Brandy excesses

How many brands does a car company need?

The Financial Times recommends that Ford no longer needs Mercury, although it doesn’t speculate on the merits of selling it rather than closing it.

The FT also comments that “a Mercury-less Ford would resemble its Asian competitors with just two brands – mass-market and luxury.” So is that the best option for an automaker?

Well maybe most Asian automakers have just two brands, but that is not the case in Europe.

For example, Volkswagen has Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, VW (plus truck/van brands MAN, Scania and VW).

Daimler has Maybach, Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Benz, smart (plus truck/bus/van brands Detroit Diesel, Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Fuso, Orion Bus, Setra, Sterling, Thomas Built Buses, Western Star). It also has minority stakes in KAMAZ, McClaren and Tesla, and formerly owned Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.

The landscape will become more confusing as more and more Joint Ventures are formed.

But the situation is much more complex than the FT asserts.

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