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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Damn, That's Cool

In keeping with the onset of summer, be warned that some of our blogs may be more like "Traffick Lite" than "Yahoo Serious."

It's never wise to underestimate the fun one can have with the network effect as it intersects with searchability. Interesting people read my uninteresting comments from time to time, which can be shocking until you realize that there is a lot of ego surfing and corporate intelligence surfing going on.

So awhile back I made some harmless and no doubt inaccurate offhand remark that Daimler Chrysler might soon hit a spurt of growth before the competition knew what hit them. My reasoning was more convoluted than you might think, but it obviously involved the meshing of two big corporate cultures (and car cultures) and the potential to convince more Americans than ever to buy Mercedes at various price points by calling them Chryslers.

(I immediately began second-guessing that as I decided that the new Chrysler Crossfire was a bit of an awkward "Homer-mobile" - and pretty much hate every other car Chrysler's coming out with these days.)

Bewildered by my bullishness, someone very close to the action at the automaker emailed me to ask me where I was getting this stuff, because as far as they knew, sales were weak and there was a fairly long list of reasons they'd continue to be weak. I gulped and admitted that it was pretty much an offhand opinion that I no longer even hold.

But maybe the wacky-looking Crossfire was just a false start. Perhaps it's the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve that signals a new era of excitement in the post-merger automaking world. Designing a car that every boy would want has to be a better idea, at least from an image standpoint, than hiring Celine Dion as your pitchman in an attempt to sell the same old declining stuff.

Or to put it another way -- traditional megabuck marketing doesn't work anymore. And although most folks aren't in the market for a twelve-cylinder race car, a good way to get their attention is to prove you can make better products. At a top speed of 248 mph, and a power-to-weight ratio unparalleled outside the insect world, this car poses a serious threat to the short-hop airline business.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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