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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

The German SuperBrand Battle- Peter DeLorenzo

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The German SuperBrand Battle. Editor-in-Chief's Note: Audi (VW Group), BMW and Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) are locked in an all-out battle for prestige luxury bragging rights, and it's about to get even nastier. BMW (including its Mini brand) is out to increase its annual sales a staggering 55 percent by 2020, which equates to 2 million vehicles annually. They sold 1.29 million vehicles last year. And we all know VW's plan, which is to have Audi keep pouring on the coals and ratcheting up its sales numbers to pass BMW and Mercedes - while riding a huge wave of popularity in China - not to mention VW's plan to sell 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2018. And Mercedes? They don't acknowledge the fact that BMW has blown right by them or that Audi has stolen their prestige thunder right out from under them. But that's what happens when you blow billions upon billions in F1 with virtually nothing to show for it, while Audi just keeps piling up victories - and credibility - at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. These German car companies are out to humiliate one another, but I would just like to remind them that volume isn't everything and we don't need to see one in every garage in every neighborhood across America. Memo to the German SuperBrands: Please look up the word "exclusivity" in your dictionaries (and by the way, get an actual dictionary that you have to physically pick-up and page through, it helps with retention) and then paste a copy of it on the wall of every executive office and worker-bee cubicle company-wide. And remember, being all things to all people isn't a marketing strategy, it's a recipe for disaster, right up there with "let's throw stuff up against the wall and see what sticks." And one more thing, if you out-sell your competition but lose your brand image in the process, you will lose everything. Focus, be consistent, don't ever waver from who you are and be true to your brand's soul. Do all of that and you'll be fine. Screw up any part of it and be prepared to suffer the consequences. - PMD

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