At the moment, it appears Fiat is doing everything I hoped and expected
Daimler was going to do. There's a new Lancia on the LX platform;
there've been substantial upgrades in the interiors of the
Chrysler/Dodge products; there's a new Dart coming on an Alfa platform.
The (extensive) Time article also discussed issues like (Italian) management
attitudes, fit of product lines, elimination of badge engineering, clarity
of product segment identity and so on. Although there is little reference
to Daimler (who were not, after all, the last owners) it seems things are
going much better with Fiat (maybe because SM is in charge).
It seems to me that the aims and needs of the Daimler and Fiat managements
are quite different. As is widely known, Fiat automotive division itself
was a bit of a basket case before SM, though a lot of people forget that the
best 'mass' supercar manufacturer ever (Ferrari) is also in the Fiat stable.
I saw a picture of a car that was 'obviously' an Alfa Romeo (not "Alpha"...)
and then finding it was a advert for a Chrysler. In Europe. That was
startling, and then amusing. Then my thought was, "Why would anyone buy a
Chrysler looking like an Alfa, when you can readily buy an Alfa...?..." The
Alfa brand name is much more evocative here (even bearing in mind the old
I since read that the Chrysler version is not identical (slightly bigger
and, I think, a different interior) but that was not visible in a glance at
an advert picture.
Hitherto Chryslers had looked distinctively different, e.g. Jeep and Grand
Voyager (what appear to the most common in UK anyway).
The Sebring convertible never looked like a Mercedes CLK, nor did the
Crossfire look like an SLK.
Thanks for the explanation. (Yeah, I know how Alfa Romeo is spelled,
but automatically typed Alpha in isolation.) :)
The same strangeness abput selling one brand instead of another
existed in the States with Geo. And while it *might* have made some
sense to sell rebadged Suzukis, why would they do it with Toyotas? It
wasn't some obscure brand, like. :)