Automobiles E. Bugatti was a French car manufacturer founded in 1909 in Molsheim, Alsace, as a manufacturer of high-performance automobiles by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti.
Well known for the beauty of their design, the Bugattis were also famous for winning a large number of races. Ettore Bugatti belonged to a family of artists and considered himself as an artist and a constructor. His death in 1947 proved to be the conclusion for the Bugatti marquee, and the death of his son Jean before him in 1939 left no one as a successor to run the factory. Approximately 8000 cars were made and the company struggled financially. It released one last model in the 1950s before it was ultimately purchased for its airplane parts business in the 1960s. Today the company is owned by the Volkswagen group, who have revived it as a maker of limited production exclusive super cars.
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Bugattis latest and highly successful new model introduced in the year 2005 is the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, a mid-engined grand touring car, developed by German manufacturer Volkswagen Group, and produced by French marque Bugatti. The Super Sport version of the Veyron is the fastest road-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph). The original version has a top speed of 408.47 km/h (253.81 mph). It was named Car of the Decade (2000-2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear.
Based on the Bentley Hunaudières concept and built at Bugatti’s HQ (Château Saint Jean in Molsheim, Alsace, France), the Veyron’s chief designer was Hartmut Warkuss, and the exterior was designed by Jozef KabaÅˆ of Volkswagen, with much of the engineering work being conducted under the guidance of engineering chief Wolfgang Schreiber. Although specially made by Volkswagen, the Veyron is sold only through the Bugatti manufacturer channels and cannot be found at any Volkswagen dealer. The name got its origin after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti Company. The 16.4 refers to 16 cylinders and 4 turbochargers the car has and the engine produces more than a 1000bhp.
On BBC’s Top Gear the Veyron won the award for ‘Car of the Year’ in the 2010 end award show. Jeremy Clarkson said “It was a car that just rewrote the rule book really, an amazing piece of engineering, and a genuine Concorde moment”. When tested on the Top Gear test track the standard version was not able to reach the top of the lap time leader board which was speculated as being due to the cars substantial weight. The super sport version on the other hand was able to achieve the fastest time ever on the track and was taken to an average top speed of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) by Raphanel on the program, therefore taking its position as the fastest production car in the world.
In 2011, Bugatti Veyron: A Quest for Perfection – The Story of the Greatest Car in the World was published, taking the stance that the car had now become so popular that it was effectively a bona fide ‘celebrity’. The book is based on its author Martin Roach as he attempts to track down and drive the car, along the way interviewing chief designers, test drivers, and the president of Bugatti. (wikipedia.org, 2012)
Bugatti Veyron has become an icon and a legend when it comes to super cars. Probably the most famous car and verified the fastest road legal car in the world today. When it comes to expensive cars, its more or less like expensive watches or any other luxury brands, it’s about the prestige and high status value that a brand promises. But of course at a hiking $1.4 million, this exquisite car is not in the range for the common men of the society and that’s what these expensive brands are all about. These brands are created to match the image of the owner and to give him that extra appeal in comparison to his personality, status in a society and of course the socio-economic class group he belongs to because of the money.
Super brands such as the Veyron belong to a niche category, but such brands let you dream and they let you escape from reality, to an extent so high that you must feel it when you’re at the wheel of this immense machine, which I am sure, must be inescapable for some people. It is your own personal Disney Land, money comes and money goes but for people who fall into the Veyron’s target market I am sure money is not an object.
Brands like these exist for the sole purpose of giving their customers the thrill of escaping routine breaking away from reality and for a moment forgetting your worries, your pains and your responsibilities.
The Veyron can be evaluated in several different branding theoretical approaches which make it flexible brand and a good option to choose plus explore the different brand approaches.
The personality approach in brand management focuses on how and why people choose brands with certain personalities and how imbuing brands with personality thus can be a powerful tool to create and enhance brand equity. (Heding.T, 2008) The theories and methods of the personality approach come from the fields of human psychology, consumer behaviour and personality research. Brand personality can be referred to as human characteristics that consumers relate with the brand. For brand management however brand personality mainly is a way to differentiate the brand from other brands in the same product category or a driver of consumer taste and preference.
The personality approach assumes that the consumers need to express and identify oneself is an important factor in the consumption of the brand. Also, by giving the brand human characteristic will strengthen the brand, and its differentiation. Brand personality can also help in creating an emotional bond between the consumer and the brand because the consumers associate themselves in the personality of the brand and use the brand personality to polish or improve their own or even relate it with their own. For the consumers the brand sometimes represents their personality and is a source of self projection.
