In these times, when the push for globalization seems to be the thing, I was amazed when I read that Matthias Muller—just confirmed for another five years to be at the helm of Porsche—announced, almost regretfully, that after 2016, the next generation of the Cayenne suv will be no longer produced in Germany, but in Slovakia. This statement smacks of the need for justification—just like in school days—because the “Made in Germany” label is part of the brand identity, at least according to the marketing people . The fact that the suv will be produced outside of German borders will mark the first time for the Stuttgart manufacturer.
I also recently, I heard the same tone of self-justification from Mike Manley, head of Jeep, where it seemed like he went the extra mile to explain that the new Renegade produced in Melfi (the first time a Jeep hasn’t been made in America) is still a “90 percent” American-made icon. Even Sergio Marchionne, who normally cares nothing about these things being a man of finance with no automotive heredity before Fiat, let himself go last year with a “We will produce the Alfa Romeo only in Italy.” This was as if to say that the deciding factor was the “where”, instead of the “when”, or above all, the “how”.
Nonetheless, globalization is our reality. The ways in which we consume and our lifestyles have changed because of the latest economic crisis. All things considered, is it still possible to think that a Porsche made in Bratislava would lose its market appeal, or that an Alfa Romeo produced in Hiroshima would be perceived negatively?
Toyota produces its system of hybrid engines only in Japan. The system arrives in French plants, where they manufacture the Yaris, and is assembled on site. Here globalization finds itself at odds, not from a marketing standpoint, but from a Japanese philosophical standpoint. A company that is in the hands of engineers, wouldn’t trust anyone with its shadow, let alone foreign technicians . Only an economic necessity would force them to change their minds one day . Perhaps. And perhaps when that day comes, maybe Ferraris will also be made in China.