with the exception of my '88 Dynasty LE which lasted 7 years and 140K+ miles as a third vehicle, I typically traded/sold my vehicles by the time they were 3, 4,or 5 years old. At 30,000-40,000 miles per year, they were pretty much used up by then, even my Lexus which gave me 97K miles of aggravation....I mean service. Not to mention the boredom factor when you've been sitting in the same driver's seat that long. Despite my annual driving decreasing, I certainly never expected to keep the two Chrysler products I have now for 11+ years, but they've held up so well it seemed silly to dump them. That said, they are getting tired, especially my '05 Grand Caravan with 225K+ miles on it. Bothe the GC and the 300M are one major repair away from being scrapped. It doesn't make financial sense to pour significant money into either of them at this point. I sincerely doubt their replacements will be around that long. It's been an interesting exercise to see if Chrysler products could actually make it this long, but I can't see myself staying with the same vehicle more than 4-5 years. I'm admittedly bored out of mind with both vehicles.
     
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  10. james.mooney.

    james.mooney. The Poster Formerly Known As "Bethlumboy"

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    The Fiats and Jeeps are indeed world vehicles, doing better in some markets than others, but the Dart and 200 are not. Dart is sold only in NAFTA and China, and 200 is sold only in NAFTA.

    And calling Alfa-based Dodges "rebadges" is quite an oversimplification, if not out-and-out incorrect, as you know. While the Viaggio is a rebadge of a Dart, the Dart is not a rebadged Giulietta. They share the same platform, barely. Using that logic, the 200 and Cherokee are rebadged Darts, and the Challenger and Charger are rebadged 300s. Rebadging and platform-sharing are not the same.
     
  11. james.mooney.

    james.mooney. The Poster Formerly Known As "Bethlumboy"

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    I guess it depends on what their goal is. Brand perception? Brand perception should only be as important as its contribution to sales and profitability. Does FCA need to sell one of the top 3, or even 5, midsize sedans if it can sell enough of them at high enough margins to be profitable and keep the factories humming?
     
  12. patfromigh

    patfromigh Well-Known Member

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    Toyota started out in North America with robust cars and trucks. The late Sixties/early Seventies Coronas had a sturdy quality to them and helped the brand earn a bulletproof reputation. The Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto arrived to sell a first new car to the peak of the population curve. The success of the Asian brands owes much to the failures of the Big Three. The K-cars caught the Asian brands off guard. The front driver was superior to their rear drivers in the snow belt. The Hondas were front drive, but not family friendly.

    Once again, Chrysler was hampered by indifferent quality. When the domesticated Asian products showed up, consumers flocked to those. The domestic brands have now caught up to the Asian brands. FCA has shot itself in the foot with the transmission problems it has. That alone has hurt the new product launches. The weight of the Dart is not that big of a handicap in the market. The EPA fuel economy numbers are competitive as is the performance.

    The last I looked, many of the Asian branded cars sold here are made in Mexico and the Third World.

    Another thing, the Dart, 200 and Cherokee were slated to become Alfa products. I remember during the CAB, when the triple headed dog was running the show, the midsize car project was simply a set of specifications. It was rumored that the next Chrysler mid-size was to be a restyled Nissan in exchange for a restyled Dodge Ram pickup for Nissan.
     
  13. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Brand perception = brand reality. Without strong brand perception there's no profitable sales. Period.

    The relationship is very solid between the two --between 0.8 and 0.9

    The automotive business is capital hyper-intensive, which means the more units you sell, the more units across which you can spread your humongous investment, increasing profitability. To satisfy itself with lower volumes, by definition, implies lower profits, because the cost of developing and manufacturing automobiles is roughly the same regardless of volume.

    Automakers can further improve their profitability by relying on strong perceptions, like Honda, Subaru --and decreasingly Toyota-- do to sell lots of units AND charge a higher price at the same time.
     
