Archive for July, 2013

Americans becoming more “European” in our automotive tastes…will wagons make a comeback?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Americans’ taste in automobiles is becoming a little more European. The fact that Ford and GM are marketing truly global cars like the Fiesta, Focus and Chevrolet Cruze with only minor modifications to reflect local tastes supports this view. Diesel, while still a tiny portion of the US market, is increasing in share of market, propelled by the efforts of VW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.  GM has even announced that they will offer a diesel-powered Cruze in the US.

Even the hatchback, a configuration traditionally rejected by Americans is becoming more accepted:  “Five-door hatchbacks, popular among European families but long regarded as boring by Americans are catching on.  They now make up almost half the retail sales of Ford’s small Fiesta and Focus” (Financial Times).  Hot hatches like the Focus ST and Golf GTI make this segment even more appealing.

All this change is exciting and I hope that it signals a long-term adjustment in Americans’ view of automobiles.  Selfishly, I hope it will culminate in a re-appreciation of a body style seemingly lost to the sands of time…the full-size station wagon.

Europeans have a very different view of wagons, for one thing, they don’t call them “wagons,” they’re called “estates,” “Touring” or “Avants.” Just the language around the body style is better. It also helps that they have had some of the most beautiful well-designed wagons to choose from for years. For example, look at this Audi 5000 from the eighties, over 25 years old and it still looks great and feels very modern:

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For many Americans the idea of a station wagon became undesirable because of its connection to the newly suburban world of the post war years.  Most of our mothers drove a domestic version like the Ford LTD Country Squire, here’s a good example complete with faux wood, driveway and lawn: (more…)

1st post in 18 months…been busy creating an agency, reintroducing Lincoln and winning 2 Gold Lions and 1 Bronze at Cannes.

Monday, July 8th, 2013

It has been a long time since I sat down to write a post on my blog. The fact is, I haven’t had time until now. Eighteen months ago I accepted a job as President of what would become Hudson Rouge. The mission was to create an agency for Ford’s Lincoln brand in New York City.  I was employee number one.  Our goal was to “introduce” Lincoln to a whole new audience who knew very little about the storied brand and mostly thought of it as something their grandparents coveted.

Over the course of the first year we hired almost 50 people in New York, created great space in New York City and eventually named the agency Hudson Rouge.  Hudson Rouge was a reference to the fact that the Lincoln Agency Team would be located both in New York City and Dearborn, Michigan. Both cities happen to be on rivers that played a major role in their development, the Hudson River in New York and the River Rouge in Dearborn.

While hiring the team in New York, getting to know one another, getting to know our colleagues in Dearborn, getting to know our clients, and developing the agency’s eventual home, we also dug into Lincoln and figured out strategically how to re-present the brand to America.  The new brand was launched on December 3rd, 2012 with this commercial:  (more…)