FCA: business plan or image campaign?

Alfa Romeo 4C FCA

The five-years plan recently announced by the FCA President John Elkann and the CEO Marchionne has been commented, criticized and evaluated (in a positive and negative direction) by the Stock market.

It certainly has had a wide media space, has generated great expectations among workers but also among consumers and potential Customers.
To me this is a good advertising campaign for the Group and in particular for some Brands, first of all for Alfa Romeo but also for Jeep, Maserati and Fiat in itself.
I think the cut of the interventions were targeted to speak not only to banks, investors, workers and politicians, but also and above all to Customers, to those lost because of lack of role models, those uncertain or waiting to see a complete range of time stopped or not renewed.

If this was one of the targets, you can tell achieved.
Media spaces employed and visibility are worth a lot of money and represent a good investment, in this case obtained without having to resort to challenging advertising campaign about the brand.
The “plan” turns to Customers of all Brands, or almost:

  • To customers of Alfa, which after years finally seems to have a flagship and dedicated engines;
  • To Jeep ones, that nowadays are several on the road
  • To Maserati ones or aspiring-ones (who in Italy, unfortunately, must face a revenue not so friendly);
  • It turns to Fiat which will have again – at least- a spider in range.

It doesn’t turn to Lancia, but maybe there’s nothing to say no more!
The disappearance of the mark was announced long ago, in words and deeds.

The Lancia management in recent years rather than a comprehensive strategy of production and communication seems to turn to experiment. Experiments in some cases a bit confused- and confusing- and difficult to understand: think about Flavia, grafting of a typical American product “baptized” with a name from the history of Lancia.
The Lancia future, if there will be one, seems to be limited to Y model.

The Lancia fate seems to remember that of another historical Brand, Autobianchi, which comes from Fiat Group as laboratory of experiments and innovations, in some cases conducted also successfully. This is the case of Primula, the first car of the Fiat Group in front-wheel drive or the Bianchina, the first experiment of luxury subcompact.

Not to mention the Stellina, perhaps the most revolutionary and transgressive model designed and put into production by the Fiat management (by Autobianchi brand).
Few remember it, also because it wasn’t a commercially successful: just over 500 cars produced in four years from 1963 to 1966.
The Stellina, a small spider with lines of the bodywork very linear for the time, with a 760hp engine and fiberglass body – in “plastic” as it was called at that time- was too avant-garde!

In 1986 it was replaced by Y10, branded by Lancia for foreign markets and that only for Italy it kept the brand-name Autobianchi.
At the end of 1995, the brand finally disappeared.

It seems that we are close to an historical nemesis.

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