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The Jeep Liberty replacement, whose name has still not been officially announced (Liberty and Cherokee are probably the front-runners), will come with a nine-speed automatic at launch and be unveiled in less than 90 days, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said today. Dealerships will probably not have the new car until July. Speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, Marchionne also implied that the Dodge Dart was originally to have launched with the nine-speed, but that it was not available quickly enough. Once enough nine-speeds have been produced to satisfy the midsized SUV, Dart may indeed get the sophisticated automatic — which is making its world debut on the new Jeep. Still,  Marchionne said that the Dart was “over-equipped for the money we get,” and that he was disappointed by its reception . Mr. Marchionne also noted that, while new Jeeps are planned for the brand's planned expansion in India,..

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I wonder how the margins compare with the Dart vs Avenger with incentives both considered. Sounds somewhat slim profits on each dart.
 

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I've said before I think they will get the Dart right, but I have also said it confirms my feelings about Sergio's understanding of our market. I think Sergio has some learning to do about the US market. I think he may not have realized or understood what the Dart was likely to face in terms of packaging. It is packaged too much like a Euro car.

I think he is a great CEO who is good at leading, and understands numbers, but I do not have absolute faith in his understanding of our market. This is why I am so critical of the Minivan situation, and the Jeep situation. He had some rather negative things to say about Jeep's outgoing offerings, what's funny is they were still selling, not great, but not horrid. He couldn't understand why, but I think it's simply because he doesn't quite understand that market.
 

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Wasn't the Caliber's bes

bumonbox said:
I've said before I think they will get the Dart right, but I have also said it confirms my feelings about Sergio's understanding of our market. I think Sergio has some learning to do about the US market. I think he may not have realized or understood what the Dart was likely to face in terms of packaging. It is packaged too much like a Euro car.

I think he is a great CEO who is good at leading, and understands numbers, but I do not have absolute faith in his understanding of our market. This is why I am so critical of the Minivan situation, and the Jeep situation. He had some rather negative things to say about Jeep's outgoing offerings, what's funny is they were still selling, not great, but not horrid. He couldn't understand why, but I think it's simply because he doesn't quite understand that market.
Didn't the Caliber have its best years when it was most stripped down and cheap looking? I think you get to a point where you distance yourself from those that just want to buy a cheap new car that don't care about any of the premium feel.
 

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Part of Dart's struggle is due to Mr. Marchionne stripping Dodge of a proper volume lineup, and because "sporty" puts vehicles in a niche spot in the US market.

There is nothing wrong with "sporty", but "volume" and "sporty" are at opposite ends --just look at Toyota vs Mazda; VW had to sacrifice some "sporty" to grow volume in the US.
 

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Aldo said:
Part of Dart's struggle is due to Mr. Marchionne stripping Dodge of a proper volume lineup, and because "sporty" puts vehicles in a niche spot in the US market.

There is nothing wrong with "sporty", but "volume" and "sporty" are at opposite ends --just look at Toyota vs Mazda; VW had to sacrifice some "sporty" to grow volume in the US.
Except the Dart isn't even truly sporty really. I think Mazda's issues are substantially larger than being sporty. It's a matter of dedication to the image. And this is the important thing for Sergio. There is a balancing point between volume and commitment to image. If you have a brand, like Dodge that needs to be both, then accept it, and allow the sporty vehicles to coexist with volume vehicles. I still don't feel the Ram split was necessary. I don't feel dropping the minivan is necessary. They can still have the volume vehicles with a sporty touch. The reality is, Dodge may have the masculine / sporty image, but it has always been about more than that. It is also a mainstream brand, and they shouldn't run from that. The dart can be sorta cool and sporty, but if they want it to succeed, it must also mainstream offerings / packaging.
 

