The Truth About Cars » brand equity The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » brand equity Piston Slap: Modern Sleeper, Future Classic? Tue, 25 Dec 2012 11:46:53 +0000 TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:

Hey Sajeev,

While watching the Mecum auto auctions recently, a beautiful Plymouth GTX came thru on the auction block. It got me thinking about the rash of brand-icide we’ve seen these past ten or so years. As they pass, others come in.

So my question is, are the newbies up to the task? I know Olds, Pontiac and Plymouth kind of slid into oblivion after the glory days but will there be a newly minted brand that you think will have staying power and be a “classic”? Or perhaps an already existing one?

Sajeev answers:

History is a bizarre thing: when my 1988 Cougar was new, it was quite the head turner.  One person tangentially connected to our family was enamored with it.  But, 10 years ago, nobody understood why I was pumping thousands into its resto-modification treatment. Why not do it to a Fox Mustang? It’s easier! Why not get an LT-1 Camaro instead?  That’s a waaay better car, right?

But these days I drive the Cougar on the highway and necks snap to witness its sleek, quasi-aero 1980s monochrome red coachwork. Drunk guys at local bars yell out “COOOUGAR” when it rumbles out of the parking lot: as if somehow it knows Courtney Cox, etc. I like my damn car for my reasons…but I see how cars become moderately-desirable classics with inherent, unexpected future value.

Am I expecting the Cougar to be somewhat valuable 20 years from now?  No, and I don’t care either. Ferrari, Corvette, Lamborghini, Mustang, Ford GT, Camaro, Viper, etc.  They are the obvious future classics.

So here are some forgotten models from modern brands that I think will, unlike my Cougar, be hot auction fodder:

  1. Acura Integra: A fantastic machine in every respect, with a cult following.  Definitely a car that will shine on in the auctions of the future.  And if it’s a Type R?  LOOK OUT!
  2. Subaru WRX/Mitsubishi EVO:  these turbo-beasties will be great collector car fodder, and rare too!  How often do you see a 5+ year old model that’s clean, low mile, UNMODIFIED in the used car market right now?
  3. V-series Cadillacs:  they are the spiritual successor to the performance Pontiacs from the 60s and 70s. While an STS-V may be valuable like those Gran Prixs with the 8-lug wheels, the CTS-V is most certainly the next GTO Judge.
  4. Lexus Coupes, V8 sedans: See above, except change the Pontiac reference to Cadillac. The SC ad LS have a loyal following both in new and used car markets for their top drawer appointments and reputation for being the best of the best. That won’t change in the future, especially for the SC 300/400.
  5. Anything Hyundai Genesis: they look decent, are RWD, and have a chance to really make an impact to those displaced by Pontiac, Olds, Plymouth, Mercury, Lincoln, Cadillac, etc. Like Apple products’ mass appeal these days, they will get better as time marches on.
  6. Scion xB (first-gen) and FR-S: even if it doesn’t live up to the hype for you, these will be a hot commodity.
  7. Teslas, Fiskers:  these proto-mainstream hybrid playtoys for rich people point to a future when Hybrids are more than just a trim job on a Lexus, or a boring Prius.  Think about the star-crossed DeLorean’s appeal these days.
  8. Honda Civic CRX, Si: while all CRXs are cool, I’m referring only to the Si’s from 1990s. It’s hard to argue with their mass appeal and silly amounts of driving fun. Everyone loves them, and we never forgot their awesomeness.
  9. Any SRT/SVT product:  collectors tend to wet themselves at the sight of a bone-stock, low mile, HEMI from the 70s these days.  Expect the same from the SRT brand in the future. Ford’s SVT group will do the same, Focus and Contour aside.
  10. Toyota Supra, Mk IV: the positively heroic amounts of power made from tweaked Turbo Supras made this machine a God among men. Even clean non-turbo models fetch good money these days, and that will continue.
  11. 2013 Lincoln MKZ:  just kidding. The Kia Optima has a better chance at being a collector’s item!
  12. Nissan GT-R: this will be the matching numbers, L-88 Corvette for the next generation.
  13. Lexus LFA: see above, except change L-88 to ZL-l.
  14. Anything HUMMER: yes, it’s already a dead brand, but SUVs will do well in the collector car market of our future.  And there’s no better SUV statement than the Hummer H2 Alpha, especially in douchebag yellow.
  15. Any BMW M product:  Most every M3 will command a high dollar in tommorow’s import centric collector car market.  Who hasn’t loved driving one?  Who wouldn’t want one when they have more disposable income? My favorite will be the E39 M5.
  16. Anything AMG: see above.
  17. Anything AMG Black Series: see above, and multiply by 5.
  18. Porsche Boxster/Cayman:  they sell many more Porkers these days…which makes for a bigger following. Maybe not muscle car big, but you get the point. And with a more accessible market today comes a hotter collector market in the future.
  19. Mercury Marauder, anything Panther:  okay, this is total bullshit. But if I say “PANTHER LOVE” enough for the next 30 years…right???
Food for thought.  Have a great Christmas Day!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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100 Best Global Brands List Is Sweet And Sour For Toyota. Fri, 17 Sep 2010 18:27:58 +0000

