Chrysler's way forward
Cab forward, the innovative design that helped revive Chrysler in the early 1990s, is dead. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the Chrysler group, wants a new styling direction.
Cab-forward cars have a steeply raked windshield, tires pushed to the corners and a long wheelbase.
Cab-forward styling debuted in the USA in 1992 on a new generation of front-wheel-drive sedans called the Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler Concorde and Eagle Vision. Many cab-forward styling cues later appeared on vehicles such as the Dodge and Plymouth Neons, and Chrysler minivans.
Reilly: Show must go on
Outgoing Vauxhall boss Nick Reilly said the cancellation of October's London motor show is bad news for the UK auto industry.
'I'm sure there's a place for a show of some sort [in the UK] each year,' he said. 'It's an important shop window. The abandonment of the London event will give people a negative view of the UK car sector.'
Organizer Clarion Events canceled the London show at the beginning of the month. It blamed dwindling support from the auto industry.
'But we at Vauxhall were supporting the show all the way through,' said Reilly. 'We received assurances that it would go ahead. By leaving it [the cancellation] so late, it makes it difficult for us to do something instead.'
Reilly becomes vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales for GM Europe on August 1. He will relinquish the position of managing director of GM's Vauxhall unit, but will stay as chairman. Reilly will also continue as president of the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Reilly added: 'By scrapping this year's London show, people will be asking, 'Does Britain really want a motor industry?' '
The next major exhibition in the UK will be the British International Motor Show in Birmingham in October 2002.
Fiat Auto made a big mistake by underestimating the growing importance of Europe's compact minivan segment, says CEO Roberto Testore.
Fiat Auto has two full-size minivans in its lineup, the Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Z. It also has a smaller entry - the quirky Fiat Multipla.
Sales of the Multipla are running at about 60,000 units a year - 20,000 ahead of the original estimate. But with the Multipla, Testore says, 'we provided a niche car, not a segment leader.'
He adds: 'The [compact minivan] segment is worth 1.2 to 1.3 million units a year in Europe, but the Multipla is a separate story. Our underestimation of the so-called Scenic segment was one of our biggest mistakes in the last six or seven years. The other was our weakness outside small cars, but we are working hard on that with the Stilo and will go on from there. We will increase volume and shift the mix.'
The lower-medium Fiat Stilo, which debuted at the Geneva show in March, will replace the Bravo/Brava this autumn. Fiat is reported to be developing a compact minivan version of the Stilo.
Testore says Fiat Auto spent E5 million on its recent dealer motivation program in which 6,000 dealers from 28 countries spent two days on an intensive 'brand experience' in Milan. That's what a typical major car launch would cost.
'It was something new and we may do it again,' Testore says. 'It's a kind of evolution in telling the dealers what is important.'
It's all talk for GM, Daewoo
There is no time scale for the conclusion of General Motors' talks with Daewoo, despite regular reports from South Korea that a GM takeover is imminent.
'Matters are ongoing,' said GM Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer John Devine. 'How it works out is not clear yet. The situation changes from week to week.'
Devine was speaking at a press event at the Festival of Speed in Goodwood, England, on July 7. He was philosophical about the discussions with Daewoo.
'We're still very interested,' Devine confirmed, 'and striking a deal with Daewoo would give us a great entre into Korea. But if it works out, it works out. If it doesn't, it doesn't.'
Devine denied he was becoming frustrated by the protracted nature of the talks.
He said: 'If they're still going on at the end of the year, I'll take that as a positive sign.'