Tag Archives: Audi

Red Volvo S60 Polestar

Automotive Consumer Demographics Are Proven To Be Right In Car Shows

Red Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar

If you’re a car enthusiast, a follower of Car & Driver, Top Gear, or other car magazines on Facebook, you’ve probably read or been a part of conversations on which car is better. You’ve also most likely had to defend your position numerous times as you believe that the car you like is indeed better. Well, you’re not alone. This happens on a daily basis between car enthusiasts, but what do market and consumer demographics have to say about brand’s perceptions, build quality, and overall popularity?

Auto shows are a great way to find out which car you like, but from a business and marketing standpoint, you find out who is actually buying what brands, their age, gender, relationship status, and where they stand in financial stature. The beautiful women who are employees of the car brands are always around at the desks to either answer questions, or in my experiences the past two years, to ask questions on what I think of the car and what could be improved. These employees are survey takers, and are also marketers as well. The knowledge of the consumer demographics are beyond what I know, but after really taking a good long look at the cars and crowds, it’s clear that there is a dramatic difference between consumers of certain brands.

“Cadillac Is An Old Person’s Car”

Being a college aged adult, Cadillacs are beyond my financial reach to begin with, but with a resurgence taking place within the company, many younger adults are beginning to look at the luxury GM brand a bit differently. Some have emphatically defended Cadillacs over the German competitors, and on occasion insult those who disagree that the American automaker is an old person’s car and make vehicles car companies used too make. Last weekend, that perception held strong.

To humor myself I wanted to sit in the new ATS and other models Cadillac is introducing and selling. Each time I made an attempt, 65 year olds and retirees were the ones looking at those cars, spending much time in the driver seats, making it appear that they do intend on owning one in the near or distant future. The cars that were present didn’t draw in younger people, and there were very few middle-aged adults taking good long looks at the Cadillacs. Right now the luxury car maker is trying to compete with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, and currently they’re not drawing anywhere near the same crowd.

Mercedes Benz Is Trying to Be The Car Of The People

It’s absolutely incredible what Mercedes Benz has done with their lineup. They have a car for almost every market in the automotive world. From small compact sedans, to full-sized SUV’s, Mercedes has by far made the biggest impact in the automotive industry and consumers are taking notice. Having gone to the auto show in Boston two days over last weekend, the results were the same. There were dozens of people swarming over the Mercedes Benz’s, and with an array of different models, people were spending close to 10-15 minutes talking about the cars, taking photos, and sitting in the driver seats.

It’s clear that Mercedes Benz wants to be in every single market. They recently began marketing the new B-Class which runs on electricity, a market that is growing every month, as Tesla’s success is putting pressure on other manufacturers to begin producing cars that run on electricity.

Volvo: The Family Car For The Family Oriented Adults

As a Volvo owner myself, I know the perception of the Swedish automaker to be safe and for the middle class adult who has a family. I’m happy to say that’s the complete and honest truth. Families with young children were surrounding the Volvos, especially the XC60 and V60, one being a crossover SUV the other being more of a traditional station wagon. Cargo space and comfort appeared to be the most important aspects of the cars themselves for the families looking at them, and having foresight of their demographics, Volvo even set up comfortable chairs to sit in within their section of the auto show so kids could have a place to rest.

However, the Volvo that was attracting many young adults was the S60 Polestar. A turbocharged 6 cylinder engine putting out 325 hp would get anyone excited. This car was by far the most popular attraction for Volvo in terms of reaching consumers of multiple demographics.

Right now car companies are competing for a strong stake in the automotive market. At times it appears that some of the auto brands are going away from their identity to attract consumers who weren’t originally part of the specific market that bought those cars. For Cadillac, they’re in a Catch 22 because they can’t look back, but they’re also having great difficulty in moving forward because the Germans are always one step ahead. At the end of the day, the demographics reveal all about who is buying what. Auto shows are the best way for these companies to get a feel for the market and who they’re attracting, and for some brands, they have a lot of work to do before they begin to compete with Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW.

Chrysler 200

Pricing In The Automotive World Is All Wrong

Chrysler 200

The Chrysler 200 at the New England International Auto Show

This weekend the New England International Auto Show came to Boston, which if you haven’t attended, make a note of it for next year because it’s great for the entire family and well worth the experience. Auto shows give the consumer access to cars from an array of different brands so they can compare them in terms of price, comfort, and options in real time and in person instead of comparing them online. As a student of business and marketing, and also being financially aware, I took notes on the prices of some of the cars and their brands. Needless to say I was stunned at the findings.

When it comes to buying a Hi-Definition television, you’re already aware of the fact that you’ll be spending more when you look at bigger screens. With furniture, you know that leather seats will cost more than other materials. You also know that if you want a powerful gaming computer or laptop, you’ll be spending top dollar as opposed to the typical laptop that comes with standard specifications and options. So then why can’t the auto industry be like the rest of the product related markets?

