For years, car manufacturers have tried to differentiate themselves from their competition. Flagship cars, namely the Shelbys, Camaros and Corvettes of the world, serve as an appealing image that attracts new buyers to those brands. At first glance, flagship cars are all about speed, sex appeal and youthfulness, traits car brands use to connect at an emotional level with potential customers. But there’s more to it.
This phenomenon is known in psychology as the halo effect, hence ‘halo cars’, and is nothing but our perceptual generalization of attributes. In other words, consumers associate these glorified vehicles with the brand as a whole, thus buying into aspirational goals. The halo effect is present in every industry and applies to products and services alike.
Halo or flagship cars are often criticized for luring buyers into the dealership, which then end up buying affordable options with lower quality standards. However, quite the opposite is true. Halo cars have a tremendous positive effect on brand recognition and new technology development, which bring in better options for consumers in the long run. Let’s explore the benefits cars like the Shelby 500 bring to the table.
As you may have guessed, flagship cars have bigger development budgets than their entry level counterparts. This allows for designers and engineers to explore new manufacturing techniques and materials. For instance, The Ford Motor Company just developed a new prototyping process for their concept cars, which could eventually be used for mass production; the 2007 Lexus LS 406 required Toyota to create the world’s strongest stamping press; countless of today’s in-car technologies were first introduced in high end vehicles, then trickled down to affordable ones.
From a marketing perspective, the halo car gives brands the opportunity to show off their latest innovations. It also gives consumers better visibility in terms of what’s coming in the following years. If we take a car like the next generation Ford Expedition, which features blind spot assist and rear view cameras, we can then assume such technology will be available in coming entry level vehicles.
Racing cars make an excellent ‘halo car’ example. As car manufacturers push technology to the limit, we get to see our everyday sedans in action. Nascar teams use modified versions of Camrys, Fusions and Impalas to show off the engines; Subarus and Minis compete in rally races to show off their steering and suspensions. This again, brings consumers closer to the brand and allows for a more honest relationship.
So don’t forget to stop by your local dealership and experience the latest technology available today.
Lamarque Ford is proud to be one of the premier dealerships in New Orleans, LA. Located in Kenner, LA, Lamarque Ford is committed to providing you the best customer service and vehicle service for the life of your vehicle. Whether you’re on the market to purchase, finance, or service a new or used Ford vehicle, you’ve come to the right place.