Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Coke and Pepsi Syndrome of the Automotive Industry?

I’m a big car guy – the classics are my favorite. Give me a 64 Corvette or a 69 Chevelle SS and I’ll work on it for hours.  Old cars had character, workable engines, a story that went with their designs and owners. Looking at cars now, you have to wonder who hit the “Copy/Paste” button across the major automotive giants and their current product lines.

To me, this plays hand in hand with our Coke/Pepsi experiment that we had in class. Granted this Wisconsinite soda (NOT POP) drinker failed miserably at discerning the difference between Coke and Pepsi samples (except for the generic one…HAD to include that), I instantly drew parallels to the news that Infiniti had named a new product strategy head, Francois Bancon.

With a long history at Infinity, Bancon obviously knows his stuff, with the current president Johan de Nysschen gushing over his skill and insights: "Francois' product experience, his passion, and in particular his in-depth knowledge of future product trends, will be key assets as we continue to craft our future portfolio" (Gain 1).

Looking to the future, “Infiniti is in the middle of a major transformation setting itself up for growth in the premium automotive segment” (INFINITY 1). Much like Coke and Pepsi breaking out the Diet drinks and other beverages in their gargantuan families, Infiniti is laying the foundation for an extreme product overhaul. Considering that “by 2018, the company plans to have product entries in approximately 80 percent of the premium market” (INFINITY 1), should others be worried or will they fall to the wayside like others before them?

One has to question whether Infinity will make it in the future. Have all cars become nuisance substitutes of each other with all car companies riding each others’ coat tails and sticking with a design they feel may last for the next some-odd years? Does a new coat of paint or a new engine equate to the results we have seen with new packaging and ingredients for carbonated beverages? Only time will tell.

Gain, Bruce. "Infiniti Names New Product Strategy Head." Automotive News. Crain Communications, Inc., 27 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.

INFINITY. "Francois Bancon Named Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy." Nissan Online Newsroom. Infinity, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.

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