New Realities

I hope there is a central committee of car journalists who can hand down a decree or decision to use the term ‘prestige’ more selectively in future.

Image: carbuyer

Among the best-selling cars in the UK we find the Audi A3 and Mercedes C-class. Admittedly they are at nine and ten yet they are exactly as mainstream or volume as Vauxhalls, Fords and VWs. All the usual suspects, the ones called ‘mainstream’ linger somewhere below this. The committee for car journalism terms needs to redefine the word prestige so as prevent anyone imagining that the C-Class is more prestigious and exclusive than the equivalent vehicles it comfortably outsells these days. I suggest Ford and Opel add 33% to their large car’s prices and advertise this point. Also, try only building to order and interview prospective buyers to see if they are the right people for such cars.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

4 thoughts on “New Realities”

  1. It’s all about perception, isn’t it? That said if Audi/BMW/MB can sell such volumes for 20-30% more money, then the perception is correct. But maybe ‘premium’ is a better word, to describe the markup on the price tag if not the product itself.

    1. They do use the word premium which at least avoids the absolute description of “prestige”. You could have 99 people paying €10 for something while 1 person pays €1 for a cheaper equivalent. Yes, the 99 are paying premium and the one isn´t. Audi, Mercedes and BMW are able to charge this because a) people think the cars are materially better and b) because they think they are exclusive. I suppose this exclusivity is relative not only to the vanquished equivalents from Ford and Opel etc but also, say, Dacia, Kia and Hyundai cars too. What do Ford et al do? Advertise with a line that says “Our Mondeo is rarer than your C-class”? People will just say “Because it´s not as good”, I suppose. The former mainstream makers have paid a heavy price for their reluctance to meaningfully up their perceived quality, starting at least fifteen years ago.

  2. As Laurent said, “Prestige” is a purely unquantifiable idea. It doesn’t even relate to price. The most prestigious tickets you get to watch …. um, who are the young people going to see at the music halls these days … Frank Sinatra, say, are the tickets you are given for nothing, because you are so important. So you buy the C Class not because it’s the best in its class but because of the Prestige it endows on you.

    I’ve always hated the word actually. Apart from the odd vinyl roof, the only thing wrong with the glorious long wheel base Citroen CX was its idiotically pompous name.

  3. down in Brazil, anything that was not originally developed for “emerging markets” will likely be labeled by the press as “premium”. cases in point: Citroën C3, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit/Jazz, Fiat Punto – all of them “premium compacts” in opposition to the Toyota Etios, the Hyundai HB20 (the local version of the i20), the Dacias with Renault badges, and so on.

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