At this year's Pebble Beach automotive weekend, Lincoln announced its new top of the line - the Black Label editions. There will be four versions of the Black Label but only three were shown at Pebble Beach. Jim Farley, Ford's Group Vice President of Global Marketing and head of Lincoln Motor Company says these are the flagship cars of the brand. Unfortunately, Lincoln's flagships were completely upstaged later in the day when Cadillac showed its Elmiraj concept coupe at Clint Eastwood's Tahama Golf Resort. The Elmiraj was the talk of the town and Black Label became an asterisk.
The ultra-premium Black Label is a combination of product upgrades - primarily to the interior - and special customer service efforts like a personal concierge - to make the Black Label client feel that the premium they undoubtedly will spend is worth it.
The 2013 New York International Auto Show was full of important reveals this year… renewed crossovers – Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX, an all new Range Rover Sport, the new BMW 335GT, freshened Dodge Durango, the all new Cadillac CTS and many more. The most important, however, were the Audi A3 and the Jeep Cherokee. Why? Both vehicles are very important to their brands and have the potential to generate substantial sales.
Audi Takes the Safe Route with A3: The 2015 Audi A3 really was not at the New York Auto Show. The A3 will be officially introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show in late April 2013, but there was a reveal for about 120 journalists the evening before the first press day. It will be launched in the USA in early 2014.
The all new 3rd Generation Lexus IS is a near luxury sport sedan to be launched in June 2013 as a 2014 model year entry. The major question is whether it is ready to take on the Germans in its class. The conclusion is that the BMW retains the Ultimate Driving Machine crown, the IS350 F-Sport is very, very civilized and competitive, and the C350 approaches land barge category. The 335i is very sporty, very precise and tuned for performance. The IS achieves its competitive position only when you opt for the IS350 with the F-Sport package giving the car upgraded suspension and steering. The more mundane IS models - IS250 and IS350 - are softer and more tuned to the casual driver.
The Audi S7 is really for a person who wants upscale coupe styling and a lot of power. It's not for a person who needs to provide rear seat space or comfort. The S7 is a car that turns heads and likes to be driven at speed, but it is a touchy low speed cruiser.
The Lexus Flagship – the LS460 4-door sedan – is freshened for the 2013 model year. This comes after an all new Audi A8 in 2011, a tweaked 2012 BMW 7-Series, and the new Cadillac XTS (which may not be in this class). A major change for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is due in early 2013 as a 2014 model year. The Jaguar XJ that was all new in 2009 as a 2010 model gets a much needed all wheel drive system for 2013.
Psychographics are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. Each year, AutoPacific includes a battery of questions in the New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey that allows us to determine what the psychographic profile of each brand and model. The results are often fascinating, or simply obvious, but confirming perceptions you might have had about a brand.
Think Audi A3, BMW 1-Series and Volvo C30 and you can better understand the competitive set Lexus is targeting with its all new CT200h 5-door hatchback to be launched in February 2011. Also think of the CT200h as a product really designed for the European market where it is right-sized and right-styled.
The competitive set in the USA sells less than 1,500 units per month now - or about 18,000 per year - small potatoes in a 12,000,000 unit industry. Lexus is going after 1,000 units per month - immediately intending capturing 40% of this small segment. Can they do it?
Cadillac is adding standard scheduled maintenance - Premium Care - to its 2011 Model Year products. Providing scheduled maintenance is a way to demonstrate commitment to the customer, reduce ownership costs and increase customer loyalty. BMW has been offering scheduled maintenance for years and has effectively shed its "Break My Wallet" image that existed prior to the scheduled maintenance program.