Automotive: February 2010 Archives

I'm really trying to feel nostalgic about the demise of the Hummer brand name, but I'm just not getting anywhere with it.
This is the car, after all, that had Fortune Magazine asking "What Car Would Satan Drive?"

The smug, name (a shortening of M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or Hum-Vee) was irritating, as was the car's obvious target market of people who could care less about aesthetics or damage to the environment. This was, after all, the Terminator's ride of choice, or it was until even Arnie saw them as too ridiculously, lunkheadedly macho.

GM tried to dump it on the Chinese, but thank goodness they dropped the idea, the last thing China (or the world) needs is a popular Chinese gas guzzler.

This has been bad news to the 4 x 4 limo market but really, a stretch Hummer is just adding insult to injury.

Cory Doctorow put it best saying, "This car was like the high-fructose corn syrup of automobiles, something that concentrated everything bad about motoring until it underwent a phase-change and somehow became an object of desire."

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Chrysler Sebring Naming to Go, Some Believe Car Should As Well

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It is probably just about time for Chrysler to finally do away with the Sebring brand name.

After all, it is attached to what one reviewer believes is the "worst car in the entire world." Despite being named after a racetrack, the car has never lived up to its name, so to speak.

The Sebring has just over a decade of good sales and was once the vehicle of choice for the retired set.

Then things started to go wrong, and now it only sells about 70,000 vehicles a year, compared to Ford's Fusion (138,000) and the Honda Civic (322,000).

Now, the company has announced that it plans on "refreshing" its line up, including spiffing up the car that many in the blogosphere want to see "killed."

The new Sebring will be a "different animal" we are assured, and according to Motor Authority will possibly bear the 200 name and look something like the 200c EV Concept Car.

The new Sebring will be around until 2013 when it is finally put out of its misery.

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Has Toyota Brought Humility to Naming and Branding?

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I have been trying to think of an interesting way to deal with what is happening at Toyota and a blog at Touchpoint Insights really helped. The word that we will come away with this month when it comes to branding is "humility."
Toyota's CEO, Akio Toyoda, gave us what looked like a heartfelt apology and this may actually save the brand name.

This year seems to be a time when humility will be back in vogue. Given the state of the world economy, we have much to be humble about.

Humility in advertising seems to be exemplified in many ways, such as Dove's "Real Beauty" ads.

But Toyota here has given a human, apologetic face to its recent problems. And a reminder of just how seriously the Japanese take craftsmanship and how unforgiving they are of failure.

Sure, Toyota might have done this quicker. And yes, they have to offer us more than an apology, but the CEO of this company has literally bowed in contrition to the world media--a full "60 degrees" according to the New York Post . This is an image that really does wonders for me as a car owner.

I can't help but surmise that this will usher in a new "humble" mantra into naming and branding. Goodness knows it's about time.

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