AAH #14 – Brand Flakes

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:01pm

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With the screwy way auto brands are moving around these days it’s like trying to watch the pea in a shell game. Hummer’s going here, Saturn there and Saab who know’s where? Well one guy who may not have all the answers but certainly has a good idea is Charlie Hughes, the former auto exec with Land Rover and Mazda (to name two), author of the book “Branding Iron” and our guest on this week’s edition of Autoline After Hours. He joins John, Peter & Jason to discuss the future of the “bankrupt” Detroit Two, where Ford fits into the mix, as well as a bevy of other brand analysis. And after they handle this week’s “Rapid Fire” segment Jason updates us on on the leaders in the “After Hours” GM Bankruptcy Bonanza. We’re getting closer to a winner. Have a great and safe 4th of July everyone.

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4 Comments to “AAH #14 – Brand Flakes”

  1. Warren Webb Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on how GM lost its identity with the elimination of the “motor divisions” but also how it hasnt learned from its past mistakes, but its arrigance that it could sell anything to anyone. How about when it had Opel in the Buick dealers imported from Germany, then stopped & brought in rebadged Izuzu’s as Opel. The market realized it was conterfeit & it died, let alone it was substandard in quality. Then, a few years later brought out Geo & Saturn (not sure who was first) & competed against itself with Geo being sold by “select Chevrolet dealers”…what was so select about them? Seems as every Chevy dealer had them! Where is the Geo now? Even the cars made for them by Toyota have failed.

    I would also like to thank for the kind words by Charlie Hughes & Jason about AMC. They really gave the big 3 a run for their money, although Abernathy tried to do too much with too little, just like Studebaker tried to reach their break even point with 3 different lines of cars & 2 lines of trucks! I love Studes (as you can see by my e-mail address….. it’s stude not stud ranch!) but their efforts were so self destructive. I could write a few chapters on just what they did wrong on how front end sheet metal was designed & assembled & how they missed the boat with parts. Of course hindsight is 20-20, but these are the lessons for the “new students” to learn from, not let them loose to do the same stupid mistakes again & then say “SEE”.

    I really enjoy the shows, daily, after hours & the weekly show, & its still not enough! Wishing you continued sucess, Warren Webb

  2. Phil Says:

    Hi John, Jason and Peter,

    I enjoyed the show as always but thought an opportunity was lost by not asking your guest Mr. Hughes more about Land Rover and Mazda. To have the former CEO of both companies on and ask him nothing about Land Rover and the only question about Mazda was about the “face” of the Mazda 3 stikes me as a wasted chance to gain more insight into the goings on at these two companies.

    Keep up the great work,

    Phil Hopewell
    Burlington, Ontario

  3. Rod Says:

    Hi Everyone

    Love the show.
    Just a comment about Mercury, Mercury hasn’t been in Canada since 99 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(automobile) ). Except for the Grand Marquis, no Mercury’s at all. I personally haven’t missed them as they were just rebadged Ford’s.
    So Ford should just get rid of them in General.
    if they do bring some models over from europe, keep them as Ford’s and keep the name, ie Ford Mondeo.
    Detroit (and other car makers) need to try and stay away from the brand re-engineering. Muddies the waters too much.

    Recently i was just back home and dad and I drove through the car lots, looking at the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealers (2), they had maybe enough new vehicles to fill maybe 1 of their lots. the GM dealers (also 2), wasn’t much better. And the Pontiac dealer, seemed to have a full load of G5′s, G3′s and Vibes.
    the Ford dealer, had a fully packed lot with lots of models/options to choose from. it was sure telling.

    keep up the good work with the show.


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