“Sir, I don’t think you understand how our pricing model works.”
It was the winter of 2004, and a sad-sack of a salesman sat at the desk across from Mrs. Bark and me at a morbidly depressing Toyota-Scion dealership near Dayton, Ohio. My dear wife was the less-than-proud owner of a 2001 Hyundai Elantra that had been the very first car she’d ever purchased new. That Elantra came with war wounds; it had been hit in the rear door a week after she bought it, and the car was so cheap that the small dent it caused wasn’t worth fixing.
We had recently become upwardly mobile, thanks to a promotion I got at work, so I wanted to buy her something nicer; something sporty, but not actually sporty. She was a graduate music student, and all of her friends drove shitboxes from the ’90s. I wanted them to know that her husband was somebody, not just another poor grad student. Alas, youthful pride.
Beyond the funky metal, there’s one element that set Scion apart from its Toyota mothership: monospec pricing.
By offering up only a single trim for each models and reducing options to paint colors, transmissions and accessories, Scion was able to market its vehicles to a different audience and offer a no-haggle sales approach.
For the 2017 model year, that monospec approach will continue, but Toyota is evaluating its future. Also, Scion’s no-haggle pricing model won’t be surviving the transition to Toyota.
Toyota officially announced Wednesday morning that Scion will “transition to Toyota,” effectively killing off the youth brand started in 2002. Its first vehicles went on sale in California in 2003, and included the xA hatchback and xB wagon.
According to a release from Toyota, Scion “is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand” and most Scion models well be rebranded as Toyotas starting August 2016 for the 2017 model year, including the forthcoming C-HR. The Scion tC will be discontinued as of August 2016.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Hyundai will spin off Genesis as a global premium brand to compete with German automakers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi. The news agency quoted sources “close” to the company and said an announcement could come as early as Tuesday.
Hyundai didn’t comment on the report.
According to Reuters, Hyundai would launch Genesis with the Genesis sedan — and possibly coupe — and the Equus sedan. Genesis would add a mid-size SUV around 2019.
We tend to armchair quarterback what’s wrong with specific automotive brands quite a bit in the TTAC comments. Meanwhile, there are people in the real world who get caught up in what’s actually wrong with some of these brands’ products by buying them — for example: the Buick Regal GS.
I owned a 2013 Regal GS manual, bought brand new in Jan 2014 and sold (at a loss) on December 31 2014.
This should be good.
As Tim Cain alluded to earlier this month while speaking of Encore sales, Buick is in a bit of a rut. In a market that’s growing with many brands seeing best-ever sales periods, Buick is being propped up by a single model, its cute-ute Encore. That’s not enough to stave off the downward sales trend of its other offerings as the brand as a whole is down 5 percent year-to-date.
Armchair analysts and pool chair pundits – this is your time to shine. Let’s fix Buick in 24 hours.
Aside from not presenting cars on BBC anymore, former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson won’t be appearing on another BBC program, as well.
No longer will Lyft drivers have to worry about their fuzzy pink mustache plushies becoming gross after a day in the rain, thanks to a new upscale display.
It is not our intention to pile on poor Cadillac after our recent discussion, but comments made last week by the automaker’s marketing manager Ewe Ellinghaus must be noted. Speaking to Advertising Age, he repeated the new company mantra about the carmaker becoming a “the first luxury brand that happens to make cars,” and then added:
“When I recruit new people, I don’t need petrolheads. We have more than enough petrolheads and we will still. I need people with experiences in other industries, but with luxury brands.”
We must assume that Ellinghaus, most recently with Montblanc pens and formerly with BMW, was using the European term equivalent to what we call a “car guy” or “car gal.” If so, Cadillac’s future is as bleak as the B&B thinks it is, and not just because of products. (Read More…)
Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015.