Tricia Batoha, 44
Head of research in portfolio planning, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Big break: Managing the North American research and competitive intelligence team and being given the opportunity to conduct global work
Tricia Batoha has a global view of what consumers want.
As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ head of research in portfolio planning, Batoha and her team are tasked with conducting consumer research and breaking it down into actionable intelligence that can aid decision making around vehicles. This means the team will sometimes end up in places such as China and India to get the consumer point of view in those markets.
Batoha, 44, said her team manages research for each brand. The work calls for going out to consumers and performing customer clinics, examining syndicated studies and conducting online surveys to “understand what the customer wants, what their unmet needs are, what they think about our products and messaging,” and then bringing that back to the business side.
The goal of the research varies.
Sometimes, the team is looking at a particular segment, where it could be trying to figure out what the white space is in that area, or what the unmet needs are. Batoha said the research can be vehicle-specific as well, or it might focus on brand image and brand positioning.
A lot of the basic needs for consumers are universal, she said. For instance, consumers shopping for a utility vehicle are looking for space to accommodate their families and cargo comfortably. But there can be some differences in consumer tastes.
“The China market is more advanced in terms of technology,” Batoha said. “They’re looking for that technology, and they’re looking for it to be refreshed quite quickly.”
Batoha has a “respectful rivalry” going with her father, who worked for General Motors. He always wanted her to work in the auto industry.
“Being a bit of a rebel child, I never wanted to do it,” Batoha said. “Then I got this opportunity to come to FCA. From Day One, I love it. This is the first time I’ve said, ‘This is where I want to spend the rest of my career.’ While I didn’t want to be in automotive growing up, I’m certainly glad that I landed here.”
— Vince Bond Jr.