Re: Lancia´s news from 2006
"Is Lancia now competing with the Swedes as a somewhat-prestigious, distinctive mainstream alternative, or with Skoda as a comfort-oriented value manufacturer, evoking a conservative and traditional pseudo-prestigious image?" wrote Car4mh.
That´s plausible: Lancia as a competitor to Volvo. This still begs the question what is Volvo about apart from safety. If Volvo "owns" safety, what does Lancia bring to the party? Not much which is why Volvo S80s outsold Lancia Thesises (pl?) 450 to 1.
Your analysis of Skoda is perfect and I´d say Skoda appeals to the kind of people who used to buy Volvo 340s and cheaper 240s. These are conservative people who like the associations of the chrome grille and fluted metalwork.
Back to Volvo/Lancia: Volvo has had 50 years of consistently pushing safety and quality and would appear to be quite safe in their niche positioning. Lancia has flimmered and wobbled about ever since Fiat bought them. I don´t think they can muscle in easily on the Volvo/Rover/Ghia-badged Ford sector.
But, Ga41 writes :"Alfa Romeo the more sporting near premium brand and Lancia the premium-ish although still slightly sporty one." I really don´t see how this would appear in the "real world" but in so writing, you have illustrated the problem excellently.
In my view, Alfa should be sporty to very sporty, with overt sporting styling inside and out: hooded dials, deep dish ashtray, Recaroid seating, short, stubby gearlever. Butch. The Lancia should be good to drive too but with huge effort expended on steering quality, brake feel and agility and more emphasis on ride refinement and compliance. In the Alfa you should notice the gearlever snicking into place. In the Lancia everything should be transparent and well-oiled. Like a well-dressed man, you won´t notice the refined quality until fifteen minutes has passed. Every Lancia should be unbelievably comfortable to sit in and should put a premium on space and colour. An Alfa should feel snug, in contrast. So, how do you stop this recipe appealing to elderly lawyers and ladies who lunch? Nearly outrageous styling. Alfa can recall its sporting past. Lancia should be strikingly modern, wierd nearly, like Citroen or Ford in its Edge-design days. The Lancia person likes Bang&Olufsen not Church´s shoes. The Lancia man or woman has a freaky modern house and needs to impress no-one. They would spend money on eating at El Bulli. This is completely different from the current Lancia person who likes brown leather, 19th century architecture and who surrounds themselves with vintage things.
Where does this fit on my brand triangle? I need a fourth corner or it means Lancia has a USP, it is not fighting for an existing niche.
If anyone in Lancia is reading, my brand management services are available at a reasonable cost.