Despite rising global sales and recording good profits ( Ray LaHood’s best attempts just aren’t good enough), the bad news keeps coming in for Toyota. Recently, Toyota lost a preliminary hearing that ruled they hid safety evidence (I think it’s safe to say that Dimitrios Biller is off Toyota’s Christmas card list). Now their brand has taken an official  hit.

Interbrand has compiled their annual 100 best global brands list. Toyota has slipped from 8th (previous year) to 11th (this year). According to Insideline, Toyota lost 16 percent of its brand value this year. The reasons cited for this fall were (as, I’m sure, you can guess) the recalls, the court hearings, etc. But it wasn’t all bad news. You see, despite losing 16 percent of its brand value, the Toyota brand still remains the top ranking car brand in the list. Car brands as a whole have suffered a loss of respect.  Close behind Toyota in 12th was Mercedes-Benz, BMW came in at 15th. Honda, also, took a bit of a pounding dropping from 18th (last year) to 20th (this year). Volkswagen jumped two spots from 55th (last year) to 53rd (this year). As with all surveys, Hyundai came out as the biggest improver, jumping 4 places from 69th to 65th.

Quite curiously, Ford, despite achieving record sales, mega profits and a good press, actually slipped one place from 49th (last year) to 50th (this year). But before the GM fan boys start crowing about Toyota’s and Ford’s slip, hold your tongues. Take a look at the full list and see if you can find Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC or Buick on it.

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Brazil: VW And GM Squander Brand Equity Mon, 13 Sep 2010 15:33:34 +0000

Wolfsburg must be fuming. Among all the good news coming in from all corners of the earth, there’s a market that insists on being the proverbial thorn in their side. That’d be my little ole Brazil, which is, en passant, the world’s fourth largest. And it’s a market where Volkswagen has been nearly forever. Well-known Brazilian automotive journalist Fernando Calmon, writing for the just-auto website, reports a major shakeup in automotive brand values in Brazil (can you feel the ground shaking a little?). Mr. Calmon, citing the Brand Finance consultancy, reports that the most valuable car brand in Brazil is…


Yes those little Italian rascals have taken over from VW and GM. The study refers to 2009 and Fiat took first place among car makers by default. It retained the 10th place (among all brands present in the Brazilian market, not just cars), it earned in 2008. GM, however, which had ranked 8th in 2008, dropped to 13th in 2009. The big shocker though was perennial leader VeeDub. Its fall was even worse than Chevy’s. Just two years ago it was 4th. Last year it was just 12th. Brand equity of all car makers depreciated faster than a new car driving off the dealer’s lot. Only Fiat held its value.

Among the reasons for VW’s fall from grace is the trouble facing its mission critical Gol. Market leader for the past 23 years, it was totally re-skinned, re-engineered and re-launched last year. As a result, improved sales, the chance to overtake Fiat and again be on top, but then…disaster! 4 recalls in little more than a year really took its toll on the little car.  Red card for the Gol. These troubles no doubt helped pave the way for Fiat’s mission critical Uno. The Gol is now in the fight of its life for first place. Among other cars in VW’s lineup, most are underperforming. Just the Fox is conquering sales. The recently launched Amarok may well be a flop. Mr. Calmon also notes that VW is having difficulties with its dealer network. Complaints and unhappy customers abound.

According to the Mr. Calmon’s report, GM’s woes are of a different nature. First off are worried Brazilian consumers concerned over headquarter’s bankruptcy and subsequent nationalization. That can take the luster off many a brand. Also cited are persistent complaints over perceived drop in quality. Call it a perception gap, but Brazilian consumers are calling it like they see it. When GM do Brasil’s products came from Opel, Brazilians were proud to drive the bowtie’s offerings. Now that they are all being substituted by a more easterly source of engineering, color Brazilians unimpressed. So negatively impressed that it has precipitated the General’s downfall. Chevy has announced measures to correct this though that remains to be seen. Not to mention to be felt by the Brazilian consumer.

The Brand Consultancy study rings true. It reflects what’s going on in our market. A unique, a little offbeat market that is, nonetheless, one of the world’s most important. Not only in terms of size, but also in potential for growth. Makers should be wary and judiciously study what’s going on here. An important part of their future is here. This market is slowly, but surely maturing. It is also becoming less and less tolerant of mistakes and blunders.

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