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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

The Beyond Branding blog

October 08, 2005

Asleep on duty 

and are reporting concern over the drop in SUV sales. Now, for whom was this not obvious in, say, 1999? Every time I return from Los Angeles or New York, I cough for two weeks as a result of the caused by the worsening air .
   A can cover you for only so long if the product isn’t right. For the most part, it buys you time. If you can invest in the brand, show that you’re not all about guzzling gas and blaming it on the Red Chinese, then that time gets longer. It strengthens any existing image held by consumers of that brand, until you get time to make some real changes.
   But neither has done much. In terms of compacts, Ford may have its owned brands, like Mazda, doing some good products, but in the US, it’s still selling the C170 Focus, a car obsolete in most of the world. Not much chance it can fight Civics and Corollas. General Motors has pensionable Korean goods, the Saturn Ion and the Chevrolet Cobalt: not exactly sophisticated by Asian, European or even antipodean standards.
   Other than the Ford Escape, developed by Mazda anyway, where are the hybrids? Where is the evident spending (in America) on socially responsible vehicles? What has helped the brand?
   Examples of these more positive moves exist, but are fewer than what and can muster. Indeed, I would not be surprised if, in a few more months, we hear that GM’s production total is playing second-fiddle to Toyota. It gives me no pleasure to say this.
Did you hear that SUV (who came up with that catchy little acronym?) sales in New Zealand have increased in the last year?
How's that for depressing?  
I'm saddened to hear it, and it's partly thanks to dealers bringing more of them in. Some folks just don't know better.  
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