link provided by autodriver during a PM convo
How to succeed by adding brands - Automotive News
VW, Chrysler strategies counter those of rivals
February 25, 2013
Volkswagen Group, bent on becoming the world's largest automaker, has amassed an expansive collection of brands to help put that goal within reach. — Chrysler Group keeps adding logos to its dealers' showrooms -- Ram, Fiat, SRT and soon Alfa Romeo.
Their moves contrast with those of other automakers, which have killed many struggling brands in recent years... ...But the VW and Chrysler strategies helped produce some of last year's biggest U.S. sales gains: 30 percent for VW and 21 percent for Chrysler, compared with 13 percent for the overall industry.
VW now finds itself on the verge of passing General Motors to rank second in global sales. Chrysler's approach has contributed to 34 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains in the United States.
The tighter the focus of individual brands, "the better the results,"
said Steven Wolf, dealer principal at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Houston...
Fewer brands, less share
GM and Ford said they needed fewer brands to focus better on their core businesses. But streamlining has cost them market share.
Ford sold Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin, then shut Mercury, leaving only the namesake blue-oval brand and Lincoln, which has struggled to regain attention from luxury-car buyers. The Ford brand was the top-selling U.S. brand last year, accounting for 97 percent of the company's total volume
Ford's U.S. share with two brands in 2012 was 15.5 percent, compared with 15.8 percent in 2007, when it had seven brands. Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin, the former members of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, combined for nearly 1 percent of the market last year.
Meanwhile, GM's share dropped to 17.9 percent in 2012, from 23.7 percent in 2007, when it had twice as many brands. None of GM's four remaining U.S. brands
-- Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC -- has increased share since 2007
, though their remaining dealers are selling more vehicles on average today...
...Chrysler has lost share as well, dropping from 12.9 percent in 2007 to 11.4 percent last year, but its sales have been growing more rapidly since the recession. Meanwhile, VW's U.S. share more than doubled, from 2 percent to 4.2 percent...
...many automakers are being tempted to exploit the growing North American market by adding models and competing in more segments.
"Every time an automaker says, 'This is who
we want to target with a brand,' it never seems to quite work out that way," Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst with Edmunds.com, said...
...Doug Murtha, vice president of Scion, said the brand is "not about volume" but rather to give Toyota an opportunity to "mess around a little bit, do some new things, without jeopardizing Camry
, Corolla and RAV4 sales."...