Few brand purchase decisions we make are as strong a reflection of how we see ourselves as consumers and how we wish the world to see us as choice of the car we drive.
Even those who claim to not care what brand of car they drive are still making a statement to the world about themselves through this choice. If they genuinely didn’t care they would be just as comfortable driving a new BMW as an old Toyota.
With your choice of car being such a powerful statement of self, and with buyers spending anything from $10,000 to $500,000 on their choice of wheels, branding is arguably more important in the automotive category than just about any other. For many people, after their home, their car is the next biggest investment they make in their lives.
With driverless and electric vehicle technology around the corner, the world of cars and car ownership is on the verge of complete disruption. And what we know is that when disruption hits, new brands become leaders, those strong brands able to shift with the change survive, and the rest become extinct.
With branding playing such a critical part of the auto retail business model, you could expect a single-minded, laser-sharp brand mindset to be driving these businesses. Yet a look behind the facade of your favorite car brand will likely show a tangled web of overlapping manufacturing, retail and brand ownership. Few categories have so many examples of global brands being owned by the one business – usually a recipe for homogenization and brand devaluation. Two of the main reasons a business acquires multiple brands – manufacturing and distribution economies – are the most likely cause for a brand to lose its focus and clarity on what made it unique in the first place.
This infographic researched and produced by the crew at carsurance.net cshines a spotlight into the murky shadow land of automotive brand ownership. What we find when we lift the cover is a handful of very large businesses owning a multitude of the world’s leading car brands. The challenge for these businesses is to maintain the benefits of shared ownership, whilst effectively silo-ing the brands to keep them unique, authentic and consumer focused.