By Jimmy Jones, USDR Contributor
Vehicular bloodline or lineage is very important. If you are driving any car you’re fond of, you want it to represent you, your choices and your brand. Mercedes, Ford and Chrysler do a fantastic job of this. Let me explain.
My brother and I look like examples of our parents; my daughter is a perfect blend of her mother’s good looks and my hair. It is a traceable bloodline. When my wife and I show up somewhere with our daughter she can be instantly recognizable to a stranger. My daughter is a product of my wife and myself.
Vehicles also have bloodlines. Take the Ford SUV line-up for example. From Escape to Expedition there is a common theme throughout the vehicles. Next time you are driving down the road look at the window lines on any Ford SUV and compare it to any other Ford SUV. You will see they all have had the same general shape and placement for twenty years.
This actually applies to all Fords. The emblems are the same, their placement is the same, and generally, there is a line or two somewhere on the vehicle that connects it to its proverbial cousin in the line-up. Next time you see a Ford Taurus, look for the line on the back rear quarter panel then look for the same line on the Mustang. The F-150 has the belt line (crease in the metal about knee high) as a Ford Econoline van. The two also share similar colors and shapes in the headlights and grill. While they are different vehicles, they share similar looks. This little connection is a way to recognize the brand without knowing what car it is. What a brilliant plan! Some companies do this quite well and some companies are so spread apart that they struggle to get the public to recognize that they make all of the vehicles they sell. General Motors recently went through this when they discovered people did not know they produced Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet and at the time Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Hummer. So they decided to place a “GM” symbol on the side of every vehicle they made, even the Corvette. I am not certain it worked.
In order for a consumer to stay within the brand for all their vehicle needs, there needs to be an easily identifiable relationship amongst the fleet. Young drivers may purchase the entry level Chevrolet Sonic; when they become of age they graduate into Cadillacs. This is why a car company owns many different brands. It is a win for the manufacturer and provides a sense of belonging for the consumer. You can certainly tell the difference between a Chevrolet Sonic and a Cadillac CTS. You can plainly see the difference in quality, cost and style. The two cars can be sold at the same dealer, yet you can tell that GM spent a bit more time thinking through the current (and gorgeous) Cadillac CTS compared to the simple, youthful Chevrolet Sonic.
I have run into a problem with my bloodline theory with Hyundai though.
The Accent being the company’s entry-level subcompact now has entered the bloodstream of the Sonata, the mid- level sedan. But the entry-level compact sedan, the Elantra, looks like the larger Sonata, which in turn looks very similar to the subcompact Accent and at the same time looks quite strikingly like the Azera luxury model. Hyundai has found a good thing with their business plan and fluid design lines, but having your entry level car look exactly like the higher end model isn’t making the guy that spent twenty thousand extra bucks for more a car that looks very, very similar to the younger person’s car feel fantastic about his purchase. Perhaps try spreading the gene pool apart, Hyundai.
My point is that even without knowing it, you’re part of an automobile clan. When you drive down the road, your car belongs to something greater than itself. He/she/it belongs to a plan to keep you in that family.