Will Dodge get the Brand axe because of Alfa Romeo?

alfa romeo 4c

Rumors have circulated over the past few months among the automotive press that Dodge, a venerable American automotive brand, could be getting the axe from Chrysler-Fiat boss Serigo Marchionne.  The reason for this is simple, Dodge doesn't make sense for the overall goals of the company.

Before we get boatloads of hate mail for even running this article and editorial, Dodge fans need to think about the fact that the “Dodge” moniker was dropped from the truck division which is now known as “Ram Trucks.”  Also the Dodge Viper is not called that by the company but is either referred to as “Viper” or “SRT Viper” in press material they company circulates.  Since the truck division is considered a strength of Chrysler and the Viper is the company's flagship model many considered both moves a bit odd at the time.  These leaves auto journalists and analysts under the impression that executives wants to drop Dodge altogether and not just on the names of some vehicles.

It's not that Dodge doesn't have value and that it isn't a good marque for Chrysler-Fiat.  It just doesn't make sense for the company's future plans.  It's clear that sergio Marchionne wants to bring back Alfa Romeo, a luxury Italian brand, back to the US market.  To do this they will want to utilize the existing dealership infrastructure the company already has.  However Chrysler dealerships already have a lot of brand to choose from and the showroom might be getting a bit crowded to offer so many different automakers cars in the same place.  Could Dodge get booted out of dealerships to make way for Alfa Romeo?

Recently Aaron Turpen cited that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the official corporate name for the company, released a new FCA logo.  While the new logo isn't anything to really talk about is shows that Marchionne doesn't want to live in the past and is focusing on the future of his auto companies.  With a weakened European market the FCA alliance is working on becoming leaner to stay alive and relevant.  Is importing sexy Italian cars the way to do that?  Possibly.

Dropping Dodge would have benefits for FCA.  They wouldn't have to cross promote models against Chrysler and Jeep.  The marketing and advertising budgets could be focused on bringing in Alfa Romeo as a brand into the minds of US consumers.  Of course one look at an Alfa Romeos I'm pretty sure you wouldn't hesitate to buy one.  (Cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C are hard to forget.)  Additionally since Alfa Romeos are luxury cars they would charge a premium on them which means they would make better profits on them.  

The disadvantage is that an Alfa Romeo buyer… well that's a lot different than a Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep buyer.  This is something that the Fiat has experienced firsthand as smalls for the small Italian car are nowhere near what FCA alliance anticipated.

Do you think it makes sense for Dodge to get the axe to make way for Alfa Romeo?   Should Sergio Marchionne think of something else, like axing Chrysler?

BumpShox Protects Front Bumpers from Bad Drivers

BumpShox, Front Bumper Protection!

Do you hate it when bad drivers hit your bumper? Sooo annoying… especially if it's a brand new car!

BumpShox might be your solution. The BumpShox bumper protector is a relatively new foam-based automotive product that looks like a big oversized license plate holder (well it is), but it is a bumper protector. It fits in place of any standard license plate and can be installed easily on virtually any car.

I have been testing the BumpShox for awhile, on several vehicles. I liked using the BumpShox on all of our cars (a 2002 Toyota Camry, 1996 Honda Accord.) Not that it really adds to the look of the Camry or Accord, but it sure is a conversation starter when people notice it, point, and ask “Hey, what's that?”

However, one of the points of the The BumpShox is it's unobtrusive, small, and does not detract too much from the look of the car, at least when compared to other bumper protectors. Typically other bumper protectors or bumper guards will cover the whole bumper and are pretty damn ugly. What's the point of owning a Mustang if you can't enjoy the beautiful lines?

For the most part the BumpShox is not that noticeable. Once you get used to it, it's sort of a fun little addition to your car.

On one of my roadtrips, I parked my Accord in a large parking lot with a few cars. You would assume there was little use for a BumpShox in this situation. When I came out of the store, to my surprise someone had parked a tad to close to my car! The BumpShox was cushioning my car's bumper against a hideous Dodge Caliber.  (Who drives a Caliber anyway?)  I was quite pleased with this and the BumpShox saved me a a weekend of DIY bodywork, which probably would have come out with bad results.

So for protecting your front bumper against stupid and bad drivers, even in large parking lots, the BumpShox can work well.

Where the BumpShox supposedly really shines is in tight parallel parking spaces in cities. The only issue is that it is only going to protect your bumper when you are in the space or parking and moving forward to reposition your car.

Because the BumpShox is unobtrusive and small it won't protect the majority of your bumper at various angles when parking. Only slow front end taps will the foam cushion work.

For complete bumper protection, the BumpShox is not necessarily ideal. Of course larger bumper protectors that cover your whole bumper cost $150+. That's a lot to shell out! If you are tired of having bad drivers hit your beautiful bumper, the $35 bucks it costs to buy a BumpShox is probably a good investment. If you want to buy two, it will cost $60.

I can't guarantee that the BumpShox will work in all situations. For light front-end taps and bumper protection from bad drivers who can't park, even in a large parking lot, it did it's job well on my Accord. That's good enough for me! 🙂

Chrysler Halftime in America Parody Ad

Here is a funny parody of the Chrysler “Halftime in America” ad that appeared during the Super Bowl.  What do you think?