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The goal was simple: Get the consumer into the brand family, and keep them there for life with ever-changing and ever-improving cars. GM was a master at this (until they abandoned it and things got squirrely). Get them in with a Chevy, upgrade with a Pontiac, upgrade with a Buick and close with a Cadillac.
In the past, this was okay, because the differences in vehicle trims were maybe only $20K apart. For many in the luxury space, this is an affordable “stretch.” The difference between the entry-level trim and the top of the line now might be well over $50K.
I’ve seen a shift in luxury car advertising recently, in pushing the top of the line, but not tempering their campaigns by also showing the entry level. Basically, a “best or nothing” mentality (to steal from Benz).
I’ll pick on Jaguar for this example as they have been doing this consistently for the past year or so.
Full disclosure, I think the new line of Jags look and sound amazing. The R line across the board is something very intriguing to me and the XF R was in my consideration set when I made a new car purchase (I drive a CTS-V).
Every Jag campaign pushes the biggest and the best R line, which in most cases (like the XF), is over $50K from entry-level trim to the big dog. That’s something most consumers can’t “stretch.” Sure, it’s a Jag, so they’re intentional about those they advertise to, but there’s a fairly large gap between the guy that can afford a $47K car and the guy that can drop $100K.
Jag also doesn’t temper their ad campaigns by showcasing the fact that you can get into their brand for as little as $50K. That’s enticing, right? Most other luxury OEMs do.
Does pushing only the top of the line hurt the chances of getting those that can only afford entry level into the family? Or does the OEM miss out on any and all consideration from the customer because, well, they just don’t think they can afford it?