Question of the Day: Brands or Products?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day brands or products

Hang around Herr Farago long enough and you'll eventually hear, "The Brand isn't everything; it's the only thing." Of course I've made a pretty good career out of disagreeing with Farago about nearly everything. See, I believe that products trump brand. Case in point, Porsche. The Cayenne was a brand killer, right? A travesty of all that Porsche stands for and all that Porschephiles believe in. And I agree with them totally. Except for the Turbo model, a vehicle so good in so many ways that I want one. And remember, to the brand faithful, the mid-engined (and therefor sacrilegious) Boxster is just as terrible as the Cayenne, even if the little roadster is more fun to drive than big daddy 911. Or how about Volkswagen. Personally, I've never cared for many VWs. Sure, I like GTIs just fine but aside from (some of) those, pass. However, I loved the brand defying Touraeg V10 TDI and I lust after a Phaeton. The latter being one of the best cars ever made, badge be damned. And I'm fine with that. And how about Buick? They've got their brand down pat (old people and old people who golf) but I'm not interested in any of their products, even as loaner press cars. But what about Jaguar? A friend of mine asked for my advice on a car. Turned out he decided his 12-year-old Plymouth Breeze just wasn't saying all the right things about him, and he wanted a vehicle that broadcast his socio-economic achievements to the world. "So I'm thinking something upmarket, like an Audi A4 or a Jaguar X-Type." I was taken aback. Jaguar X-Type? Why on earth would he want one of those? "It's a Jaguar, they're classy." Really?

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  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Aug 20, 2008

    Cars that defy their brand: Chevrolet Corvette Hyundai Genesis Pontiac G8 (or the opposite - all Pontiacs BUT the G8) VW Toureg V12 All current Acuras No longer sold: VW Phaeton Volvo R Wagons The one thing they have in common is that, except for Acura, they were/are all GREAT cars. The brand is a lot, but it ain't everything. At least to those who care more about the product than the message said product delivers to those other than the buyer.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Aug 20, 2008

    NulloModo- If you drive the Wrangler on the road you're an idiot and deserve the poor ride and lack of "luxury". Buy something else, the Wrangler is unbeatable off road. geotpf- millions of people think like you. Toyota reliability is the strongest branding in the car world. Vacuum Cleaners- classic Electrolux/Aerus over all. Especially a classic metal Electrolux canister that still has the braided hose.

  • Windswords Windswords on Aug 20, 2008

    iNeon: "Windswords– It’s called the PT because it’s a variant of the neon platform; PL." True dat, but it was always meant to be a Plymouth. The PT designation had that meaning (Plymouth Truck) within the corporation and it was no coincidence when they chose it as the platform code. Chrysler was never supposed to get a vehicle that based MSRP'd for $17,000.

  • Johnster Johnster on Aug 21, 2008

    Sometimes, even a seemingly good brand image can hurt the brand and the individual models. I remember once reading about someone who described the BMW lineup (at the time it consisted of the 3, 5, 6, and 7-series) as being good cars, but that they all too much alike, as if they were links of sausage cut into different lengths.