Just a few things I’ve stumbled on that people might be interested in.
Saab’s in a transitional stage at the moment and as a GM-Saab exec-in-waiting (ha ha – but I AM serious, Jay!!), I’m humble enough to want to learn from those that are doing it well at the moment. That’s why I found this story from the China Post interesting.
Taiwan is like a mini-market that companies would do well to explore a little. It’s small enough to get your head around yet affluent and westernised enough to provide a study as to what works. Lexus, Benz and Bimmer are currently leading the high-end market, divvying up around 65% between them.
The Lexus guy’s comments make for interesting reading. Lexus has secured it’s manly portion of the market in only 8 years, so when someone does that well that quickly, it’d be good practice to listen up.
"For the past three years, we have achieved double-digit growth in
the 20 percent range and we predict further growth of about five
percent for 2005," said Steven Yang, general manager of Hotai Motor
Earlier this month, Lexus unveiled its newly
redesigned GS 430 model, as the company hopes to be on pace for another
record year for sales, where already 200 pre-order invoices have poured
into the company prior to release.
"What distinguishes our
brand from other high-end car manufacturers is that we offer luxury and
after-service maintenance at a reasonable price," claimed Yang.
"That is why we have succeeded in capturing the attention of the Taiwan
market in this short amount of time," he reiterated.
Priced slightly below BMW’s X5 and Mercedes Benz’s M models, the
RX-400 has become a favorite for Taiwanese car buyers as it makes up 50
percent of the sales revenue for Lexus in Taiwan.
Environmentally friendly Lexus enthusiasts may look forward towards the
Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) RX model currently being sold in
In the U.S market alone, Lexus predicts that
this cleaner model will double in units from 50,000 in 2004 to 100,000
units this year.
"The new environmentally friendly RX models
will likely enter the Taiwanese market sometime next year," he said, as
issues of lowing costs and getting tax exemptions are currently
impeding its entry into the local market.
"Although the market
is very competitive, the Japanese luxury car market looks promising in
the domestic market, due to our active marketing strategy and consumers
awareness of the Lexus brand," he added.
European styling and
Japanese quality will likely be the trend in the coming years, as the
company will continue to update the IS, LS, and ES models to give its
brand image a refreshed look.
"We will continue to put emphasis
in the 2000CC to 3000CC models, but we realize there are still other
opportunities out there like the SUVs," said Yang.
Innovation, quality, good service and getting product to market in a timely manner. These are lessons that shouldn’t be that hard to learn (and to be honest, I think GM knows them but is hamstrung by some negative customer perception).
On advertising (again)
In a recent post, I appealed to Jay Spenchian to treat Saab owners and potential customers with respect. part of this was request took in having promotion of the vehicles that didn’t emphasise quirkiness or generally make us all look like science-show exhibitions. The Car Connection deals with Jay’s appointment and the worrying ads that were given the OK by Deb-Kills-Engines before she took off into the sunset.
Lowe&Partners, New YorkSaab is also in process of rolling out a new brand campaign meant to
reposition Saab more clearly as a brand for people who try to steer
clear of the mainstream. That campaign has been developed by Lowe and Partners, New Yorkwhich also handles GMC.
the GMC marketing and advertising is widely viewed within GM as
successful, the new Saab work developed under Kelly-Ennis has been
criticized internally. One GM executive said that recently appointed
sales and marketing chief Mark LaNeve doesn’t think Saab’s marketing is
on the right track.
Perhaps some North American readers can leave their opinions if they’ve seen the ads. (Gee it’s a pain being stuck here at the arse-end of the world sometimes!!)