The power of a strong brand part 1 was written on June 1. In that piece, it was noted that whilst the Saab 9-3 Convertible has been applauded for it’s top crash ratings, the fact that Audi and BMW convertibles were rated considerably poorer was well and truly overlooked.
And in true “strong brand” fashion, I haven’t heard their poor results mentioned anywhere since that time.
ctm emailed me from Sweden yesterday to let me know about another trick being pulled by Audi. It shows once again that there’s power in a strong brand.
I don’t know about other markets in Europe, but in Sweden, Audi is now desperately trying to become environmentally friendly. I had seen some ads but took no notice.
This morning I happened to read a short review of the Audi A3 1.9 TDI e-power that goes on sale this summer (click here to read). The engine is the same turbo diesel with particulate filter that can be found in VW, Skoda and Seat. But, “e-power” is the name of the game here.
Sounds good, right? Must be some really new exciting stuff? I mean, this is Audi! Vorsprung durch Technik.
Well, according to the review and from looking at the Audi homepage, the “e-power” stuff in this car consists of the following:
1) different gear ratios in the gearbox and a indicator light that tells you when you should change gear, and
2) tires with low rolling resistance
This is it. This is Audi’s breakthrough idea of environmentally friendly.
What really pissed me off this morning was the start of the review:
“…[the manufacturers] have worked hard to get a environmentally friendly profile for the future. Toyota took the lead with hybrid’s, Ford took on ethanol, BMW put resources into hydrogen and Honda have presented several fuel-cell vehicles.”
That’s the power of a strong brand.
Saab are building their enviromental credentials with BioPower and turbocharging. Future models will see smaller engines introduced with greater power output and economy due to better E85 technology coming in the pipeline.
And the actual BioPower name was the subject of another sidenote from ctm:
Did Saab strike gold with the name BioPower? English is not my native language, but it does sound very good compared to others.
Ford/Volvo FlexiFuel – Sounds technical and not very sexy. Fuel? Ugly word. Have me thinking of me standing at the gas station filling the car and see the money go up in the air…
Volvo Bi-Fuel – Bi is “bee” in Swedish so it looks stupid here. And that word fuel again that reminds people that cars do consume fuel.
VW EcoFuel – Better, but still the word fuel.
Audi e-power – Email? Electronic power? And “power”? They changed the gear ratios, so now it’s even slower! (105 BHp, torque 250Nm @ 1900 rpm, 0-100 km/h @ 11.4 sec, top speed @ 194 km/h).
I tend to agree that Saab have nailed the name “BioPower” pretty well. There’s very little ambiguity there as to what it means. A newcomer may not know that it relates directly to an E85 fuel system, but they’ll likely draw the association straight away that it’s something environmentally freindly.
And it’s definitely better than using the word “fuel” in your catchphrase.