If you were CEO for day ...what product plans would you have approved for Photokina 2012. Leica s decisions were all predictable and make sense in the context of their business challenges .
Production capacity decisions are driving the bus . (taking priority over market or customer requirements ). After the success of the M9 and the S2 and the explosive growth in asia ...Leica simply ran out of capacity . Plans were adopted to greatly increase capacity but it required building a new plant in Wetzler and expanding the facility in Portugal . Next ..capital shortage pushed ownership to take on new partners . All this resulted in a delay of the new factory of close to a year or more .
The move to a new factory will be an enormous undertaking for Leica s management . New equipment,new production processes and the addition of significant numbers of new production technicians...will strain the limited skilled resources to the limit . Capacity actually decreases for a period before it can again increase.
At the same time ....the distribution channels and retail operations are being repositioned for the future . They need some product to sell !
So what did they really decide to do .
1. Introduce a lower priced M9 (ME) and the new Mono . These are bodies they can make at full production rates . They require very few new components and the processes in Solms etc are all in place.
2. Don t introduce ANY new M lenses ....why would you we can t make what we already have in the line . Save the designs for next year after the new M comes into production.
3. Introduce a new M based on whats possible with a change to CMOS . This is a big change but solves the "sensor supplier" issue . Now they can order in smaller quantities (at a higher price) but also work on co design efforts . Yet they need to make new M s in Solms (unless something has changed ) . The CMOS chip makes the addition of the EVF pretty straight forward and almost every new capability comes from the change in electronics .
The specification appears to be an M9 with only those changes required to move to CMOS .
OK now that we figured out what we can actually make .....turn it over to marketing to identify how we should promote the products .
You can use the same logic with the new S .