Thursday, July 19, 2012

Small Car Misses

A recent article showed a number of small cars that seem to have slowed down in sales. What is the reason?

There could be many but we need to look at some of the obvious ones. One for sure is the way some of these cars are marketed. Or just introduced with a flurry of ads over a short period and the car is then left to fend for itself. If the sales force is not 'sold' on the car in the beginning, then there is a good chance the sales figures projected will miss their target.

Many years ago, you could tell one car from another. Even those manufactured by the same company under a different brand. For example, a Ford from a Mercury, or a Chevy from a Pontiac.

These days they all look alike. There is very little to be able to distinguish one brand from its competitor. Therein may lie the problem.

If your product appears to be the same as the one in the next parking space, what's the big deal? Well, the big deal is this. People still like individuality. There has to be something unique to draw their attention in the first place.

When Toyota introduced the Scion xB, it was a totally different look that grabbed your attention. Maybe even to the point that you either loved the look or hated it. Either way, it was a statement.

With the second generation, it seems somewhat watered down. The uniqueness has faded. It is now more mainstream than before.

Looking at the sales figures, a company should be able to tell if the change was good or not. The challenge comes when it comes time to pen the next generation. Do you lean to the more extreme or try to stay with a more conservative approach and fill it with techno-gimmics you hope will entice more buyers.

The tech stuff can be good, but some, (Ford) are being slammed by those who bought cars with it installed and now hate these intrusions as they tend to take ones focus away from the job at hand.

The bad news for the manufacturer is these people are telling all their friends, who in turn are spreading the word to others in the market. Not what the companies want to hear as they can not reverse the situation.

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