QOTD: Who's Managing Their Heritage Brand Best?
There’s your manifesto! This year’s Jeep Super Bowl ad was more than a breath of fresh air in the middle of turgid political pronouncements and vapid virtue signaling. It was a reminder that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a rock-solid grip on what its core product is and how to develop said product. In fact, other than the temporary aesthetic disaster of the square-headlight YJ, it’s fair to say that the descendants of the CJ-7 have been on a pretty solid path for the past 30 years.
Has anybody else managed their heritage brand this well for this long? The short answer is “maybe.”
Ford’s introduction of the Telnack-styled 1979 Mustang reversed the marque’s slide through elephantine Mustang Grande and Pinto-based Mustang II. There was a turbo engine from the jump and the mighty 5.0-liter from 1982 forward. You could argue that things went a little pear-shaped with the 1995 SN95 body and the gutless SOHC 4.6-liter in 1996, but there were twin-cam Cobras available and of course the 2004 Cobra “Terminator” will remain a classic until the heat death of the universe.
Chevrolet put the Vette on the right track in 1984 and it’s been there ever since, making the jump to no-excuses world-class performance with the C5 in 1997 and now taking on the world with the terrifying new ZR1. Not all of the product has been completely compelling, particularly when you’re talking about the automatic-transmission convertibles that make up the bulk of sales. But the underlying technology has been pretty freaking neat for a long time and the car has never fallen behind the competition in terms of raw pace, particularly around a racetrack.
All things considered, however, I think Jeep has done the best job, particularly since the Wrangler is the only one of these vehicles that does genuine volume any more. Feel free to disagree. Or maybe you think some other company is doing better… the BMW M3? The Mitsubishi Eclipse? The… Toyota Camry?
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Phila_DLJ on Feb 12, 2018
"It was a reminder that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a rock-solid grip on what its core product is and how to develop said product" I don't know, it sounds like the depiction of the fancy new Jeep driving right through a stream (even if a tiny disclaimer said it was an artificial stream on private property) angered some fishers, some of whom own Jeeps.
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