What Is Automobile?
Automobile definition: a motorized vehicle that consists of 4 wheels, and is powered by an inbuilt engine. Automobiles are used mainly to transport items or people from one place to another. After various designs or years, the vehicle inventors were able to develop a general functional design that can be utilized by automobile makers as their basic design foundation. Automobiles usually use gasoline to fuel the engines. However, today’s technology has advanced drastically that they are able to use electricity (even water) too to fuel the cars.
Another definition of automobile: a passenger vehicle that is designed for operation on roads and usually having 4 wheels and a diesel or gasoline internal-combustion engine.
Ford Motor Company chairman William Clay Ford Jr, in 2003, commented that the automobile field would shortly experience the most insightful and revolutionary changes it had observed since the Model T hit the streets first. The recent years have proved his statement right.
Factors influencing “revolution” are many and complex. The top list includes environmental issues such as impact of CO2 emissions, global warming, stagnating car sales in industrialized nations, new material technologies, the economic and social cost of job scarcity in the industry, and so on.
Also, numerous automobile manufacturers have merged into multinational groups recently – including Volkswagen’s acquisition of Bentley, Skoda, Seat, Bugatti, Porche, Audi Lamborgini, and others; Renault’s controlling stakes in Dacia, Nissan, Vaz of Russia, or Samsung Motors; Fiat’s integration of Abarth, Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Alfa Romeo – confronting the car makers with the challenge of marketing their new identities and portfolios across the nations, cultures, borders and customer loyalties.
New car makers like Chinese Geely, Brilliance, Great Wall Motors and Tata Motors from India have grown up and started to make their own way overseas, gradually but steadily filling into their more well-established market share of counterparts – producing more jobs in the industry – conventionally a major industry employer in the EU and US – under threat. Multiplying this industrial threat is the major fact that allured by the low cost and high demand potential of growing automobile markets such as India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil, older car producers have started partnering with local automobile producers or established automobile factories in the area that resulted in a great loss of industry jobs in the nation.
The technology has advanced and the recent dilemmas are on the usages of new materials such as carbon fiber, duraluminum or fiberglass and also the safety concerns that accompany the make. None of them is cheap, and in the market which can be suddenly affected by all-round recession, keeping an eye on the cost is very critical – making it an uncertain tightrope for the manufacturers to step forward.
Any turning point, however, embraces with new opportunities for those that can observe them. The first step is the ability to rethink the existing business model. Though nothing can be more natural than to continue in perfecting the past work that got the best, it is the leaders who should take the initiative to think uniquely and challenge their own work and business model.
Ample Space For Brand Segregation
A car that is good in Germany may not be the same in the United States. For instance, a good car in Germany is, that can drive at the speed of 200 km/hour on the autobahn. On the other hand, a good car in the U.S is that does not break down middle of the way. So, there is a space – for all the brands playing different roles in different circumstances depending on the demand. Though cars are considered as an emotional non-living companion, successful automobile models in the near future will be combining safety, cost and environmental acceptability with utmost emotional appeal.
While all the manufacturers in the industry have some prototype in their stables, a single car cannot make the market. When a convincingly pedestrian car brand has tried to introduce a luxury model, it has never worked. When Volkswagen, the people’s typical car attempted to launch its luxury car, the Phaeton, it could not do well.
Apparently on its way to dominating the automobile industry, the group has a non-competitor brand list under its shade, which include – SEAT, Bugatti, Lamborgini, Bentley, Skoda, Audi and Volkswagen itself. Recently, the company also took control of Porsche effectively. This happened after Porsche tried repeatedly to take over VW and failed in its efforts. VW has also recently announced stake of about 20% in Suzuki. With a unique identity for any brand, VW has greatly expanded its client range, and similarly managed to place itself not only just in traditional automobile markets, but additionally in other places such as China, India and Brazil.
With the same gesture, it will be quite some time before Tata can cover its base by manufacturing Nano at a very affordable cost of $3000. Both VW and Tata have effectively worked out on how to make the best of as many nations as possible.
A Product Is Functional But A Brand Is Just An Emotion
There are various definitions for brands. However, the main difference between a product and a brand is: while a product is functional, a brand is just an emotion. A brand is the reward that is received by a company for developing great products. As Aston Martin, Bugatti or Ferrari has proved – the more emotion a brand gets, the more ideal it becomes. As in the case of Ferrari, when its consumer tattoos the brand on his hand, the company has definitely won the ultimate ideal brand recognition in the industry.
Chinese automobile makers like Great Wall Motors, Brilliance, Geely and Chery are undeniably yet to get fame on their functional front. However, they may ruin in the long run in building great emotions just like their Korean neighbors. However, we should never under-estimate either their continuous efforts to infuse great emotion in their makes, or their capability to attract new customers. Some of the products are priced low and for customers where functionality is paramount.
However, emotion does not necessarily be consistent with the motto of either safe and solid or functional. For instance, if Ferrari attempts to launch an electric car into the market in future, the car should maintain some of its brand DNA, such as emotion, great design and power.
As no customer wants to purchase a boring model, the automobile makers are facing the dilemma of making new cars that are cleaner and safer, as well as functional and exciting. This is surely a tough challenge. Those who will succeed will be the survivors in the automobile industry.