Blog: Fender and Defender
Dave Leggett | 5 January 2009
I'm a big fan of analogies and metaphors to help make points or draw lessons from history. The more creative or unusual they can be, still hanging together, the better (though you have to be careful with them; sometimes they can mislead). I enjoyed Mark Bursa's study of how Fender, under threat from low-cost competition, embraced that competition and contracted out manufacturing activity to the very people who threatened to put it out of business. Fender managed to carry on in business by going to where the cost is low and building its clever brand strategy on top of that. The parallels with the car business are certainly there. As Mark points out, this is the same low-cost manufacturing outsourcing model that the auto industry has been adopting. I guess the question is, how far do you take it?
With reference to JLR and the Land Rover Defender, I suspect the idea of making that vehicle in India will be something Tata will be definitely looking at, along with a possible rationalisation of UK manufacturing capacity.
Did wonder whether Mark's reference to Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour was more than a bit wistful (I know he likes his music very much). Maybe in that parallel dimension we all sometimes imagine there's a megaband with a lead guitarist known by the very simple moniker, 'Coolbear'.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...