Category: Branding

By on July 14, 2017

Hyundai i30N Nurburgring 24h - Image: HyundaiIn Hyundai’s mind, consumers now know the brand builds reliable cars. Quality cars. Attractive cars. “But now we have the knowledge to add sportiness to that image,” says Klaus Köster, Hyundai’s European director for high performance vehicle development.

The Hyundai i30 N, essentially a high-performance version of the Hyundai Elantra GT that Americans will soon be able to purchase in less powerful iterations, is instantly becoming the foundation for a Hyundai brand that wants to be taken more seriously for its athleticism.

Just as the i30 N spent much of its development time at Hyundai’s six-year-old technical center beside Germany’s iconic Nürburgring circuit, now every Hyundai will be assessed at the Nürburgring.

The Santa Fe’s ‘Ring time probably won’t be published. Read More >

By on July 6, 2017

2003-2008 lincoln town car (public domain)

It’s been an interesting few years at Ford Motor Company, especially for the automaker’s prestige marque. Ever since Ford decided that reviving the listless Lincoln brand with a life-giving cash infusion was the right way forward, watching the division reconcile its unsavory near-past and mouth-watering distant past with its present and future has become a source of amusement.

Not to say that Lincoln’s executives and PR teams are stumbling like Gerald Ford. Far from it. However, sometimes a statement causes a “whoa, hold on a minute” moment that’s too big to ignore. Read More >

By on June 23, 2017

A Frat Bro in Cadillac Country

“Pshhh, it’s not that fast. Your car is faster,” the young man wearing the Alpha Gamma Delta shirt said to his blonde companion. We were in the parking lot of a stadium in Orange County, under the shade of a white tent with a Cadillac logo, beside a sign reading: “ACCELERATION.” It was unclear which Cadillac he was disparaging, as both the ATS-V and CTS-V were available for full-throttle rips. He may have been trying to goad his girlfriend into driving, but the trash talk indicated this was no press junket.

Welcome to the Southern California edition of Cadillac’s Truth + Dare summer tour across America.

Two weeks earlier, I was wondering how the hell I was targeted on Twitter by a Cadillac ad with an invitation to a ride-and-drive event. For financial reasons, “automotive journalist” doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Cadillac customer. My BMW Z3 recently celebrated its 20th birthday. But they weren’t asking for my tax returns and I’m fascinated by the Cadillac brand, so this seemed like an opportunity to see how they present themselves to the public. All I had to do was drive from Los Angeles to Anaheim on a Friday at 2:00 p.m. Read More >

By on June 21, 2017

Polestar logo, Image: Volvo Cars

Think of it as a green brand known for producing some very blue cars. Polestar, Volvo’s performance wing, will be spun off into an electrified automaker under a new plan from the Swedish car manufacturer.

Expected to do battle with the likes of Tesla and BMW’s i sub-brand, future Polestars — like their gasoline-powered predecessors — will stake out space in the performance arena, only this time in a different niche. Read More >

By on May 30, 2017

2017 Genesis G80 winter mountains - Image: Genesis Motors

Amid stagnating U.S. sales, a crash-dive in China, and a product lineup not optimally suited for growth, Hyundai is furiously crafting a salvation plan.

In North America and other utility-loving countries, the strategy is clear: more crossovers and a significant product shakeup. The little Kona is already on the way, though perhaps not as quickly as Hyundai had hoped.

China, however, presents a serious problem for the automaker. What was supposed to be a growth market for the company has now turned into the opposite. Hyundai’s share of the market has shrunk to 5 percent from last year’s 8.1 percent, which was down from years past. In March alone, after news of South Korea’s installation of a U.S.-supplied anti-missile defense system, Hyundai and Kia sales dropped 52 percent.

Determined to make the Chinese fall back into love, the automaker has a plan brewing. Read More >

By on May 8, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Cadillac’s controversial 2015 move from its Detroit birthplace to the glittering spires of Manhattan is already showing signs of working, says the brand’s stern and methodical president.

By packing their bags and heading to Soho, Cadillac’s braintrust hoped the brand’s swanky new digs would rub off, distancing it from the likes of GMC and Chevrolet and helping to pull in discerning new customers. So far, Cadillac is — just not in its home country. Read More >

By on February 3, 2017

BOOK by Cadillac Website

General Motors’ luxury division isn’t content with brewing coffee and showing off fashionable new threads at its new SoHo space — it also wants you to drive its cars.

