Blog: Teutonic efficiency
Dave Leggett | 15 January 2009
I gather one or two people have expressed the view that the Detroit Three appeared bereft of ideas and vision at the auto show this week. Given the current state of their businesses it might be expecting a bit much for them to have put on all that much of a show. Concepts cost money and too much glitz might just undermine efforts with the begging bowl. Anyway, all the best concepts in the world will count for squat if your business goes under this year.
Yes, demonstrate that you have ideas for a viable future, but Detroit is perhaps better off letting potential customers know about what's coming down the line in the near term in the real world - yes, that troubled one we all inhabit right now rather than some way out in the future fantasy one.
Now is perhaps a time for feet well and truly on the ground. The start of production today of Ford's Fiesta in China is a good example of that and that is arguably way more important than anything Ford has going on at the NAIAS.
And does Detroit need to take advanced design lessons from the German OEMs (another suggestion that has been made)? Look, no-one is perfect in this diverse automotive world and let's be very careful before taking aim at others especially in these turbulent times.
Even the famed German organisation and process expertise is not compeletely infallible.
I'm told that Mercedes-Benz's PR firm spent last Friday frantically uninviting confirmed attendees from their posh invitation-only event at the newly restored historic Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. It seems VW-Audi had an event going on at the same time, and no-one had bothered to count total heads and compare them to the hotel's fire capacity.
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