High quality brands sell, that’s just fact. People are going to buy cars from Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW before others. So why is a fully loaded Chrysler 200 the same price as Mercedes Benz CLA or well equipped Audi A3? We can argue that some consumers have certain preferences and tastes, but to buy a car that’s priced as a luxury car that really isn’t will undercut sales for these companies in the long run. I’m sorry, but Chrysler and Buick are just not going to compete with the Germans, they can’t. The sales figures are overwhelmingly pointing to consumers choosing foreign cars over domestics, but still American brands continue to fight an uphill battle.

While there are companies like Chrysler and Buick who are trying to be something they’re not, Infiniti and Lexus are paving their own path that separate themselves from the Mercedes Benz’s of the world and continue to march to the beat of their own drum. While their prices are in the range of Audi and BMW, their cars don’t resemble what’s coming out of Germany.

In the hatchback market, Volkswagen continues to thrive off their Golf and GTI line, but consumers have other choices that are more affordable and practical. A fully equipped GTI will set you back close to $32,000, while a fully loaded Kia Forte Hatchback is priced at $25,000. Most consumers will buy based off horsepower and performance, but when it comes to legroom and comfort, the Forte gets the point.

The last observation from the car show is GM’s brands competing against each other, which is something Buick is trying to end by introducing cars made by the German automaker Opel. Chevrolet always seems to take a model from Buick or had taken similar concepts from other GM’s subsidiaries and sold them cheaper, undercutting Buick’s, Pontiac’s, GMC’s and Saturn’s sales. Cadillac is moving in their own direction, and by moving headquarters to New York they’ve separated themselves from Detroit and GM.

In the final analysis, all the car companies are manufacturing top quality cars for every type of consumer. Unfortunately because of that, most car brands are all competing for the same market instead of dominating a market that they’re good at and can sell many cars without much competition.

It May Be A Great Product, But What Do The Sales Figures Say?

muadib.ar / Foter / CC BY-SA

Whether you’re selling candy, clothes, automobiles, tech gadgets, or any other products you can think of, everything you do behind the scenes and in your marketing strategy mean nothing unless the sales figures reflect the day-to-day operations and processes. The product may be great, it may look cool, and you may think it sells, but if there are no buyers and sales figures are down, changes have to be made to create a desire and want for the product you’re trying to sell. When it comes to products, there is so much to selling and marketing than what you, or your friends think, and what may seem popular in one clique, could be completely irrelevant to a broader customer base and bigger target markets.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony unveiled their new Walkman (I know, we’ve suddenly taken a trip to the past). It will be on sale for a mere $1200 this Spring. While Generation X can have their flashbacks down memory lane, the issue comes down to what we should expect in terms of sales figures. Taking on Apple where they’ve dominated since the beginning of the millennium is a very bold strategy. Most MP3 players have failed against the iPod, why should the Walkman expect to steal market share away from Apple?

At $1200, are consumers really going to buy that over the traditional iPod? As a consumer and student of business, these questions have to be raised. We’ll find out soon enough, but let’s move our attention to automobiles that are selling, and in particular Cadillac.

Over the past 6 months all you’ve heard from Cadillac is how they’re going to take on BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz. ‘The reign of the German Big Three is coming to a close because they’re not making cars like Cadillac’, is essentially what the leaders of the American luxury brand has bragged. Well, the annual sales figures have been released, and it’s time to see who has ended up with egg on their face.

According to goodcarbadcar.net here are the statistics.

Audi: Sales up 15.2% in 2014 from the previous year.
BMW: Sales up 9.8% in 2014 from the previous year.
Mercedes Benz: Sales up 6.5% in 2014 from the previous year

And then there’s Cadillac.

Sales figures down 6.5% in 2015 from the previous year.

Cadillac is improving from what they’ve produced over the past few years, the problem however is the very strong perception that Cadillacs are still owned by older folks, and even worse they’re still a branch of GM. Once again, the product can look great and may be a better option, but the sales figures don’t show that.

Another example is coming from a different side of the business spectrum, the branding, marketing, and advertising branch of business. Entrepreneur Magazine shared an article discussing 10 of the worst new logos for big companies in 2014. While a few are clearly bad, others were an improvement and further developed the brand and direction the company is moving in. Whether these logos were bad or not, what do the sales figures have to say?

Personal opinion is what blinds us all from seeing the truth, and in this instance I’m talking about business, and this can be from the owner or the consumer. Sales figures show no bias, they have no favorites, they reflect the changes that really matter, positive or negative. Sony’s Walkman could be a huge bust or a success, but at $1200 let’s see how long that price lasts when consumers can buy an iPod for much less. Cadillac is being aggressive, attacking the German auto brands and trying to compete against the most popular car companies in the world. In 2014 they failed to live up to the hype. Lastly, personal opinion that fails to see what the sales figures really say, loses all credibility.

In business there are two things you must be aware of, listen to, and learn from. Sales figures and the consumer. These two aspects tell the truth. The customer is always right, and sales figures are never wrong.