Brand personality is not only for the consumer inward construction of self but also can be chosen to their outward signalling value. (Heding.T, 2008)
Veyrons personality which is an exclusive, powerful, sexy, exotic and fast is attractive and relevant to its consumer, that why it appeals to them because it expressive their own personality and helps construct it. For the Brand it is a great for positioning, differentiating and a tool for building an emotional connection with the consumers.
In personality approach to create brand equity the essential factors expression, human personality and consumer identity. The symbolic benefits that the brand provides which are expressed through the brand personality, to its consumer are the measure of brand strength. The Veyron to its consumers is a symbol of wealth, power, elegance and speed; this is the cars personality and with it its strength. In the brand personality approach the main function of the brand is not to provide utility and benefits to the consumers but to allow the consumers to construct and express themselves by proving them with a signal value.
The theoretical building blocks of personality approach consist of three supporting themes: personality, consumer self and consumer self congruence (Heding.T, 2008, p. 132).
Adapted from (Heding.T, 2008, p. 129)
The personality characteristics related with a brand are assumed to be lasting, distinct and stable. The brand personality with its expressive value and the uniqueness influence the attractiveness and the potential strength of the brand. Consumer behaviour research states that consumers utilize brands for symbolic consumption and as ways to express themselves by selecting brands with a specific brand personality. The extent to which consumers are able to use the selected brand for their own construction and signalling of identity relies on the degree of differentiation of the brand from other brands in the same category. Brand personality helps the companies to fill in symbolic cues into the behaviour and communication of the brand. This helps the company to differentiate and gain brand loyalty.
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In the case of Veyron its personality characteristics power, exotic design and speed relates to the super rich of the world and is targeting a niche market. These consumers have the money and power and in order to relate and construct their identities for both inward and outward signalling. Veyron is the best when it comes to super cars in terms of power, speed and price and the consumer feel that owning a Veyron will help them in creating an identity for themselves and be involved or be related with others owners of this prestigious car. In the minds of the consumer owning a Veyron may even improve their personalities than before since they will inherit the personality the car posses by purchasing it. With the attributes of highest cost and fastest speed Bugatti has been able to set itself apart from its competitors by building a stronger personality in the minds of its consumers. The consume of Veyron even distinguish themselves from other owners of the car by modifying the car or getting it a special paint or extra features which gives them an even more separate and exclusive identity.
The Community Approach
The community approach explains how communication between consumers about the brand creates brand value. The theory states the by social interaction among dedicated brand consumers connects brand to consumers and consumers to consumers creating goodwill for the brand and brand equity.
Brand Traid adapted from (Heding.T, 2008, p. 183)
The brand traid shows that for community approach to be successful there has to be interaction between two or more consumers about the same brand. An important point of community consumers is that they are extremely loyal and enthusiastic but are also capable of collective rejection. In this approach the brand management becomes difficult because the marketer is outnumbered in the brand-consumers exchange. The brand equity rests in the hands of the consumers and they can either make or break the brand.
Theory of Community approach consists of Brand community as the core theme with two supporting themes of community theory and subcultures of consumption.
The appropriate definition of community in this case is a key concept in sociology characterised by having three markers or characteristic that go beyond the shapes and forms of a community. According to (Heding.T, 2008, p. 187) “the three markers of community are: consciousness of kind, shared rituals and traditions and a sense of moral responsibility”. The existence of these characteristics is essential to make a community, in theory. In most case communities are bounded by geographical boundaries but not in the case of Veyron thanks to the age of globalisation and internet. Veyron owners exist worldwide though there are very few of them but they are all in the same club and social class.
Subculture of consumption
Veyron in a way has created its own subculture in the community much like Ferrari enthusiasts or Classic cars clubs all over the world.
The role of markets in case of Veyron brand is as an existing market with the consumers as co-creators of brand meaning.
Veyron owners are few but the fans or car lovers are in millions or more. Through the affects community approach Veyron has become an icon in the car industry and with various fan clubs and websites dedicated to it. The owners of the car also feel related somehow since there are only a countable number of them; they associate with each other on the bases of ownership and have access to an exclusive club know as ‘La Vie en Bleu’. In these club meetings they show off their cars to each other and to the public. (Bugatti, 2009).
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