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bumonbox said:
Except the Dart isn't even truly sporty really. I think Mazda's issues are substantially larger than being sporty. It's a matter of dedication to the image. And this is the important thing for Sergio. There is a balancing point between volume and commitment to image. If you have a brand, like Dodge that needs to be both, then accept it, and allow the sporty vehicles to coexist with volume vehicles. I still don't feel the Ram split was necessary. I don't feel dropping the minivan is necessary. They can still have the volume vehicles with a sporty touch. The reality is, Dodge may have the masculine / sporty image, but it has always been about more than that. It is also a mainstream brand, and they shouldn't run from that. The dart can be sorta cool and sporty, but if they want it to succeed, it must also mainstream offerings / packaging.
Marchionne has demonstrated zero ability for building, protecting or understanding BRAND. His years before Chrysler are replete with examples of brands being demolished, abused, and/or ignored (depending on your point-of-view).

There is no doubt that Marchionne is a fantastic leader, negotiator and numbers-man. If he wants to be remembered as truly great, he will recognize his weakness and empower others who will compensate for his shortcomings. Unfortunately, his brand managers (with the exception of Ralph at SRT) are all numbers people who also demonstrate little talent for nurturing a BRAND.
 
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Erik Latranyi said:
Marchionne has demonstrated zero ability for building, protecting or understanding BRAND. His years before Chrysler are replete with examples of brands being demolished, abused, and/or ignored (depending on your point-of-view).

There is no doubt that Marchionne is a fantastic leader, negotiator and numbers-man. If he wants to be remembered as truly great, he will recognize his weakness and empower others who will compensate for his shortcomings. Unfortunately, his brand managers (with the exception of Ralph at SRT) are all numbers people who also demonstrate little talent for nurturing a BRAND.
Completely agree. Chrysler has momentum, Sergio knew what to do to get them into the black. In the end, I suspect Sergio is better at saving companies than maintaining their health.
 

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I think the Dart's platform/architecture is too pricey, large, and heavy and will limit it's profitability. A better option mix will help but competing with smaller/lighter cars is tough going. The same platform/architecture will be a home run for the 200/Avenger. My 2 cents.

Tom
 

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Erik Latranyi said:
Marchionne has demonstrated zero ability for building, protecting or understanding BRAND. His years before Chrysler are replete with examples of brands being demolished, abused, and/or ignored (depending on your point-of-view).
Like which brand?

I think he's pretty good at understanding the values of each brand, with Fiat he's doing a great job with the new 500 lineup (still many cars to come) for instance.

No minivan will be killed btw, there will just be more differentiation between the two brands, but still same minivan's customer base.
 

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I am definitely looking forward to the Dodge Dart with the 9-speed! I am sure Chrysler will find a way to cut some weight for the next generation so it doesn't so much more than the competition.
 

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bumonbox said:
I've said before I think they will get the Dart right, but I have also said it confirms my feelings about Sergio's understanding of our market. I think Sergio has some learning to do about the US market. I think he may not have realized or understood what the Dart was likely to face in terms of packaging. It is packaged too much like a Euro car.
That would be true if he understood the European market; but he doesn't either. Fact is, it's not a problem of him not understanding the market, it's a problem of him not understanding "product".

Erik Latranyi said:
Marchionne has demonstrated zero ability for building, protecting or understanding BRAND. His years before Chrysler are replete with examples of brands being demolished, abused, and/or ignored (depending on your point-of-view).
This, this is precisely the issue. He just doesn't seem to grasp/care at all if and how a product matches the values and identity of a brand.
And to demonstrate his complete lack of interest/understanding you only need to read through his interviews of today regarding Alfa Romeo's launch in the US and how he won't launch it until the right powertrains are there, and how they need a WOP engine (nice one Sergio, to when references to crauts, chinks, rednecks, ...). "We can't have a repeat of the 159, with heavy american GM underpinning that once we were done fixing it was 400kgs overweight, and an Australian Holden engine that was an insult to the Alfa Romeo Brand".

