The power of a strong brand – part 1:
If you’re Ferrari you can take off-cuts from your panel pressings, shape them into cuff links and ask $1,800 for them – and get it!
Question of the day: how many people actually wear cuff links? I aspire to one day.
The power of a strong brand, part 2:
If you’re a small car manufacturer like Saab and you’ve been incorporating safe head restraints into your seats since the late 1990s, no-one is likely to really notice except for a few crash testing bodies.
If you’re a big famous car maker like Toyota and you’ve been making seats without this protection since year 0, no-one is likely to really notice until you decide to bring this sort of product to market – and then you’ll applauded by motoring publications that love you for it instead of questioned as to why it’s taken so long.
Thankfully my cynicism is shared by a number of commenters there who are not only asking “They’re only getting this now???” but are also mentioning Saab’s and Ovlov’s leadership in this area.
There is a downside to this safe-seat business today, however.
Another article covers the fact that some of the major manufacturers and most famous brands do whiplash protection poorly.
They list the best and the worst, and this particular quote includes something we should never, ever be allowed to see again.
SUVs from the 2007 model year rated poorly were: BMW X3 and X5; Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Isuzu Ascender; Cadillac SRX; Chrysler Pacifica; Dodge Nitro; Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer; Mitsubishi Endeavor; Hummer H3; Hyundai Tucson; Jeep Liberty; Kia Sportage; Lexus GX470 and RX; Nissan Xterra; Saab 9-7X; Suzuki XL7; Toyota 4Runner and Highlander.
They did such a good job (IMHO) with the rest of the interior, it’s a real shame they couldn’t preserve Saab’s reputation in this department as well.
TrueDelta are reporting that Cadillac’s dealer satisfaction numbers are creeping upwards with the claim that dealers are being given licence to go to greater lengths to satisfy customers.
If this is truly occurring, then GM might yet turn the tide. It doesn’t matter much how long the warranty is. Car owners these days expect no major problems before 100,000 or even 120,000 miles.
Whilst I hope that this sort of latitude also trickles down to Saab dealers as well, I’m a bit worried by the expectations noted above.
Do you think it’s reasonable to expect a manufacturer to cover a complex machine that’s so open to owner abuse or neglect for a distance of 120,000 miles? It might be great for the consumer, but there’s got to be a responsible line there somewhere, hasn’t there?
I know there’s a few here who subscribe to the “Subaru is the new Saab” theory, and you’ve quite likely found an ally in Tyler Brûlé of the International Herald Tribune, who have their second Saab-mentioning article in a week.
Take a peek down the lanes of those houses outside Portland or over the hedges of homes in Surrey today and you might notice that the space formerly owned by Saab now has been occupied by a Japanese brand rather than a Swedish one.
Subaru and its Forester model in particular has now moved into the “small and interesting” space that once seemed to be the exclusive domain of slope-backed Saabs.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always suspicious of writers with two accents in the one name.
Subaru are the different one amongst the Japanese carmakers, and maybe it’s accurate to call them a Japanese version of Saab. But the new Saab? They have much of the innovative spirit, but IMO the definitely don’t have the personality.