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How Much Is Brand Legacy Worth To You?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
edited December 2010 in Lexus
Zero, 5%, 10%. 25%? Would you pay even $1 more for, say, the 3-pointed star, assuming, hypothetically, equality or comparability between a Mercedes and another car? It's a choice, not a crime, to pay more for status. Are you reluctant to admit, even to yourself, that status has a role in what you drive?

Alfred Sloan's marketing genius was largely responsible for GM's enormous success in the'30s, '40s, and '50s, and was based on people's desire to move up, and to flaunt their success. Other people don't assign much value to status, or are even repelled by the notion of paying for status. Some seek annonymity.

What are your thoughts on this? Did you, for example, buy a Lexus instead of a Toyota, mainly because of the impression you'd make on others, justifying it by, "it wouldn't look right for a person in my profession, or from my neighborhood, to drive a Toyota/Honda/Chevy?" Or, how about the person who has little interest in performance, can't drive worth a darn, and isn't a car nut, who drives a Corvette or a BMW M series? Far fetched? Uncommon, maybe, but they're out there.

Do you know someone for whom status is very important, or the opposite?
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Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    edited December 2010
    There are infinite amounts of people in my area who aren't really into cars or driving, but will pay more for a nice badge. This is how most 3ers/C/IS/GS and so on get leased. From what I can tell, the guy in my building who has a new M3 isn't a car guy - you don't drive something like that with atrocious music blaring out of it at all times...and there are many out there like him.

    I like MB for many reasons. I like how they drive, I like the heritage, I generally like the styling, I like where they come from, and I haven't had any really bad experiences with one.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,949
    edited December 2010
    Buying a brand name product is important for many people because the brand generally indicates a certain level of quality across the product line. If you go to any McDonalds, you pretty much know what to expect. They've gone to great lengths to protect that brand legacy. Chez Ritz doesn't offer to-go food in doggie bags so unless you namedrop, people won't know that you just went there for dinner.

    Cars, on the other hand, wear brands and some people will be more impressed to see that McDonalds bag in a Mercedes than in a Hyundai. Even if the Genesis is equal to the E Class for some drivers.

    Can't say that I know anyone like that though. My in-laws had a BMW they liked but because of the paucity of mechanics where they moved, they traded it for a Buick. It just worked better for them.

    Calvin sure sells a lot of bumper stickers though.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    No question about it....some buy just to "show off" the brand they drive. I can't count how many BMW and Benz drivers I have seen that can't afford to maintain their ride. For them, its all about getting that monthly payment as low as possible. The cost of maintenance never enters the purchasing equasion...

    But, I have seen that in home sales as well. Big house with sheets hung in the windows because they can't afford curtains....

    Here's a twist for you, though.

    How about those who avoid a brand, instead of insisting on it?

    I'm guilty of that. Over the years, I have had horrible luck with LG products, from cell-phones to TV's and appliances.

    I fully understand that LG could not be in business today if everyone had the same experiences I have had, so they must make decent hardware. However, not for me... I refuse to take another chance on their products.

    That attitude may change one day, but that day isn't here yet.

    No doubt that attitude is widespread in the car world as well...How many times does one have to be "bitten" before saying they've had enough?

    Those are my thoughts on the subject...
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    The quest for status doesn't have to be as pronounced as a Chevy versus a Cadillac. While there are signs that cars, once a very important single measure of the status of the owner, has been losing importance. Cars define the person to a lesser extent than they did back in the day. Nevertheless, many still rely on cars to make the statement they want to convey to the outside world.

    Hopefully, some people buy a certain model because they like something about it, be it its performance, reliability, styling, packaging, features, the brand's country of origin, or whatever.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,345
    in a Taurus SHO is Eco boost in a Lincoln so I'll drive the Taurus. Legacy? Meh!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,205
    The way you feel about M-B pretty much describes my feelings for Cadillac and Buick.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    I'll add to that I like driving behind a hood with the three pointed star at the end, feels nice :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,205
    Same here with a wreath & crest or tri-shield!
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    ...and say that the badge itself is a worthless piece of plastic. Its sole use is as a shorthand for the amount of effort (or lack of) that a company puts into its products.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,949
    The nicest badge is the car title in your pocket in your name with no lienholders listed on it. :shades:

    States need to issue vanity plates that confirm that the driver isn't making payments. That'll impress the neighbors. :D

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    edited December 2010
    Interesting idea! To some, a mass market car that's fully paid for might have more cache' than a luxury brand with a lien.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,205
    We can call the "Poseur Plates!"
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    Indeed, and a paid for highline car could even be better.

    I own 2 MBs...not the latest model, but not bad cars. I'm more than content. To quote an old piece of British ad copy: "A used Mercedes is still a Mercedes".
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,949
    edited December 2010
    That reminds me of the long term Ferrari tester that Edmunds got (Long-Term Test: 1984 Ferrari 308 GTSi Quattrovalvole) back in 2007 for $28,000.

    Every place they drove it, people fawned all over it and just assumed it was a big ticket car (and it sort of was, judging by the repair bills).

