Brands have a significant impact on an individual’s purchasing decision. Product brands can be considered to be culturally-based symbols with differing advantages associated to them. Currently, the automobile industry is characterized by a high degree of competitiveness (Gorman 2).
One of the reasons for the intense competition is the large number of brands within the industry. Some of the main car brands within the industry include BMW, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Playmouth and Mercedes. One of the general rules of the car industry relates to consumer perception.
If a particular car brand appeals to the consumers, there is a high probability that its sales volumes shall be stronger. Consumers have developed different perceptions regarding these brands.
In order to determine the competiveness of various brands relative to one another, it is important for the respective management team to incorporate positioning mapping (Auster, Wylie and Valante 23). Brand positioning entails emphasizing a product’s distinctiveness in relation to certain characteristics which the consumers considers most relevant.
Product positioning enables a firm to compare and contrast its brand against competing brands. Through a position map, it is possible for a firm’s management team to develop a positioning strategy. The strategy can either be through product differentiation culminating into the firm attaining a relatively high competitive advantage. There are various dimensions through which a firm can consider when developing a product map. This paper is aimed at analyzing the concept of position mapping in relation to the car industry.
Bases of positioning in the car industry
With regard to the car industry, some of the key dimensions which consumers consider include
Sportiness or conservative
The graph below gives an illustration of a position map in relation to BMW, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Playmouth, and Mercedes car brands according to consumer brand perception. From the illustration below, it is evident that consumers consider Porsche to be the most classiest and sportiest of all the cars. This is illustrated by Porsches location on the top right corner.
Some of the characteristics which make consumers consider Porsche as very classic and sporty is its make. The car has a rear wheel drive characteristic and a capacity of 6 vacuum controlled flaps. This increases the cars output and hence the power generated. The close position of BMW to Porsche indicates that consumers consider the two brands to be similar in relation to the two dimensions considered. The BMW car model has got a relatively high horse power and fuel efficiency. This development was aimed at bridging the gap between BMW and other sports cars. Therefore Porsche brand is facing stiff competition from the BMW brand.
In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is paramount for Porsche Automobile Holding to consider differentiating Porsche car model in order to improve its competitiveness.
Despite the improvements made on the Mercedes, consumers still consider the model to be conservative. This arises from the fact that the car has retained its traditional model. However, a significant proportion of consumers consider the model to be classy. Its conservative model makes most consumers to consider the model as being unique from other car models (Adler & Moss 69).Its position indicates that the brand does not face stiff competition.
In order to penetrate the market, Playmouth car brand targeted the low price market. This makes the model to be very affordable. In addition, the model has remained to be conservative over the years in relation to its design. The model is not faced with stiff competition.
Volkswagen is manufactured using high quality materials. This gives the car a classy look. In addition, the cost of Volkswagen is relatively low which makes it to be affordable. In addition, the car has low fuel consumption and a high speed. This makes consumers to attain value for their money. Its safety features such as stability control makes it appealing to the customers.
On the other hand, consumers perceive Toyota to be sporty and affordable. However, the model has been overtaken by BMW over the past few years (Larry 1).
Figure 1: Position map
Position mapping plays an important role in a firm’s effort to determine the competitiveness of its products. By comparing the position of the products relative to other competing products, a firm’s management team is able to determine the most effective competitive strategy to adopt.
This may either entail developing a positioning strategy such as through differentiation. Considering the competitive nature of the car industry, it is paramount for firms to consider integrating the concept of position mapping. This should be undertaken by considering various bases which affect the consumers’ perception.
In the car industry, consumers have developed perception of the car models based on sportiness/ conservative and classic versus affordability. By evaluating the position of its product, a firm should consider the most effective strategy to adopt so as to reposition the product. There is a high probability of repositioning affecting the consumer product perception.
Adler, Dennis and Moss, Stirling. Mercedes Benz. New York: MotorBook International, 2001. Print.
Auster, Ellen, Wylie, Krista and Valante, Michael. Strategic organizational change: building change capabilities in your organization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.
Gorman, John. Car brands competition in the automobile industry. New York: Hubpages Incorporation, 2010. Web.
Larry, John. BMW replaces Toyota as most valuable global car brand. 29. Aug. 2010. 30 Oct. 2010. Web.