By on November 15, 2019

At a private event in Rome this week, Ferrari introduced its newest model — the Roma. Described by Ferrari Commercial Director Enrico Galliera as an automobile for “people who would like to drive a sports car, or a Ferrari, but are a little bit afraid of Ferrari and sportscars,” it boasts one of the worst marketing taglines imaginable.

It also has a key fob that’s embarrassing to carry around — assuming shame is an emotion still within your repertoire.

While high-performance exotics aren’t widely known for being tasteful, Ferrari has always had a thin veneer of respectability brands like Lamborghini lacked. Owning one gave off the impression that you might have a mild appreciation for brand heritage or some interest in motorsport. At the very least, the prevailing prejudices would presume you were a probably a car snob with strong opinions and nuanced tastes.

Unfortunately, the Roma (Rome) and its gaudy key are helping to dissipate that formerly effective illusion.  (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

Mazda’s new “Feel Alive” advertising campaign places consumers as its focal point as the company tries to market itself as an upscale and hip, enthusiast-oriented brand. On Monday, Mazda launched the first commercial — a borderline insulting collection of superficial phrases intended to get you excited about the brand’s new identity.

The spot itself is about as boilerplate new-millennium luxury car commercial as it gets. It opens with a series of attractive actors, all on the cusp of an important moment, as the narrator offers bizarrely simplistic lines of encouragement like “do that thing” and “take that step.” Granted, auto ads became far getting far less chatty about specs during the 1990s. But, over the last decade, too many car spots seem to be copying perfume ads — strange adventures in abstraction that say nothing about the product and cost a fortune to produce. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

Genesis G70

Hyundai Motor America and its U.S. Genesis division sent messages to Hyundai dealers this week, alerting them to the formation of an independent Genesis dealer network. Hyundai’s recently created luxury marque wants space between it and its value-focused sister division, and that means the need for standalone stores.

Shared showrooms simply won’t cut it anymore.

Right now, Genesis customers in the United States can purchase models at roughly 350 Hyundai dealers, but not for long. The plan calls for just 100 standalone stores as a starting point. If you’re a Hyundai dealer with dreams of selling a higher class of vehicles, this is your opportunity — but your chances of being selected might not be as high as those dealers already selling the brand. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2017

2017 Toyota C-HR Turkey assembly plant

Toyota has been the brand par excellence in terms of quality and reliability for as far back as many of us can remember. But, as value became its hallmark, someone decided to turn the excitement volume down to a faint whisper — breaking the knob off entirely in the mid-2000s, when the MR-2 and Celica were discontinued. Even with the company’s introduction of the 86 in 2013, its mainstream designs were about as safe a play as one could make.

If you haven’t noticed (let’s face it, you have) Toyota’s styling has changed immensely of late. The automaker has a new attitude and affixed angry gaping maws onto the core brand and added folds to the bodywork we never would have anticipated.

This wasn’t an accident. Toyota is intentionally trying to push the envelope in terms of design and rattle a few cages along the way. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Co., decreed that boring cars would be a thing of past and has given designers the means in which to accomplish that goal.  (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 February 26, 2014

2015-Acura-TLX-Concept-First-Look-Video-Main-Art

A 10 percent drop in sales experienced by Acura in 2013 has led parent company Honda to form a new business planning and development group with the long-term goal of overhauling the brand’s identity.

(Read More…)

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