Nothing drives like a Mercedes. Toyotas are reliable… but expensive. Honda makes great stickshifts. 20 years ago you could say all of these statements with complete confidence. The world had been a simpler place with brands that offered a very stringent range of offerings to a very particular audience. Now it seems that all the lines of differentiation have been smudged and greyed out.
Subaru, a brand that had been one of the ultimate niche brand providers for decades is now diving headlong into the mainstream. VW is right there behind them with a line-up that ranges from de-contented Jettas to Porsche shared Touaregs. Scion, Toyota’s youth brand, has been supersized for the middle-aged. Buicks are all of a sudden sporty. Chrysler now offers premium interiors. And Honda? Who knows? Except TTAC’s Best & Brightest. What would you say is a ‘given’ in today’s market as far as brands go.