People enjoy having their attention called. A new music video released by their favorite band. A trailer of that movie everyone is talking about. The latest trend on social media. The latest celebrity to have been “cancelled” and the reason why. The latest Karen to have been recorded doing her thing — the list goes on and on.
That is also valid for social interactions. Our attention usually goes to people we consider beautiful, charismatic, intelligent, strong… and let’s tell the truth here: judgements like that are not limited to high school; the main difference from that time is that adults (supposedly) have learned how to act maturely on their judgements.
When it comes to products, it is tempting to say that we behave the same way. After all, we love to learn about fancy jewelry, fast cars, cutting-edge phones, trendy clothes… The thing is, do we go ahead and actually purchase all that? Is our everyday life effectively shaped by all those actions and objects which call our attention?
Car enthusiasts usually alternate between extolling high-performance, luxury, and off-road models. They read the news, watch the release events, may even know their technical specifications by memory. That is great because it means acting on their interest. However, only a handful of them actually make a car like those part of their life.
Let’s take costs out of consideration for obvious reasons. Would you drive your children to soccer practice in an Ariel Atom? Would you take a family trip in a Lamborghini Huracán? Would you run errands in the city in a Mercedes-Benz G-Class? Those are all possible to do but, more importantly, would they really be good choices to make?
Every car model must have one goal on which to focus because most of them are opposed to one another: performance often affects fuel efficiency, luxury increases the selling price, off-road capability harms comfort, and so on. As a result, there are situations when the car that calls our attention is not actually the best one for us to have.
Bland comes to the rescue
None of that means those cars are bad, though: they are simply created to stay under the radar. First of all, that implies employing traditional body styles and proven structures; you are not going to be surprised by their design or level of technology. They are not outdated or ugly either because that would shorten their projected life span.
Take a look at the models shown here. They are up-to-date with their maker’s current design language and have no intention of proposing a new one or any variation of it. And while there are no breathtaking features, there are no ugly bits either: in the end, nothing that would make you remember them because of their external looks.
Inside, get ready to find the same standard of design, room and equipment of those cars’ direct rivals. They intend to seduce you for their value rather than an impressive appearance, upcoming technologies or never-ending item lists. They are ready to help you go through the week causing as little problems as they possibly can.
How are they marketed?
While that work is always challenging, models with a strong competitive edge at least give a starting point when brainstorming for ideas. On the other hand, how to advertise a staple product? Something literally designed to be good at everything while not standing out at anything? Here is when some marketing tricks come in handy.
Automakers know how those cars behave in the market. Their target audience doesn’t have strong reasons to keep buying any of them, so they can decide to try a different competitor every time. As a result, they make use of humor, tag lines, celebrities, anything to put them in people’s memory to make them give the car a try next time.
Another typical feature is that those cars’ trim levels never go far on a specific purpose like performance or luxury: people know what they want. They may enjoy different cars, as mentioned before, but they are fully aware of what is truly adequate for them. So they do not really want changes which would only make the cars expensive.
Isn’t it bad that such cars exist?
Honestly, the industry is moved by popular demand: it is bad that people buy such cars without trying to get even close to what they truly wanted. Everyday models work like a comfort zone: you get what you need and, because of that, you slowly let go of what you desired. Making effort towards the latter seems tiresome and unnecessary.
The problem is that, the more customers resort to those cars, the more makers will keep offering them. The SUV trend of the latest years is a good example of that: although several people complain about them for several aspects, people still buy them. Sales figures speak louder to an automaker than angry texts or videos on social media.
The good news is that we can use those “rules” in our favor. If you and people you know are not happy about the current automotive market of your region, there are some simple ideas you could use next time you are looking for a new car. You would leave your comfort zone a little bit without necessarily leaving your financial reality.
What are those ideas?
First of all, self-knowledge: think of how do you use a car. How many people usually travel with you, where is the car used most of the times, what type of activities are often executed with it, and how much you can spend on it every month. After all, you do not want to get into trouble to pay for an SUV whose AWD you never really use.
Secondly, research what is available to you. Most makers have websites with virtual showrooms, so you can get a lot of information there. Once you have a shortlist, check what the specialized press says about the cars and do go back and forth if necessary. Keep in mind that facts are more useful than whatever “that friend” has to say.
When you feel confident about a couple options, make arrangements to visit a dealership with all due precaution. Take your time there: walk around the car, try every seat, open the trunk, do a test drive… and if another model catches your eye while you are there, analyze it as well. Just don’t fall into salespeople talk without thinking.
What effects will that cause?
The immediate one is that people will get closer to what they really want from a car. Sometimes, researching a little more shows an option which turns out to be better for you but is not advertised too much. Besides, letting go of features you do not really use enables you to splurge on those you want, like fancy trim and/or a bigger engine.
Over time, that will make demand more diverse. There will be room for more options of powertrain, trim and style, and the issue of low reselling value will be mitigated because each combination will have a larger sales potential. With more people willing to buy, automakers will be encouraged to create and offer more of them as well.
In the long term, that would not lead to the extinction of the “everyday cars” of this , but to more conscious purchases: people will buy their cars because they want specifically those models rather than merely doing what a friend or a TV ad suggested. That will pave the way for a bigger variety of models and trim levels made available.
Everyday cars are an attempt to cater to what consumers need instead of what they truly want. Because of that, their very existence should be a warning: are we getting at least part of what we want from a car? Are we truly looking for a good deal or are we simply buying what we are told to? Share your thoughts using the button below!