The Last Company To Produce A Car This Ugly Went Out Of Business
If you haven’t seen the secretly obtained photo of the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, than put down your coffee (or beer) and try not to do a spit-take all over your keyboard.
Ugly, right? Not just ugly, but really, really ugly. Pontiac Aztek ugly.
And comparing this new Jeep to the Aztek is 100% on-point, because the last company to make a car this ugly went out of business.
Simply stated, the design failure of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee may very well be evidence of severe problems at Chrysler-Fiat.
Major Design Failures Represent Major Business Failures
To understand the gravity of this failure, you have to understand the design process.
- A designer comes up with an idea. He (or she) works through this concept with a team of designers, all of whom work together to come up with something they like well enough to send it up the chain.
- A vehicle manager (typically the guy or gal in charge of producing the vehicle from beginning to end) will review the designs, tweak them, and then move them up the chain for approval.
- Someone very senior – perhaps even the head of the company – will review the design, weigh in on changes/adjustments, and then give tacit or explicit approval to proceed.
The point? There were multiple people involved in this failure. Dozens, perhaps. When we see an ugly car make it all the way to production, we’re seeing evidence of a failed process. Everyone in the chain – from the designer on up to Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne himself – is partially to blame.
To be fair, perhaps these photos aren’t the actual production model. Perhaps the lighting is really bad, or perhaps this car looks much better in person than it does online.
Still, Jeep’s failure here could have widespread consequences.
Business Failures Lead to Failed Businesses
Finally, it’s important to recognize that business failures like this can be an indication of a company’s ultimate undoing. When Pontiac produced the Aztek to public ridicule, it was more than just a lemon. It was their undoing. From CarThrottle.com:
[the Aztek] is arguably the number one reason for the failure of the Pontiac brand…the Aztek Concept was actually pretty radical, and would have fit into the Pontiac Stable quite nicely. However, after the production engineers and the cost accountants had their say in cutting the budget, the end product was one of the most horrendous products ever to be put on sale…this particular car will be used as an example of bad decisions in business schools across the country for years to come
While I’m not sure if the 2014 Cherokee’s failed design is due to cost-cutting, and I really don’t think Jeep is going to file bankruptcy, I continue to believe that Chrysler-Fiat’s future (and the future of the Ram brand as well) is very much up in the air. From huge drops in projected cash-flow to major problems turning a profit in Europe, Chrysler-Fiat is not without challenges.
Add in a major blunder like the 2014 Cherokee, and there’s good reason to question the company’s future.
Filed Under: Auto News