Make small look big: the new marketing task at GM and Ford

Article by Christian A., on August 27, 2010

To appeal to those who prioritize fuel economy, General Motors Co. will have to market its products in such a way as to reach mainstream buyers but not distance itself from performance aficionados.

Detroit has long had an affinity to big, powerful engines, especially V-8s. Now that the Detroit 3 is set on launching smaller engines in near-luxury cars, pickups and muscle cars, their marketers and executives face this marketing challenge. 

For instance, Buick will have separate commercials to promote fuel economy and to advertise high-performance features when it switches the standard engine on the LaCrosse from a V-6 to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the 2011 model year.

Doug Osterhoff, marketing manager for the LaCrosse, said that the car was developed to have "a wide bandwidth" when it comes to pricing and consumer positioning.

He pointed out that people who find the [base] CX model appealing actually find much value in fuel economy. Automakers have been increasingly prioritizing trying to attract customers who care about fuel economy.

Federal fuel economy standards are expected to increase to a fleet average of 35.5 mpg in the 2016 model year, compared with 27.3 mpg in 2011. [via autonews]

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