Tag: Branding

By on May 23, 2019

Everyone’s heard of Yugo — the Yugoslavian brand that tried to shift cheap cars on North American shores in the late Eighties and early Nineties. Their terrible overall quality and general disposable nature means there are very few left today in any sort of presentable condition for Rare Rides. Today’s red beauty is an exception, and it may just be the rarest of the breed.

Let’s check out the super sporty GVX version, from 1988.

(Read More…)

By on May 22, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a sporting luxury coupe with a complex rotary engine. It’s a car which was destined for America, but never quite made it.

It is, of course, the Eunos Cosmo. By Mazda.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2019

They used to be commonplace, but the last decade or so has seen this automotive phenomenon fade from memory. Today we talk special branded editions, and how it’s time for them to make a comeback.

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By on February 26, 2019

Image: VW

There’s a reason for the use of upper-case letters — the Volkswagen Jetta is still a car model sold in China, and a quite popular one at that, while JETTA is a new brand aimed at entry-level consumers in that mega market.

VW is an incredibly big deal in the world’s most car-hungry country, eating up a considerable share of China’s mainstream vehicle segments. The brand sold 3.11 million vehicles in China last year. However, its presence at the bottom end of the market isn’t quite as strong, and there remains many millions of Chinese who haven’t adopted the new way of life and picked up a car. That’s what JETTA’s for. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

General Motors Renaissance Center

The automaker says it isn’t in the cards, but an analyst at Morgan Stanley says he’s hearing investor support for the idea. After all, what better way to signal your company’s shift towards forward-thinking electric and autonomous mobility than a fancy rebranding?

General … Mobility? (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2018

Imagine you’re an American auto executive in the 1980s, looking on in desperation as all the youthful and wealthy customers head almost solely to BMW showrooms for their sports-oriented sedans and coupes.

Now imagine you work at Ford, and you’ve decided to do something about it. By the way, you’re Bob Lutz right now.

It’s Merkur time.

(Read More…)

By on November 3, 2018

Image: GM

Not to be outdone by Ford Motor Company’s Bay Area bikeshare program, General Motors has unveiled two new, two-wheeled vehicles that are sure to get any Camaro ZL1 owner’s pulse racing. We’ve poked fun at the Blue Oval’s non-car efforts of late, but entering the pedal-powered field is serious stuff for companies — stagnating new vehicles sales calls for a myriad of alternative revenue solutions. Just wait till Fiat Chrysler launches a RAMbike.

At least with GM’s latest mobility effort, a motor comes attached. What isn’t attached, however, is a brand name. GM needs help with that. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2018

2017 Cadillac Escalade

It tried to make it in the big city but, after a few years on its own in New York, the Cadillac brand is headed home to mom and pop.

Cadillac President Steve Carlisle, who took over from Johan de Nysschen in April, confirmed the return in a Wall Street Journal interview. The brand’s abandonment of its high-class SoHo office space ends a strange and tumultuous period in Cadillac history. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2018

Something needs to carry Cadillac’s performance banner into the future, and, with three of its four sedans slated for execution within the next year, GM’s luxury brand has decided the sole remaining car should be it. Tough decision, that one.

At least it’s not the XT5.

Late Wednesday, Cadillac announced the flagship CT6 V-Sport, bowing for the 2019 model year, will henceforth be known as the CT6-V. In the Cadillac stable, V-Sport models see a significant uptick in power, with the real scorching stuff carrying a -V signifier. Luckily, the CT6 V-Sport stands to gain an engine of considerable output when it arrives in the spring. (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2018

On Thursday, Hyundai unveiled a special edition of its Kona crossover on the opening day of the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. Revealed at the Marvel booth, the Kona “Iron Man Edition” features a bevy of design elements that either resemble or tip their hat to the famous comic book icon. All told, it’s probably one of the most comprehensive example of cross promotion in recent history.

How desirable it is will be highly dependent on the person you’re asking, however.

I’m going to acknowledge my prejudice against these types of vehicles upfront. While I’m all for wild paint jobs and tasteless accessories, there’s something about this kind of cross-branding that chaps my posterior. It isn’t just that automobiles are supposed to be purchased by adults (we already know that they’re ravenous consumers of things they recognize from their childhood). It’s the half-hearted effort that’s typically placed behind them.  (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2018

Ford promised a gutsy middleweight crossover that it hopes will satisfy enthusiasts after the automaker finishes eliminating the majority of its sporting passenger car segment. For 2019, the Edge ST replaces the standard Sport trim — resulting in added performance and a higher price.

However, it seems like the inflated MSRP will be worthwhile. At $43,350, the Edge ST plays host to a specially tuned 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that generates 335 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque — a not immodest improvement over the Sport. It also gets a new eight-speed transmission, all-wheel drive, performance seats, and implements a specially tuned suspension. Considering all of that comes in at roughly $1,500 more than the trim it’s replacing, we’d say the Edge ST is looking like a bargain. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2018

smart fortwo electric

People make fun of automakers with severely limited vehicle lineups, but Mitsubishi has nothing on the diminutive — in every sense of the word — Smart brand. Note: we’re using a capital “S” here and always will.

Technically, the Daimler AG division sells a single model in the United States, though the powers that be break it up into two: coupe and cabriolet. Well known for being the smallest,  lightest mass-produced new car on the domestic market, the Fortwo quickly gained a reputation for having the jerkiest, most unsatisfying transmission in existence. Recently, engine fires sparked (pardon the pun) a recall of 43,000 2008-2009 vehicles in the U.S. and 7,000 in Canada.

Born as a diesel-powered division before changing over to gasoline propulsion, Smart has now evolved into an electric-only brand. And its U.S. sales have never been lower. Maybe the new head of Smart will have some ideas. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2018

The news lately has been plenty full of speculation and angry comments about Ford’s decision to kill off anything with a trunk (save the Mustang, for now).

Generally, the consensus among the B&B seems to be that Ford is making an ill-advised and short-sighted decision. Well, today’s your chance to build your own lineup of profitable, future-proof vehicles in a game I just invented.

(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 March 23, 2018

2019 Mazda 6

There’s still a ways to go, but the transition of Mazda’s image into that of a semi-premium automaker is well underway. The latest interiors — and exteriors — emerging from the brand boast extra refinement, better materials, and a subdued elegance you won’t find on, say, a Nissan.

Mazda’s getting there, but in the meantime, sales remain an issue. Between the brand’s recent U.S. sales pinnacle in 2015 and the end of 2017, volume fell 9.3 percent. There’s a plan to turn it around, and it doesn’t all have to do with the automaker’s looming mystery crossover. (Read More…)

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