Posts Tagged ‘audi’

Monday mornings are notoriously unhappy, bluesy days. I’m surprised Son House never penned a song to it. It’s that first day after the weekend and with the weather continually chilly, to say the least, staying in bed has never been so tempting.

Not, for me though. Today is a good one. Thanks to handy bit of Alfa Romeo servicing my car feels like new – I didn’t buy a new one (you can leave the edge of your seat now) though I did pass a salivating glance over those lovely grills. Having picked it up from its service I found myself looking for any excuse to drive it. Thankfully petrol seems to be reaching ever-more sensible prices by the day and a well serviced car is more economical on the motion lotion. The nice spell of dry weather meant she got a nice treatment of car polish yesterday too – while I layered up so as not to freeze – and is now looking shiny and new as well as driving that way.

However, while getting the polish and stuff from the shed I found I either need to re-felt the roof or get a new one. It seems to have been letting in water. So, up to the attic where I’m sure I’ve got a load of old newspapers (well, I’d found a load of them) to try and insulate some things. Seems some of the papers were older than I thought as I found one from 1989!

I’m not going to do a whole time capsule thing here, I find it increasingly annoying when my local paper seems to think I want reminders of the difference between today and a random year that always seems to be 1995. I will however share that which interested me, at the back in the classified and motoring section:

Fancy a used Audi?

Used Audi

Used Audi

Or perhaps Mazda have the power to satisfy?

Mazda

Mazda

I’m not sure why I find these so fascinating. There’s more but I won’t show them all. Perhaps it’s harkening back to my youth? I remember anxiously watching the roads for new G and H plates when they came out on the way to school when my love for cars was starting to bloom. Perhaps it’s the differnces in both design of cars and advertising.

There’s also the pricing and that it’s still possible to pick up a new car for under £10k and easily grab a decent used Audi for close to the same prices as in the ad. In fact, a quick search for a used Audi for the same price as the 1985 Audi Quattro in the ad found loads under it.  So much for inflation, used cars at 1985 prices!

How is this possible?

The joker in me was tempted to phone up one of the classifieds ads and ask if they still had the “1986 Escort.”

You know, I actually owned a Mazda 323 on an F-plate for a while, though it wasn’t new. I didn’t own it for long though, my needs soon grew beyond three doors and I needed a car with a larger engine for the longer commutes.

“The Power To Satisfy. ” When did Mazda take on the Zoom-Zoom thing? Does it have any connection to the “Va-Va-Voom” slogan purred from the French lady’s lips for Renault? Maybe some psychological link with the sound? It makes me smile to think of the changing slogans brands used to use.. Ford’s “Driven By You” which came complete with soft-rock song from frizzy-haired Brian May, Toyota’s “The Car In Front…”

Advertisements

It’s undeniable how important brand identity is for marketing. In my mind it’s also very important in the automotive world on a corporate level. I won’t go into how I think the automotive industry needs to change (I’ve been reading the Lee Iaccoca autobiography) but in a world where so many modern cars look alike the identity of a brand is key in attracting customers and differentiating between vehicles.

Chrysler knew this which is why they spent so much in designing and adopting their Pentastar back in 1962 and the other major companies followed suit when branding up their dealerships.

With this in mind while marketing an automotive site I decided to do some research for articles on the matter with two brands in particular and the origins of their identity.

The first marque I looked at was Audi, for an article on its emblem. What do the rings mean? The olympics? No, it’s the four companies that made up the Auto Union when Audi, and three others were bought and merged. Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer.

While the rings are instantly recognisable as the Audi emblem, is it good to have an identity that isn’t clear in its meaning? Can people identify with something they don’t understand?

I’ve also discovered today what BMW actually stands for – Bavarian Motor Works. While the origin of the image within their emblem is debated between the Bavarian flag and the movement of a propeller, it is explainable and recognisable and associated with a certain cache of luxury. Their numerical naming system is also part of their branding. Having found out the designation for the letters – ‘l’ is for long wheelbase not litre or base model – I’m wondering if using numbers is a good thing in branding?

While it means a car is clearly a BMW if it’s called a 318i (regardless of age), is this a savior or hamper?

Knowing the debates that take place over naming of cars and its importance – would the Mustang have been so popular and important if it had been called the Cougar and had a less iconic emblem – using a numerical system avoids such issues and potential calamities. But is it a restriction? BMW have created some pretty amazing cars in terms of engineering and styling (the Bon loving Z8) but is the simple nomenclature hampering. It doesn’t conjure up any mental images.

With a car like the Mustang, the emblem and name of a wild horse meant that the marketing and advertising pretty much wrote itself. Simply hearing the name and the associations it created half sold customers, the fact that it was a great design simply sealed the deal.

Hear in good-old Blighty, motorways are prefixed with an M (as in M25, though that’s another blog) so when somebody mentions the M5 my mind immediately links to the motorway down in Devon rather than the turbo-charged 5-Series. Not neccesarily a good mental connection for a car.

Then again, an otherwise great car can be hung out to dry by a terrible name. There’s no BMW Gremlin for example. So while their method creates an identity as strongly as their logo, I think it might be a catch-22 in terms of marketing the cars themselves.

Anyone?