Monday, January 5, 2009
chrysler's end: style
by brother-in-law, wayne, who consults for car manufacturers, gave me some interesting insights into the car companies' troubles. the basic answer is that detroit gave up long ago on plowing money into research and development.
he said all three companies in recent years had begun reaching out for stylistic answers to essentially structural problems. this attempt is only a rather late conversion to the stupid "brand image is everything" mantra that began in the 1990s, and which is obviously a product of the capital bubble(s) that have been distorting not just markets but brains for several decades.
he said chrysler was the most obvious to fall for this approach. it had some success with cars like this -- they were boldly designed, they grabbed attention. i remember last year thinking these cars looked good. but apparently, according to wayne, people pay attention to the car but not many buy it. it has become a niche seller, the niche being black urban men -- a toxic demographic to most companies, unless the company is trying to appropriate urban black cool.