automobile Market conversations and trend is often dominated by branding. Toyota as a brand, has redefined the automobile market. In the year 2010, Toyota's category has made it dominant of the world market commanding 11% of the market share (OICA, 2010). Toyota as a brand is well positioned in the market and perceived as the maker of fuel-efficient models, with Corolla becoming one of America's favorite compact cars. Toyota has continually built new product categories for newly discovered needs in the automobile market.
After World War II, Toyota was focused on making cars as opposed to war machinery and buses. It came up with model SA in 1947 (SoftNews NE, 2008). This model, referred to as "Toyopet" became popular and the name was later used to refer to all sedan models. This was one of the earliest communication strategies adopted by Toyota. Toyota built on this to launch a more successful model the SF a taxi version and later it diversified adding the Land Cruiser a jeep and the Crown a luxury sedan (SoftNews NE, 2008).
In 1957, Toyota moved to the American market creating the first dealership in Brazil and there after an assembly plant in 1959. The same year it launched the motor sales department in Hollywood California that sold 288 vehicles in 1958. Toyota's strategy was to make sure that the models were suited for the market. Toyota launched an effective strategy of production and marketing of fuel-efficient models of superior quality. The first popular model was the Corona fitted with air conditioning as well as an automatic transmission. It became a popular car selling more than 20,000 units in 1966 (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 2012).
This worked in their favor as the rising fuel cost forced consumers to buy smaller fuel-efficient cars. This was Toyota's biggest break in the American and international market and it has maintained this category ever since. With this strategy, the American market developed a liking for Toyota cars and most popular among them was the Corolla. Corolla's debut was in 1968 and in the same year, registered a 30 million sales units internationally (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 2012). Toyota built on this success in the launching of other models. The 1970s saw Toyota launch a series of marketing campaigns including "You Asked For It/You Got It!" And the hit "Oh What A Feeling!" marketing campaign that included the popular "Toyota Jump" (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 2012, p. para 7). In one of the popular advertisement in the 70s was during the launch of the vintage truck in which Toyota stated, "most people buy small trucks for the same reasons they buy small cars" (The Day, 1971). By 1972, Toyota sold over one million vehicles in the United States surpassing Volkswagen making it number one import brand.
However, in the 80s, Toyota took advantage of the falling luxury car market with the launch of Lexus. It established a new company that would manufacture this brand of cars. The market received the Lexus well and it soon became synonymous with reliability and low maintenance cost, this gave Toyota both national and international recognition especially with the younger audience.
Presently, Toyota is leading in the battle for environment. In a bid to launch a new class for continued market dominance, it announced the production of a plug-in electric car that will run on electricity powered by lithium battery pack.
Analysis of Competitive Advertising
The philosophy of "the right car for the right person and place" (Ford Motor Company, 2011) guides Ford in identification of target market. They target lower and middle level income people with economy class cars and higher middle and higher income group people with the luxury cars. With a variety of product attributes it targets different age group and professional groups of people.
In 2011 ford launched "ALL IN-"a corporate print advertising campaign for the African-American population. They made this advertisement to stretch African-Americans imagination about the quality of the ford to make sure they made strides in buying the new model. The aim of the advertisement was to highlight some of the African-American executives within the company who helped create ford to become where it is today.
The advertisement was to make sure the company highlights its leadership in relation to quality, technology, and the community in a way that speaks directly to the African-Americans consumers. The goal was to reach the African-American consumers who may be familiar with the Ford brand and its recent success stories but were not aware of behind the scenes moments and collective responsibility that took place as the a part of the company's turnaround plan.
Volkswagen competes fiercely with Ford in advertising its vehicles and tries to outdo ford in print advertising and market groups' target (Loh & Ron, 2011 ).. The Volkswagen print advertisements are usually in rich taste to make the target long for their products.
The luxury and Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) manufacturer recently placed a rather welcoming print advertisement in the South African Auto Trader magazine. This read "Eat the Road and Seriously Eat It" (Nudd, 2011) the advertisement in the famous motor magazine was to evoke the feeling of the gobbling up of the road by the Volkswagen Golf R. this is targeted to youths and middle age adults who love speeding and luxurious vehicles (The Black Consumer Market Authority, 2005).
The print advertisement in the South African magazine was to give the target market the notion that the vehicle; Golf R. was capable of going at greater speeds than earlier models; eating the road. The magazine described the vehicle to the interest group and helped the company gain much edge over its close rivals in the market.
Ford and Volkswagen undertake positioning strategies to enable them gain some part of the market and outdo their fierce rival Toyota. The second step after getting the target group is the positioning of the product. The positioning strategy is used to design the product to occupy a position unique to the consumer (White, 2011). This is put in place to make sure the potential consumer buy the product.
The reasons are for positioning strategies are revenue growth, and to make brand image stronger than it was before. Ford and Volkswagen mainly target African-American consumers below the ages of 45. In addition, they have put in place some strategies to place their product within the market. These positioning strategies include but not limited to the following.
The first strategy is the attribute and benefit of the products. This positioning strategy focuses on the benefits of the products to the target group giving emphasis to quality and speed. Highlighting the Product Attributes in print advertisements of the products is compelling because the products focus on luxury and economical aspect of their advertised products.
The second strategy is against or away from competitors. The products are positioned against other competitors with special emphasis on superiority claims and better products than other similar products in the market. Ford and Volkswagen often compare themselves to each other segmenting the market to just the creme de la creme of the automobile market. The positioning away from competitors pitting them opposite to other competitors print advertisements help these companies' advertisements get significant attention in the market dominated by different players offering different products.
The third positioning strategy is users and usage occasions. These products emphasize on how to use the products by the target audience from the print advertisements. Both ford and Volkswagen majorly focus on-road to the potential buyers. These products focus on the unique characteristics given out to the specific users concerning luxury and speed to make sure their positions in the market are solidly stable.
The last positioning strategy used by these companies; Ford and Volkswagen are prices and quality. These corporations produce high quality products and their advertisements are clear about the target market and product descriptions. They offer products of high quality ranging from low selling prices to the market giving them linking them to the need of the target group.
Positioning is what the customer believes and not what the provider wants them to believe. Positioning can change due the counter measures taken at the competition. Managing product positioning requires knowledge of the consumers and clear understanding of the competition in the market.
The brand awareness strategy of the companies; Ford and Volkswagen are correct because they benefit both their corporations and targeted customers. The companies have strategies to give the target customers with enough detail in the identification of the brands within the various market categories. This ensures customers make the right decision to analyze the content of their print advertisements and purchase products of the firms. The provision of enough details in print advertisements does not need the potential customers to find the brand name of any car model (Percy, 2011). The visual image of the brand package in the print advertisement help the consumers find the brand they need. A…