    What's impressive about the old classics is that the owners are wealthy enough to be able to afford to keep them running. ;)

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    Non-enthusiasts assume funny things about cars. Some highline brands have styling that ages very well, so a non-fanboy can think a several year old car is new. And for something like my old beast, people know what a new one costs, they know old
    American cars can be worth a lot...so they assume it is worth a fortune. People look at and compliment both of them, although in the real world they do not carry any extreme value. Ferraris might be in a realm all their own.

    I can maintain my old cars or lease a new Civic LX or equivalent...tough call.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,345
    Only 3 ornamental points? The superior "gunsight" on our Ford product has 4. :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    I'm still miffed that my 2000 Park Ave Ultra doesn't have a stand up hood ornament, while the cheap base model does! :P
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,949
    I can maintain my old cars or lease a new Civic LX or equivalent...

    I sure like the idea of a newer car and never having to go to the shop. My cars are getting past that age I'm afraid (keeping fingers crossed to get through the winter).

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    edited December 2010
    Maybe the lack of an ornament is an attempt to look sporty or sleek? MB does it on coupes and cabrios, or more lately on sport trim cars,
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    I look at a shop visit as a price paid for driving fun. And with the right car, it's not a big issue...neither of my cars are Ferraris, I can deal with it, I have a good shop just a few miles from home.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    I think I remember a 4 point ornament on my old 66 Galaxie as well. A nice ornament can have an effect.

    But for gun sights, the fender mounted ornaments on the 60 Ford my dad had are unforgettable.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Mercedes makes some wonderful cars. What's your second favorite brand?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    Tough one. As an overall brand, I don't really know. There are models from many brands that I like, but as a brand in entirety, I don't really follow anything else as closely. I generally like German brands, for the big 3 I have usually preferred Ford (thanks to my dad being a Ford fan), of the J3 I have usually liked Honda.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    Maybe the lack of an ornament is an attempt to look sporty or sleek? MB does it on coupes and cabrios, or more lately on sport trim cars,

    I think that's exactly what Buick tried to do. I think most people associate stand-up hood ornaments with old-people cars, along with vinyl roofs, whitewall tires, wire hubcaps, etc. The marketing people at Buick probably figured that older people would buy the base Park Ave, and they'd appreciate the stand-up hood ornament, while the Ultra would appeal to a younger crowd.

    Still, I kinda wish mine had a stand up hood ornament! My buddy with the 2004 Crown Vic is weird like that as well. He had a Grand Marquis hood ornament mounted on his Crown Vic. He had to go with Mercury because the Crown Vic didn't offer a stand-up by that time!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    edited December 2010
    I've never had a favorite brand, although growing up and for a number of years after I had a soft spot for Mopars. Of the Japanese brands, I'd agree with you regarding Honda. I rank the German brands about equal, but favor certain models of each, depending on the year. For example, of the Audi sedans, I only like the A4, which is why my wife was able to convince me to buy one. Although I remain concerned about its reliability, so far, so good. Just in case, though, I have the names of a couple of independent shops that have been recommended. I'm not a big fan of Volvo and Saab, but don't have an intense dislike for them, either. I just think there are better choices.

    It just occurred to me that vehicle brand preference might be an interesting discussion topic.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    edited December 2010
    Could you fit one to your car, or is the whole grille or front clip really different?

    I must be an old timer in some way, as I do like seeing that ornament when I drive...although it is much more of a factor in the fintail with its more or less flat hood and much larger ornament.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,313
    I'm the same about Saab and Volvo...some interesting or even appealing cars, but nothing enough to make me want to take the plunge. I'm happy with what I have.

    I sometimes think what I would have if I didn't have my current car(s)...I'd probably just look for the best sweetheart lease deal, and change cars every 36-40 months, or I would drive something ancient and simple.
  • oldcemoldcem Posts: 309
    Same here - I enjoy driving behind a hood with a leaper on it.

    Regards:
    OldCEM
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,949
    Then Ford and Honda are winning at the moment, per JD Power (via the Detroit News).

    "Both the Ford and Honda brands retain 62 percent of their customers at trade-in time, according to the study, which was based on responses from 123,601 new-vehicle buyers and lessees and was conducted between February and May and August and October."

    Ford, Honda win loyalty survey

    Hyundai came in third.

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Brand Legacy, much like brand loyalty means nothing anymore. I found it out the hard way with GM time and time again, and now with the foreign manufacturers I'm with, both means absolutely NOTHING. These salesman treat you as if your a first time customer and don't give you the best price no matter how long or how good a customer you are with a brand. I've seen it time and time again with different manufacturers.

    That is why I shop around and I go with which every manufacture gives me the best price, treats me the nicest, and has a body style I like. Its worked out better that way.

    Quick example, with Infiniti, I had one vehicle I got from a dealer that treated me pretty nice and gave me a good price but was not the closest one to where I live. Went back to get another Infiniti and the dealer I got the other one from gave me a worse price for everything then the one closer to me which I did not do business with before. I have had the same thing happen with GM, Mercedes, Nissan, and Acura. So it makes no difference who you go with. Brand legacy and loyalty means nothing in my opinion.
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