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How Much Is Brand Legacy Worth To You?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
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: 32,923
    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.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    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.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    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: 4,120
    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: 3,305
    in a Taurus SHO is Eco boost in a Lincoln so I'll drive the Taurus. Legacy? Meh!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    The way you feel about M-B pretty much describes my feelings for Cadillac and Buick.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,923
    I'll add to that I like driving behind a hood with the three pointed star at the end, feels nice :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    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.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    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
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    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: 15,071
    We can call the "Poseur Plates!"
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,923
    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".
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    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. ;)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,923
    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: 3,305
    Only 3 ornamental points? The superior "gunsight" on our Ford product has 4. :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    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
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    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).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,923
    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: 32,923
    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.
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