Tag: Branding

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…)

By on March 15, 2018

Lexus sales slipped in the United States over the last two years. While overall deliveries remain relatively strong, the Japanese luxury brand saw its annual volume surpassed by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. BMW followed suit in 2017 and the gap only looks to be widening this year. So, what does a high-end nameplate do to lure back customers?

The answer is an obvious one: it starts building boats. It might shock you to learn this, but boats have actually been around since prehistoric times and physical examples have been discovered that are at least 10,000 years old. Meanwhile, most cars aren’t even 100 years old. Basic math proves boats to be the more sustainable product and a sounder investment. Cars had a good run, but autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services are about to convert driving into a passive and homogeneous experience in a totally hypothetical and undetermined amount of time. Boats will be where it’s at very soon and every automaker will eventually become a sloop manufacturer.

Alright, I’ll stop being a prick (for now). What Lexus is really attempting to do is gussy up its image, endearing itself to the growing legions of super-rich people by providing contemporary yachts — something Mercedes-Benz has done in the past. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

China’s all about electric vehicles and clean, green everything, or so the tankies granola types claim, and automakers from Detroit to Germany can’t wait to get their hands on a piece of that market. In Volkswagen’s case, China’s thirst for EVs spawned a brand new brand.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with language, the name of VW’s EV-focused brand could mean something very bad, depending on who reads it. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

Image: GM

Buick had best hope every consumer knows exactly what the tri-shield badge stands for, as  the automaker will soon dispense with “Buick” lettering on all of its models.

The dropping of the brand nameplate on Buick vehicles, first confirmed by GM Authority, began with the refreshed-for-2019 Envision crossover. A fluke born of Chinese manufacture? Nope — Buick is going away, in name only. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2018

The name of a long-defunct Honda-badged vehicle that was based on an Isuzu and built at a joint Isuzu-Subaru assembly plant will grace a new crossover, a report claims. Yes, it’s looking like Honda applied for a new Passport.

According to Automotive News, sources with knowledge of Honda’s product plans say the Nineties are indeed poised to return. The name will allegedly grace the brand’s upcoming two-row midsize crossover, slated to fill the space between the wildly popular CR-V and the range-topping Pilot. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2018

With the Focus RS out of production and the Fiesta ST heading off into the sunset, Ford’s attainable performance stable was starting to look a little bare. Maybe it still is, depending on your reaction to the vehicle pictured above.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s happening. For 2019, the Blue Oval is slapping its performance badge onto the midsize Edge crossover, cranking up the power, swapping the transmission, and sending the model to the plastic surgeon for a facelift. It’s 2018, and this is apparently what we want. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

Lincoln Experience Center OC

If affluent people like one thing, it’s large stores offering heaps of customer service and absolutely nothing to sell. You know the sort of shops I’m referencing. There’s a doorman, a leather couch, and someone who brings you coffee while you browse an inventory consisting of half-a-dozen ludicrously overpriced designer jackets.

A number of premium automotive brands have recently seized on this concept. There are already a handful of luxury brands with physical locations in cities harboring a wealth-intensive populace that offer an ambiance-intensive experience. Not to be outdone, Lincoln has taken that theory the full mile in Newport Beach, California.

While technically a dealership, the Lincoln Experience Center doesn’t sell anything. Instead, it provides patrons with a place to relax and muse about future ownership. There’s a cafe offering complementary coffee, tea, and infused water. Not thirsty? The site also has a “story wall” that provides a rotating collection of artifacts, art, and fashion that somehow relates to the brand. I even found out that they’ll wrap your holiday gifts on December 23rd if you’re in the area. But if you want to buy a car, you’ll have to look elsewhere.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Group - Image: Mercedes-Benz

GMC has its Denali sub-brand, and Buick now has its Avenir, but German premium marques aren’t in need of added luxury. Extra horsepower and speed earns that inflated sticker price.

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand isn’t the small stable of tuned performance cars it once was. The automaker’s made it painfully clear it wants to AMG all the things, with the brand’s large crop of SUVs (and SUV “coupes”) serving as the latest canvas for AMG’s brushstrokes. A lineup that began the current year with 34 models will likely celebrate New Year’s Eve with 42.

The folks at Mercedes-Benz USA are already reaping the reward. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2017

new mini logo for 2018

Mini has revealed an ultra-streamlined logo that will begin appearing on the brand’s cars by March of 2018. Abandoning the three-dimensional model as the automaker’s official mark, the new crest isn’t any more exciting but does looks a bit more contemporary.

The new emblem actually made its debut on the Mini EV Concept in late summer. At the time, it wasn’t clear what the purpose of the new logo was. For all we knew it could have been a way of differentiating electrified models from the company’s main lineup, or simply be a way to further streamline the battery-driven concept. Instead, it’s to be the replacement for the old logo and will crop up in all the automotive locales one would expect: the hood, tailgate, steering wheel, and key fob.

(Read More…)

By on December 14, 2017

2020 Polestar 1 profile - Image: Polestar

Lordy, PR-speak can be offputting. Nevertheless, the newly single Polestar — cast off from Volvo Cars to become its own electrified performance brand under the Geely corporate umbrella — is heading straight to the United States.

The U.S., not surprisingly, was chosen as an initial launch market for the brand, along with China (every electric car maker’s dream market), Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. What form will the rollout take? Let’s just say there’s going to be a lot of interaction. Physical interaction. (Read More…)

By on December 8, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS Australia - Image: Chevrolet

The bowtie badge is heading Down Under. As General Motors revamps its overseas presence — pulling out of some countries, ditching its Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries — Australians can look forward to visiting a GM dealership with more than just the Holden brand on the sign.

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), a performance sub-brand of GM’s Holden subsidiary, has struck a deal to convert and market left-hand-drive Chevrolet Camaros and Silverado Heavy Dutys for consumers suddenly starved of hot, rear-wheel-drive GM products.

These buyers should give thanks to Ford. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2017

2019 Lincoln Nautilus, Image: Ford Motor Company

The tens of readers who follow my bleatings here on TTAC (Hi, Dad!) may recall my fondness for the Lincoln brand. Having spent my own hard-earned Canadian dollars on two of them, plus encouraging other family members to do the same, I would be lying if I said I’m not rooting for the brand to once again plant its feet firmly in the minds of its target demographic.

For me, the disarmament campaign started when Lincoln began abandoning real names in favor of an alphanumeric (minus the numeric) naming scheme. Turns out, after reading a revealing Automotive News interview with Lincoln’s marketing chief, I’m not the only one who disliked it.

(Read More…)

By on November 26, 2017

f1 logo for 2018

With the conclusion of the 2017 season, Formula One decided it was time to unveil its new logo at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The change underlines a “new era” for the sport under Liberty Media and, admittedly, does seem to be a bit more with the times.

While it was a fine race, Valtteri Bottas beat both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, there was no upset in the final standings. Hamilton had secured ultimate victory for himself and Mercedes earlier in the season, while Vettel and the Ferrari team held onto second place. Bottas took third overall, leaving the new logo as the only genuine surprise of the day. (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

bmw-new-logo-1920x1080

Interested in distinguishing its premium models from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam, BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe. The updated look was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be used for the 7 series and i8 coupe, as well as the forthcoming 8 series coupe, convertible, i8 roadster and X7 SUV.

Rumored to be similar to the cheesy carbon variant of the company’s emblem found in numerous aftermarket Ebay listings, the new logo is essentially the old one, only desaturated into monochrome with the company’s full name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in its entirety. However, there seems to be some confusion as to how the new logo will be used and what its heritage actually entails.  (Read More…)

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