QOTD: What Merger Would You Be Excited To See?
Sergio Marchionne is determined to merge with somebody. He’s kind of like that guy who doesn’t have a date at Senior Prom, and just goes anyway, hoping to score a dance with the Prom Queen. It’s as if the modern marketplace is his very own version of Sixteen Candles, and he’s James Spader rocking a 944. Or something. I gotta be honest, I never watched the movie.
Well, I’m not sure if Mary Barra is the Prom Queen or not, but Sergio seems to think she is. Yet, I’m not sure the idea of a GM/FCA merger has auto enthusiasts feeling all hot and bothered; is there a merger out there that would?
Here’s my idea. I’d like to see a Mazda/Subaru merger. Does it make business sense? Eh, maybe. Mazda has seen record profits in the European market in the last two years, growing at a much faster rate than anyone expected in both Germany and the UK. They’re also growing decently in the Japanese market, and they’re holding their own in China, despite a lack of Chinese-only models.
But North America? Not so much. Mazda has never been able to get much of a foothold in the highly competitive mid-sized sedan market, nor do they do particularly well in the C segment, despite having well-reviewed entries in both. Their year-over-year growth in America is basically flat through July 2015.
However, Subaru is growing like mad — almost too quickly. They are teetering between a growth model and a profit model, as their American sales growth is reaching double digits due to an almost fanatically loyal customer base. How can Subaru grow without compromising what it is that makes them so “authentic”?
Easy. Merge with Mazda, which has specifically stated that they are looking to trade profit for growth in the near future. Subaru could do some brand engineering and send the popular Outback over to Mazda. Call it the CX-Whatever. Mazda, in turn, could share the new ND Miata with Subie, which might make up for the relatively disappointing BRZ, itself down about 30 percent YOY. I mean, they wouldn’t, but they could!
If you really wanna get cray cray…why not merge the all-wheel drive goodness of Subaru with the rotary madness of Mazda and come up with some high-revving, all-wheel drive rally and autocross monster? Let’s call it the RX-10, just because that sounds much cooler than RX-9.
I like my idea, but I bet that you, the B&B, have an even better one. So let’s hear your merger ideas. What two automotive companies could merge into an ever better one?
[Photo by Kevin McCauley]
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