Riporto solo alcune frasi. È interessante leggere tutto l’articolo. Alla fine, la strategia di Marchionne viene giudicata corretta.

Fiat’s Smart U.S. Launch Strategy — Really – Stephen Wunker – Harvard Business Review: “The automotive press has been relentlessly critical of Chrysler CEO Sergio Marcchione — savior of Chrysler and Italy’s auto industry — about Fiat’s return to the United States. The company’s initial foray, the Fiat 500, sold only about 26,000 units in its first year, far short of Marcchione’s 50,000 unit goal. Yet the carping misses the conundrum faced by companies planning market entry — for Fiat to get big in the U.S. market, it had to start tiny.

I’m not saying the launch was perfect. Some dealers were in decidedly unstylish locations. Urban chic goes only so far when it’s set amid fast food restaurants and strip malls. The launch would have been stronger had it been coupled with other Fiat cars or the Alfa Romeo line, which will appear in the U.S. in the next two years. Perhaps service appointments could have been directed elsewhere, although this is where many auto dealers make the bulk of their profits. Marcchione has taken some blame for execution issues, but he doesn’t sound too sorry about the basic strategy. And he shouldn’t be.

Foothold strategies are counter-intuitive. They enable a concept to get big by intentionally starting small, in a channel dedicated to making the proposition stand out. They often target small sets of customers who are can be reached inexpensively. Because the customer is so well-defined, initial versions of the product don’t need to be all things to all people, so the concept can come to market relatively quickly and inexpensively. Feedback from initial customers can lead to rapid revisions of the idea. Even in the automotive industry, with its long development cycles and high upfront costs, Fiat could have held back on some vehicle options for its initial launch, and it could quickly revise the presentation of the 500 in its dealers and customer communications.

A foothold approach wouldn’t have been appropriate for a new Dodge minivan. But for a product attracting a new customer type, carving out a new market position, and highly reliant on image rather than pure function, it can be critical. Fiat’s initial U.S. launch may have disappointed, but the company is now set up well for long-term success.”