Ford is a wonderful marketing story – following years and years of big car stasis and poor management it has begun down a colorful new road. The cars have gotten smaller, management has its eyes on the horizon and in a country where borrowing is rampant, it gets props for not taking the government cheese. Cool technology, too.
G.M. has made smart decisions, but still feels like a company run by old dudes with dandruff on their suit collars. Most businesses can sell off flagging assets and brands, get smaller, refinance, wave the flag and make a comeback. Sorry to sound disrespectful because I want G.M. to win, but the company doesn’t feel particularly contrite or forward thinking, the Chevy Volt aside.
Chrysler, on the other hand, still struggling and playing tortoise to Ford and G.M.’s hare, is an interesting company to watch. America loves an underdog…just watch the World Series or Super Bowl some time. And America loves European styling and design. Chrysler is the former and has a chance at the latter. It has gone quiet for a while in the area of new product development while working hard to design some exciting new cars. Good move. While Ford’s new small cars will have big American grills and other old style embellishments, I’m hoping Chrysler will be creating some Fiat-like smaller cars that people on the street can’t keep their eyes off. Were I Chrysler, I’d design hot looking, efficient cars that appeal to women: a French looking car, then an Italian car, perhaps a German-styled car. Women love style. This is a design approach whose time has come. It never would have flown decades ago, but it will today. Tortoise shell glasses anyone? Peace!