Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2012 03:02 PM
In his recent interview on 60 Minutes, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned only two future products: a new Maserati SUV (the China-oriented Kubang) that will be built in Detroit, and the upcoming Dodge Dart compact sedan, which is beginning to roll off a Chrysler assembly line in Belvedere, Ill. One of his main points to CBS correspondent Steve Kroft was that Dart will be "mechanically" sound.
Chrysler needs that to be the case. Amid all of the success and progress that the company has enjoyed since getting up off the mat in 2009 — big sales gains, positive Super Bowl buzz for its Clint Eastwood "Halftime in America" commercial, a raft of generally well received new products (including a key green car nod for the Chrysler 300) — the one bugaboo that the company hasn't been able to get past is its reputation for poor quality.
Even though it has improved markedly over the last several years, and under a succession of regimes, the company simply hasn't been able to keep pace with rising quality levels across the rest of the industry. Now, Chrysler executives are determined to banish the quality bogeyman once and for all.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 10, 2012 06:06 PM
Kubang! It's not Chinese, it's Italian. But Maserati is aiming its new luxury SUV Kubang concept vehicle at the growing China market in the hopes of eating some of Porsche's lunch.
While it's rare to see a Porsche Cayenne SUV on streets in the West, the model is an astoundingly common sight in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing. The driver is almost always a woman. China is Porsche's largest market in the world for the Cayenne SUV. And while sales of Porsche in China may be slowing due to a flattening of China's luxury car market, sales of the Cayenne specifically may slow because the marketplace is about to get a lot more crowded.
While the West is still nursing its SUV hangover, Chinese drivers are just entering the nation's SUV age. Brands, luxury and less luxurious, are lining up to cash in as mainland consumers begin delusionally rationalizing SUVs.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 14, 2011 12:03 PM
When Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne tossed around the idea of an American-built Maserati at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January, the notion had an odd ring to it.
Even for a group of companies, operations and brands that the peripatetic Italian was still trying to organize into a cohesive global whole, the possibility of Chrysler workers in Detroit — a few miles down the street from the auto show — building a true luxury vehicle for export seemed too far-fetched even for him.
But half a world away, in Germany this week, Marchionne showed just how serious he was when he unveiled the vehicle in question at the Frankfurt Auto Show.Continue reading...