What happened in Detroit? It is hardly mentioned in the news but one of the most depressed and almost third world cities is in the U.S.A. – Detroit, Michigan.
A few years ago when the economy tanked in the US and the government bailed out the banks (don’t get me started) many communities were hit hard. There were housing speculators and people with big houses who just walked away from their homes and went bankrupt all over the USA.
But Detroit was just destroyed completely as the median selling price of a home fell to around $7,000 US. (Cheaper than a car!)
Detroit is making a bit of a comeback as things are slowly improving, house prices are rising and there may be hope for their auto industry again.
I really liked the Chrysler commercial that aired during half time of last years Super Bowl with Clint Eastwood.
It is way over the top and melodramatic but I love that kind of film, especially when it is edited well.
So Detroit was hurt, and Chrysler is now selling itself as making a comeback. They have my attention, but is the product going to hold up? We will take a look, but to be honest I don’t think we will be buying American for our next car.
If they have truly made an outstanding car, we may be tempted but it is going to have to be at least 2 or 3 times better than the cars made by Honda or Toyota.
This is why the Product “P” is the first “P” discussed in Marketing 101 classes. It doesn’t matter what the price is, where you sell it or how great your ads are if the product stinks.
And Detroit made a lot of stinkers for a long time. It may have been part of their strategy in that crappy cars need to be repaired often and the real money is in parts and maintenance. But I think it backfired (see what I did there?) on them when a generation (or two) came to think of American cars as inferior. Honda and Toyota focused on a quality product and held the long term view that these customers would tell their friends and buy another one in a decade or so.
I do hope Detroit recovers as the pictures of a once proud American city are shocking.
Focus on the product, and let the rest take care of itself.
Or am I just being too naive? Maybe, but I like the long term view that is not so cynical.