Brand consistency is crucial for cars

Automotive marketers need to focus on producing consistent brand strategies and points of differentiation from rivals to reverse the slump in new car sales, according to marketers from marques that have managed to stay ahead of the market.

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The call to action comes after it emerged that purchases had dropped to the lowest level in a decade in the UK, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Honda managed to outperform the market despite supply problems in 2011 after the Japanese tsunami and flooding in Thailand. Sales were down, but less than the 4.4% drop across the market.

The brand launched its “Love Hearts” campaign last week designed to offer customers the opportunity to choose the most relevant added value service to them, rather than offering a “one size fits all” deal.

Olivia Dunn, manager of dealer and tactical marketing at Honda UK believes the brand’s continued marketing efforts to balance “warm brand building” activity and tactical activity to reassure loyal customers despite supply problems kept its performance ahead of the market in a difficult year.

It plans to develop the strategy to offer personalised offers and “campaigns that send the message that we are giving the customer choice” to boost performance in 2012.

Audi, which posted sales figures way ahead of the market’s decline with a 14% increase on 2010, believes the differentiation achieved through supporting its Vorsprung durch Technik brand slogan helps keep its performance ahead of rivals.

Dominic chambers, Audi marketing director, says: “Audi’s success is the result of many years of consistent focus on the brand and differentiating the brand through our masterbrand advertising, great product and constant innovation.”

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, believes that business and consumer confidence alongside new technologies in the market will be the key to growth in the coming year.

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