Now, leaving aside SMs typical disregard for the thousands of people that bought and still own that car, how can you say that, and after 20 minutes be on record saying that "Lancias in Europe will be supplied by Chrysler". Last time I checked heavy American underpinnings, oversized (for Europe) engines, and American styling was exactly the reason why the only Lancia that sold at above break-even levels in Europe was the Ypsilon. And, wait for it, the only Chryslers that sell in any numbers in the UK are the Ypsilon and the Delta! I would say kill Lancia and just use Chrysler, at least it would be a more honest approach vis-a-vis the customers tht scratch their heads when they see a Chrysler with a Lancia badge on it. But even then ,you would need to understand that what sells in the US as a Chrysler, might not sell in Europe as a chrysler because the market is different! Even GM has figured this out!!!

It would be comical if it wasn't so damn worrying.
 
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"Lancias in Europe will be supplied by Chrysler"
Last time I checked heavy American underpinnings, oversized (for Europe) engines,
.... the only Lancias that sold in above break-even levels in Europe was the Ypsilon. ...even the only Chryslers that sell in any numbers in the UK are the Ypsilon and the Delta!


So, the Lancias that do sell, weren't really anything to do with Chrysler. The ones that don't sell were rebadged Chryslers.
So future Lancias will ALL be Chryslers... just like the ones that don't sell. This makes absolutely no sense.

IMHO, I think there IS potential for a combined L-C brand, however, efforts here seem to have been put on a dusty shelf, while Alfa & Maserati are dusted off and drooled over. Having vented that, it probably does honestly boil down to where investment euros will gain the most in investing in upscale brands. Alfa & Maserati probably do have more long term potential.
 

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Dan Minick said:
So, the Lancias that do sell, weren't really anything to do with Chrysler. The ones that don't sell were rebadged Chryslers.
So future Lancias will ALL be Chryslers... just like the ones that don't sell. This makes absolutely no sense.
Yep!
I mean, we all know that Lancia needed some serious help and that it wasn't working, but this is just insane. ANd the problem is that even after it will be dead and buried, the same logic will produce the same mistakes, just with a Chrysler badge on them!
 

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RVC said:
Now, leaving aside SMs typical disregard for the thousands of people that bought and still own that car, how can you say that, and after 20 minutes be on record saying that "Lancias in Europe will be supplied by Chrysler".

It would be comical if it wasn't so damn worrying.
Yes, Marchionne is very careless with his comments about past product. You can already see him starting to do this with the Dart.
 

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IMHO, I think there IS potential for a combined L-C brand, however, efforts here seem to have been put on a dusty shelf, while Alfa & Maserati are dusted off and drooled over. Having vented that, it probably does honestly boil down to where investment euros will gain the most in investing in upscale brands. Alfa & Maserati probably do have more long term potential.
Agreed, but then just take the damn decision to kill the brand and not be in that market with either Chrysler or Lancia, instead of losing money and getting a bad rep with clients of the group with this nonsense.
 
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Erik Latranyi said:
Yes, Marchionne is very careless with his comments about past product. You can already see him starting to do this with the Dart.
It's because history is bunk. Oh, wait that was someone else who used ethnic slurs who said that......

RVC said:
Agreed, but then just take the damn decision to kill the brand and not be in that market with either Chrysler or Lancia, instead of losing money and getting a bad rep with clients of the group with this nonsense.
Well, Chrysler has to exist in the USA, and Lancia is dualed with Jeep in Euro. But, true, IF they need a lineup at Jeep dealers, maybe they should go back to Chrysler-Jeep in europe and kill Lancia. Investing in Lancia as a TRUE Lancia brand is just going to go head to head with Alfa. Fiat doesn't have the big pockets like VW to simply let them both (Alfa & Lancia) slug it out and compete to have the best product. That's something GM used to excel at back in 1950's 1960s, and VW does still to some extent.
If you can fund it all, it creates brand passion and great products.
 

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bumonbox said:
In the end, I suspect Sergio is better at saving companies than maintaining their health.
The same can be said of many other CEOs like Lee Iacocca, Carlos Gohsn. The leadership abilities to cut costs and turn around are different from the vision required to take a company into the future.

Mr Mulally, despite recent setbacks with Escape and Fusion launches...and a lack of vision with Lincoln, has demonstrated an ability to understand the fundamentals of the auto business, and a methodical dedication to take his company towards it.
 
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