The VW Group masters a classic formula: Product Desirability = Profitability.
By Peter M. De Lorenzo
(Posted 11/26, 10:30 a.m.) Detroit. It was interesting to read that Mazda now desires to become an upscale brand, after wandering around aimlessly in the mainstream market for years, according to Automotive News. This is after Toyota’s Lexus has spent, oh, 25 years working at it to a very successful degree while Nissan’s Infiniti division, which has been toiling away for the same duration, is only now getting serious at becoming a player. To that end, Infiniti has become the title sponsor for the now three-time champion Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team after a two-year associate sponsorship deal and is becoming deeply involved technically with the team in an effort to boost its credibility.
Johan de Nysschen, the now president of Infiniti, said in a press release: “While our first 24-months have been very beneficial to both parties, our new increased relationship will bring increased advantages to Infiniti and Red Bull Racing. As title sponsor, Infiniti Red Bull Racing will help us garner even more worldwide exposure for our brand, products and technology.”
And de Nysschen can speak with a measure of authority about tuning-up a luxury brand, as prior to his stint at Infiniti he led Audi to new heights in the U.S.
The endless quest for credibility in the premium car market never ends. Look at Audi, which has been on an ongoing journey to ascend to the top rung of the luxury-performance market for fifteen years. And after a staggering run of wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and after producing a stunning array of products, they have well and truly arrived.
(So Mazda is going to flip a switch and it will all come good overnight? Oh, if it were that easy. I’ve got news for Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda has only a sliver of a chance at cracking the upscale market, and even then I firmly believe that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that they can do it. And besides that, are they ready for at least a fifteen yearlong journey? I would imagine not.)