If you’re looking for some interesting insight into how Land Rover has been able to thrive while Hummer had to die, check out “A tale of two brands: How Land Rover makes 14 mpg sexy” by Rebecca Lindland, director of research for IHS Automotive.
Lindland chronicles the mistakes of GM and how Land Rover’s branding has enabled the SUV maker to keep on trucking. (It’s Rang Rover Evoque captured the North American Truck of the Year award this year at the Detroit Auto Show even though Land Rover skipped the show.)
Lindland points out something that many people know, but hate to admit. Consumers buy based on reputation — earned or not.
Hummer, a brand GM killed along with Saturn and Pontiac, was the poster child of American excess and abuse. In 2008, I drove a Hummer H2 SUT in Los Angeles for a week and had people flipping me off on the highway, leaving nasty notes on the windshield and generally disapproving of my choice of vehicle everywhere I went.
It was certainly not a vehicle that will help you win friends and influence Californians, unless crushing Civics was the way you intended to influence them.
Of course, numbers don’t lie. Land Rover sales are up 10 percent for 2011 and Hummer sales were at 0 for the year. J.D. Powers supports Lindland’s ideas. A recent study released by J.D. Powers says that consumers are influenced more by common knowledge and conventional wisdom than their personal experiences.
I find that sad.
While there may be nearly an unlimited amount of information available for any vehicle nowadays, people still make their purchased from their gut, from what they’ve heard, than what they may learn. Information be damned.