Blog: Stefan Jacoby in town
Dave Leggett | 7 February 2013
Stefan Jacoby (cut his teeth at VW, then went to Volvo Cars as CEO, left last year) was on good form earlier this week. He was in London for a media lunch and he delivered a wide ranging pre-lunch presentation that was refreshingly 'big picture' in style. I have written up some of his remarks on the global market, observations on the retail end and the final customer.
He also had some other interesting things to say:
- Big is better? To an extent. Jacoby agrees that scale economies account for a lot. The auto industry comes with big capital costs. The common engineering architectures, powertrains, modules spread across high volumes will always count for a lot. But he stressed: “Scale does not mean everything.” Brands have to be managed. Cultures in merged mega-companies can clash (he cited everyone's favourite example, DaimlerChrysler). Renault-Nissan is a smart arrangement, he said. The entities can retain independence, but get access to scale benefits. And he clearly is still an admirer of the strategy of his old VW boss. “Volkswagen,” he said, “manages brands very well. They are integrated and yet can develop in their own ways – develop their own brand image. Look at Audi, Skoda and Bentley.” Ford, he suggested, wanted to change Volvo, its products and the company. That met change from Swedes who wanted to protect the firm's traditional values.
- Does Geely-Volvo have a good chance in the future? He said it has “a fair chance”, but said it is unpredictable. He sees the global auto industry and its companies as increasingly divided between the highly successful players and the weak ones. He believes the Volvo brand has a chance if it can position itself successfully as differentiated from the mainstream premium brands; an individualistic proposition of those who do not want a BMW, Audi or Benz.
- A company's management can have a strategy, but any company has to take the middle management with it. They are the management challenge and can act as a force of inertia that resists change, human nature. Jacoby was not slow in changing the senior managers who reported to him. Martin Leach, also present, chimed in to say that at Ford they had a term for the massed ranks of middle managers: “layer of clay”.
- Downbeat on electric vehicles, upbeat on hybrids.
Stefan Jacoby was also looking very well after his potentially very serious illness last year. “I have been lucky,” he said.
Well, the news today that the Top Gear presenter trio plus producer Andy Wilman will produce a new show broadcast on the Amazon Prime video streaming service comes as no great surprise....
Car companies that do other things besides making cars always provide a certain fascination....
Its official debut might be just under two months away at the Frankfurt IAA, but the mid-life refresh for the 911 has been seen in public. The pics have appeared, inevitably, on FaceBook....
- ANALYSIS: Making sense of China's sales volatility
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Toyota's FCV cometh
- Briefing: Tomorrow's steering systems
- COMMENT: McLaren comes of age
- ANALYSIS: Kia 'thinks globally, acts locally'
- Mitsubishi ending US production
- FRANKFURT DEBUTS LIST: Ferrari 488 Spider added
- FCA to recall 1,060,531 Ram trucks
- JCI confirms auto exit as supplier eddies swirl
- Fiat Chrysler cops record penalty from NHTSA
- Global vehicle lightweighting - technology, trends and the future
- Global light vehicle engine technologies market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle steering market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle OE tyres market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle OE wheels market- forecasts to 2030