Car manufacturers are like Pepsi; Always comparing themselves to Coca-Cola. They need to become Coca-Cola or drop the inferiority complex. Manufacturers need to stop acknowledging that other car manufacturers are better than them, because they're not.
Pepsi is acknowledging that Coke is flat out better than them by doing this taste testing challenge in order to woo and sway customers from their rival Coca-Cola. It also gives Coke some good exposure. Why doesn't Coke do their own version of the taste challenge? Because they don't have to. They don't even want to acknowledge Pepsi as a credible rival. Car manufacturers can learn a thing or two from this.
The Caddy ATS was benchmarked against a BMW E46 3 series during development. GM is a mega-giant conglomerate that's been around for over a century with an ungodly amount of money. They obviously have no idea what their doing by having to take a BMW and modeling their car after it. The ATS still doesn't command BMW pricing, but to GM's credit, the ATS doesn't have a million trim levels to compete. I wonder how different it would be for GM to build the ATS without any benchmarking; Using their know-how and building the best luxury sports sedan that they could to take on the market...you know, having some confidence in your own abilities and giving it your best shot. The end result could have potentially surpassed the 3-series on its own and been original and outstanding. I feel like benchmarking puts a limit on development, kind of like "we meet or surpass this comparison car in everyway...good job everyone, let's go out for drinks" vs. "Annnnd we're done...holy hell, our car is untouchable in the marketplace in terms of pricing, quality, value, safety and performance. We are the new standard."
The Hyundai Equus is another one. Hyundai set its sights on benchmarking this car with a Lexus LS from the getgo. Instead of becoming an original great for Hyundai's first attempt at this segment, they decided to play it safe and clone the Lexus. It's a damn fine car, but why settle for a carbon copy when people could just by the real thing? The thing with first impressions is that you only get one...or in Lexus's case, two, just with a different badge. Hyundai wasn't even confident enough to put it's own insignia on this car...the car is devoid of any signs that Hyundai was involved. They have to swallow their pride for fear that people's perception of Hyundai would make the car seem inferior.
Yet I wish Hyundai would realize that they themselves made their marque feel inferior by not putting their "H" on it. Doing this stunt only adds to the perception that Hyundai isn't capable of taking on the luxury segment themselves. First impressions last; if you start behind the 8-ball, you'll never get in front.
Sure this maneuver worked for Toyota with the Lexus brand, but that was a different time. American car buyers had to settle with what was out there in terms of the luxury segment. Compared to the traditional Cadillacs and Lincolns that were out there during that time, the Lexus was looking sweeter by the minute. Today, it's a cut-throat market where every luxury car is an excellent choice.
There's alot of benchmarking going on behind the scenes. All I'm saying is that if there's a chance of failure when developing a car for a market, then create a scenario where failure isn't an option.
In the car market, winners don't make excuses when the other side plays the game.
Lincoln is finally understanding that. They used to be the luxury car of the world that everyone wanted. They lost there way to the point that Ford and Lincoln were indistinguishable from each other. Now they are finally making an earnest attempt to rise back in the ranks. No benchmarking, just know-how with decades worth of history and grandeur backing them up. Ford finally separated the Lincoln design studio as a standalone from Ford. They're also using their full name, the Lincoln Motor Company nameplate, not used since the 1950s. Ford is also pressuring dealers to use separate staff and showrooms for Lincoln and Ford vehicles. They are giving Lincoln a shot to reclaim what was theirs...yet it's not enough because it's not their best shot. Until Lincoln stops associating itself with Ford and using a Fusion platform as their flagship, then it will never be a true contender against the luxury car arena.
I like Lincoln alot, I also like their MKZ flagship alot. But Lincoln is still bringing a polished knife to a gunfight. I wish the best for Lincoln and I will wait for the day Lincoln is heralded as a competent contender, created by its own two hands as many rise to the occasion by thriving in the shadow of benchmarking another car.
I like these commercials. As a consumer, you can feel the confidence and the full weight of its lineage. No need for comparisons at their level.