November 18, 2003
Ford's still in the poo even though it puts out a good product; meanwhile, Volkswagen is happily in the black. Toyota has just overtaken the blue oval as the world's second-biggest automaker. So much for the argument that people are going to premium brands, a convenient excuse for Ford's woes.
None of this is much of a surprise when one considers how tough it is to change the American auto industry.
Every time I go to the US, I notice the poor quality of American cars—more so when I have driven the equivalent European model.
When contacting some of the suppliers in the United States, the culture seems very stuck in the postwar period. It mightn't be a huge surprise: Wacker and Mathews, in The Deviant's Advantage, wrote about their childhood in Detroit when there were riots and tanks going down the streets. Meanwhile, Motown executives in Grosse Point got into their gas guzzlers with free gasoline and drove to work (or were driven), unaware of the social upheaval going on in their own city.
Following the MBA textbook, Ford has pinned its hopes on making money and cutting costs, which has meant downsizing. Yawn. How twentieth-century.
Yet there are beyond-brand-related ways out of the mess. Toyota has positioned itself as a leader in hybrid and green technologies, tapping in to the social consciousness and the consumer's jadedness toward the old ways. Its Prius II is the first step—next there'll be electric–petrol SUVs.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, has its workers' charter and has become a defender of rights internationally, while cleverly expanding in its third-world markets using this as one of its principles.
I wasn't worried about the Japs beating everyone else in this industry in the 1980s, but by being environmentally responsible, they have a great chance in the 2000s. While it doesn't make total amends for their actions in the 1930s and 1940s as part of a certain military complex, I can't see Toyota's rise stalling unless someone does mention the war, or how the Toyota truck is the Taliban's vehicle of choice. And Volkswagen's rise has followed yet another one of my predictions.
Mr Bill Ford: there are better waysbut don't blame branding for your real woes. permalink
Comments: Post a CommentLinks to this post
Links to this post:
Authors and associates individual blogs
+ Add Beyond Branding to your Blogroll
Add feedsAggregated blogs
Old Beyond Branding blog entries
Get this blog via email
Beyond Branding bloggers