Back in the 1990s, Chrysler was selling three variants of the same mid-size car. They were the Plymouth Breeze, Dodge Stratus, and Chrysler Cirrus. Chrysler was also selling three identical versions of their minivans, the Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager, Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan, and the Chrysler Town and Country. Former CEO Lee Iacocca crafted this plan to justify a luxury car's price tag based on the options that were equipped. Chrysler was able to save money on the development of three distinct vehicles with their own styling elements and could focus on the interior amenities such as leather and sound systems, etc.
This is a strategy that has been riffed on over the years to create vehicles on the same chassis that are equipped better than their sibling vehicles, but now several of these vehicles are tied to corporate grilles and designs that appear to align themselves with their lower price platform mates, instead of giving off a sense of uniqueness. Today's Acura, Infiniti and Lexus products suffer from not being distinctive enough in comparison to their respective Honda, Nissan and Toyota models.
This is where FCA has managed to make a mountain out of a molehill. FCA has one of the best infotainment systems in the business, their UConnect system. In an interesting turn of events, FCA has managed to keep the interior features of their vehicles similar, and invest in the exteriors of their vehicles to make a very diverse lineup of vehicles that maintain their individuality. This means that iconic vehicles like the Fiat 500, Dodge Charger, and Jeep Wrangler, can continue to be sold, and those profits help keep this group of icons alive and well. FCA is able to produce vehicles like the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X and market them to two entirely different demographics, and sell both of them without interfering without cannibalizing their market share.
Individualism is the exact reason why I'm so excited to see these EV companies storming the auto shows with their concepts because they look so unique and so different from everything else on the road, and that is something that brands are going to have to take notice of, if they want to survive.
What is your take on the styling of today's vehicles? What brands are doing great? Which brands need some help? Comment Below!