Just driven to distraction

Excellent report by Lucy Barrett (Dodge must pick up on European niche, MW August 29).

In an era of increasing product “sameness”, where Eighties features such as reliability and safety are now givens, car manufacturers are seeking new ways to differentiate increasingly similar products.

Revival/exhumation of old brands is one method (DaimlerChrysler’s Maybach, BMW’s Mini and the rumoured Riley and Austin-Healey). Consumers appear to enjoy niche brands, despite them being rebadged and restyled versions of volume products. So a brand such as Dodge, which already enjoys a cult following, may do well. I even detect a Stateside branding bias emerging – I heard a London-based chief executive praising Detroit iron the other day, saying that he ran a Chrysler S-Class. Er, that’d be a Merc then?

Richard McCann

Friday’s Media Group

London W1

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