    #233 aldo90731, Jan 9, 2016
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  14. Int

    Int Active Member

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    Yes.
     
  15. ScottB

    ScottB Active Member

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    Don't know 'til they get here, do we. Based on the trend of Fiat-ization we're seeing, I'm betting the new "Dodges" will look an awful lot like their Alfa counterparts much like the Viaggio and Dart.
     
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  16. james.mooney.

    james.mooney. The Poster Formerly Known As "Bethlumboy"

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    Am I correct in assuming that you are referring to positive vs negative brand perception, and not necessarily a brand being perceived as mainstream?

    If Chrysler is not currently perceived as a mainstream brand, what is it perceived as?

    (Not trying to argue, just to understand...)
     
  17. james.mooney.

    james.mooney. The Poster Formerly Known As "Bethlumboy"

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    I'm sure there will be similarities but I doubt that they will be any greater than among any other platform-mates. But like you said, we will have to wait and see.

    Do you stand by your statement that the Dart is a rebadged Fiat, when really the Viaggio is a rebadge of a car developed by Dodge?
     
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  18. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    That's a valid question.

    Consumers can have (1) positive perceptions, (2) negative perceptions or (3) no perceptions of brands.

    Honda and Toyota have strong perceptions among a LOT of people, therefore they have a strong presence in the market --i.e. Mainstream

    Subaru has very strong perceptions among a small group of people, with a vast number of people having no perceptions --i.e., Niche

    Chrysler, today, has a combination of all three due to its history:
    1. Positive perceptions among a small group of people (many of them on here)
    2. Negative perceptions among a small group of people (mostly Baby Boomers who defected to Toyota and Honda between the 1970s and 1990s; or heard/hear Chrysler in association to news of layoffs, bailouts, bankruptcies, word-of-mouth stories of poor quality, or low quality rankings on CR)
    3. No perceptions among a growing group of people (who do not know anything about Chrysler because they do not need a T&C, a 300, or doesn't know 200 even exists)
    For Chrysler to become mainstream, its best bet is to target Group 3 because they are the most sizable and easiest to convert. Chrysler's main tool to do this is 200 because it competes in the single largest segment accounting for about 20% of the U.S. market.

    After 200, a Dart-sized, a CR-V-sized and a Durango-sized vehicles would allow Chrysler to cover another 30% of the U.S. market. Only at that point can Chrysler hope to "speak" to a sufficient portion of the market to attempt to be "mainstream".

    Chrysler 300 speaks mostly to those in Group 1, who are trusting and willing to spend that kind of money on a Chrysler-branded car. In Group 1 are the advocates who are in a position to recommend --and show off-- the Chrysler brand. My argument against moving 300 to FWD is (1) the premium part of the FWD Sedan segment by itself is too small to be part of making Chrysler "mainstream", (2) it will stop giving Group 1 a Chrysler to show off, and (3) it will likely alienate some in this group.

    T&C is in a dying segment dominated by aging Boomers who defected to Honda and Toyota. Beyond sentimental reasons, IMHO Chrysler would be better off channelling development investment towards developing a Dart-like sedan, a CR-V fighter and a Durango-like CUV, than trying to revive the segment it created 35 years ago.
     
    #238 aldo90731, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  19. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    PS: maybe, just maybe a "retro" T&C that brings back enough of the "cool factor" of the original Caravan/Voyager could help revive the dying minivan segment, similar to how the retro 2005 Mustang revived the dying pony car segment 12 years ago, and the 500 revived FIAT as many years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
    #239 aldo90731, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  20. Cornupenuria

    Cornupenuria Well-Known Member

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    There was a time, maybe four decades ago, when Plymouth and Ford had significant numbers of owners who retained their cars longer than ten years. I'm a little surprised that Jeep Wrangler isn't on the list but maybe used Wrangler buyers retain them longer than new Wrangler buyers retain them. I know XJ Cherokee owners who bought used and kept the XJs until the wheels turned square or the body became un-square.
     

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