Book by Cadillac, a monthly subscription lease service that launched one month ago, aims to get more people in the metal to the tune of $1,500 a month — and 24/7 Wall St. is already calling it a “major flop.”

According to the self-described “financial news and opinion” website, “[Uwe] Ellinghaus [Cadillac’s chief marketing officer] in particular has to be humiliated,” as there aren’t enough subscriptions available to supply the demand.

Say what now?

Read More >

By on December 13, 2016

Toyota Yaris Gazoo WRC

As it prepares to return to the World Rally Championship after a 17-year absence, Toyota and its Gazoo racing division just revealed a piece of brain candy for hot hatch lovers.

Making sky-high horsepower from its diminutive four-cylinder, the Toyota Yaris WRC hits the pavement — and dirt and snow — in Monte Carlo next month, but the vehicle itself could spell a less buttoned-down future for the brand. Read More >

By on December 2, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 R/T exterior badging, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Don’t you hate it when you’ve bragged to your friends for months about the brawny V8 engine in your Ram 1500, only to check the oil one day and discover it’s a V6?

That’s the joke Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accidentally played after a badging mix-up at the assembly plant. Also in the news this week is a Canadian town that tortures drunk drivers with godawful Nickelback tunes, as well as an Australian suspect who stopped for gas a number of times during a high-speed police pursuit.

Read More >

By on November 23, 2016

2017 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4 EcoDiesel

Fearing a backlash from die-hard Ram loyalists, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives seem hesitant to move the next-generation 1500 pickup away from the styling that’s made it a bright sales light in the FCA portfolio.

Still, as much as they’d like to avoid it, many say the time has come to drop Ram’s most signature design element — the crosshair grille. Read More >

By on October 17, 2016

Lynk & Co

When word of Lynk & Co first trickled out, the yet-to-be-revealed global car brand sounded exactly like a garden variety mobility company. Oh, there’ll be ride-sharing and apps and all that, we thought.

Then the brand revealed that an actual real, physical vehicle is on the way. Developed from Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, the model will debut on October 20. And while we have some teaser images, the company — a subsidiary of Chinese Volvo parent company Geely — remains maddeningly vague about what its future. Read More >

By on October 15, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler

After posting sales gains that most automakers would sell their souls for, Jeep’s skyrocketing climb hit the upper limits of the atmosphere in September, with sales dropping by 3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Maybe the Jeep brand isn’t bigger than Jesus. With the new vehicle market cooling off and two of its oldest — but still strong-selling — models being pared down to one, Jeep needs to branch out to keep the momentum going.

It has products up its sleeve — a Wrangler pickup and $140,000 luxo-ute to name a couple — and has factories planned for developing nations everywhere, but Jeep could reap a sales reward if it stopped screwing up in one obvious but overlooked market. Read More >

By on October 14, 2016

lynk

Forget Chevrolet’s cringe-inducing launch of the first-generation Spark — this could be the biggest hipster Millennial marketing/branding effort to date.

Naturally, it’s for an affordable car brand, but with a difference: this brand is completely new and its products have yet to be revealed. Lynk & Co, a new subsidiary of Volvo parent company Geely, launches on October 20, Reuters reports, and it’s clear it wants to be every free-spirited young adult’s first car. Read More >

By on October 10, 2016

2017 Ram 1500 Lone Star Silver

Apparently, the 2017 Ram 1500 Lone Star Silver Edition was such a hit at the State Fair of Texas, visitors stole the badge off of both trucks.

Located in a lower corner of the truck’s chrome mesh grille, the badge lets everyone know that this isn’t just any other Ram model. Texas-sized amounts of polished metal and chrome are other giveaways.

Unfortunately for Ram representatives at the fair, those badges walked away as milled aluminum bling, possibly bound for a hat, vest or belt. Read More >

By on October 6, 2016

2014-Jeep-Cherokee-009

The Jeep brand can seemingly do no wrong, at least on its balance sheet, but are consumers ready to shell out six figures for a top-flight SUV with a seven-slot grille?

That’s the price range Jeep plans to probe with its upcoming Grand Wagoneer, the uppermost of two luxury vehicles designed to slot above the Grand Cherokee, Auto Express reports. Read More >

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