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?

Three New Fiat 500 Commercials with the Beautiful & Seductive Catrinel Menghia

It seems Fiat has just posted three new Fiat 500 commercials with the stunningly beautiful and seductive Romanian model Catrinel Menghia.  The title of the commercials are Winning, Sin City, and Burning Up the Desert.  All the commercials feature the Fiat 500 Abarth, which is the supped-up version of the Fiat 500, and of course every guys' current favorite car spokesperson, Catrinel Menghia.  Thank You for giving us more of Catrinel Fiat!

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of these commercials.

 

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?

 

Washington Auto Show Presents Cool Cars, Concepts, Green Cars, and Policy

Yesterday the 2012 Washington Auto Show opened to the public. Definitely a great event to go to if you are a car lover.

I attended the Public Policy day, the day before the Washing Auto Show opened (January 26th), and got to see all the offerings on hand before the massive crowds. I bet you are wondering what some of the highlights of the show were.

My personal favorites would have to be the Lotus Evora and the Lamborghini Aventador. Lamborghini's are just so amazing, sexy, powerful, over-the-top, etc. Basically everything you want in a supercar.  I imagine this car is on the wall of many young children's rooms across the country. I talked with the salesman from Euro MotorCars, Jamie Gershowitz, about the Evora for awhile. I commented on how the body from from a distance looked like a Tesla. This is because Lotus makes the body shells and chassis for the Tesla Roadster. He told me how fun there were to drive. If I was a dog… I would have been drooling. (Alright, maybe I was drooling just a little bit.)

Definitely the most interesting car there would have to go Freedom Behind The Wheel and the converted Nissan 240SX race car they had on display. All the controls are done with the hands. It is specifically built for soldiers who have lost their legs, but still want to participate in racing. Ryan Downey, who built the car, seems to have refined the controls and cars to be ideal for racing. Best part about their display was they had a race simulator setup to try out the controls. I that that was pretty awesome. I was told I did fairly well.    Unfortunately you can only see this car at auto shows for now.

There were a few concepts on hand as well. “Hybrid” is the keyword and along with “electric” or anything green at auto shows now, and the Washington Auto Show is no different. Toyota NS4 Hybrid and Volvo's XC60 Hybrid were on display. I hope Toyota builds the NS4 Hybrid, because I think it looks super slick. Another concept on display was the Audi E-Tron electric car. Audi is testing a fleet of them in Germany currently, but it no word on when Audi will be testing their electric cars in the US.

Fiat had a little area for doing test drives with the new Fiat 500.  It seemed a lot of press people and government officials were happy to not just look at cars, but actually drive one.  Especially inside the Washington Auto Show.  I thought this was a good idea, but is not necessarily going to make me buy a Fiat 500.  I love the original Fiat 500, but the new one just seems too much of chick car.

The day I attended Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)gave a speech and talked about what the Senate was doing to try to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Honestly his speech was pretty boring, but I listened intently anyway.  As well Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North American operations (GM), gave a speech at the show.  I guess he came to make sure all the politicians were happy with the job he was doing and what GM is doing.  As well pat himself on the back about making GM number 1 again.  (Just so you know you have natural disasters to thank for that!)

Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation, was in attendance as well. Unlike Senator Merkley and surprisingly Mark Reuss, he is a good public speaker.  He spoke in the Advanced Super Highway section of the hall, which featured electric cars, hybrids, and other green cars from many different automakers.   “This great auto show features some of the best cars in the world” said LaHood about the Washington Auto Show adding “In this hall, you can see what is possible.” In his speech he stressed the importance of the auto bailouts. He claimed the government's actions saved our whole economy and over 1 million jobs. I didn't agree with most of his statements, since I am against bailouts, but whatever.

If you love cars, and are in the DC metro area, I would definitely go checkout the Washington Auto Show.  It runs from January 27th – February 5th, 2012.