If you think the rash of acquisitions and mergers has probably ended, don't kid yourself.
Whether you realize it or not, Asia is just about on sale these days, but some real cultural problems await any prospective purchaser. If you doubt that, just ask the folks at Ford how tough it's been running Mazda.
The Mercedes- Benz/Chrysler relationship is a piece of cake compared to what lies ahead for anyone who gets involved with an Asian partner, and there will be several during the next few years.
We are not only seeing the rush to merge and acquire weaker competitors, but we are also seeing the acquisition and resurrection of all sorts of brand names from yesteryear. Who really would have thought that Volkswagen would be interested in buying the Bugatti name or maybe building a Horsch, a German marque that hasn't been produced for half a century. And Mercedes is playing around with the name Maybach, another brand that hasn't been sold since before 1940. On a smaller scale, Chrysler is marketing the Chrysler 300M, a name that hearkens back to some of the great Chryslers of yesterday.
When you think of all the wonderful and not so wonderful names that have fallen by the wayside over the years, you wonder whether they are still owned by someone or if they have simply become available to anyone who is willing to produce and advertise them.
There are so many better names than the new names that completely baffle me. I do not believe for a minute that all discarded and abandoned names were necessarily bad. Although I might be reluctant to introduce a new Edsel, I wouldn't hesitate to use Falcon or Fairlane.
And when I look at Cadillac's last two names, I can't help but think that something like LaSalle might have been better.
Most old names have some value to an automobile company, which is why they sometimes keep a name for decades without using it. They just don't want to give it up, particularly to a competitor.
There are very few numbers that folks fight over unless you're talking about a few magic numbers like 150 with an F in front. Ford took real exception when Toyota announced a new truck with those numbers. Toyota was nice enough to change it.
With so many wonderful names out there, you wonder why anyone would bother with new ones.
But they do, and it's still a real art, not a science.