Chrysler Rethinks Idea of Selling
Many Versions of the Same Car


Feb 25, NY Times

Long before scientists started cloning sheep and cows, Detroit was cloning cars. But now, it's not so clear that replication leads to addition when it comes to sales.

The idea that car makers can make money selling consumers the same basic vehicle in different guises has been fundamental to the business since the days of Alfred P. Sloan, the architect of the modern General Motors Corp. Mr. Sloan perfected the idea of the brand ladder -- Chevy at the bottom, Cadillac at the top and Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick in between. Over the years, those middle brands were increasingly stocked with cars that were basically fancier versions of the Chevrolet design.

More recently, just about every auto executive assigned to turnaround a car company has established building more vehicles from "common platforms" as a cornerstone of the strategy to regain profitability.

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