The highs and Roewes of SAIC
With Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC) announcing that its revised (Mark III?) Rover 75 car would wear the Roewe badge (incidentally, the Chinese words sound nothing like that, at least not down south), after it failed to secure the Rover trade mark from BMW, I decided to look into alternatives.
We know that Roewe won’t work. It might as well be on a par with its sister brand Chery. Apparently, it’s a Sinoﬁed version of Löwe, but I guess those speaking Mandarin ‘oop north’ ﬁnd the r sound more natural. The made-up brand and its spoof Anglo-like connotations come across to western eyes as hackneyed at best. The world is laughing, unless the prices are dirt cheap—SAIC’s most ready approach, to out-Daewoo Daewoo.
It could have considered Riley, which BMW probably doesn’t want to sell. And most of the acceptable brands which don’t compete with BMW’s own products are held by SAIC’s smaller, older rival, Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp.
SAIC has found itself out-manœuvred in the branding stakes by NAC, which, after my checking today, owns trade marks including Austin, Morris, MG (which it will use to launch its range), Wolseley, Vanden Plas, Morris Minor, Austin Healey, Princess and Vitesse—which goes to show, playing fair results in better karma. Regardless of how dated the MGs will be when NAC begins building them, the brands will cover matters temporarily until the company can get its act together with some new models.
Of course, SAIC can use its massive eight-ﬁgure war chest, the one it had for trying to get the Rover name, to promote the 75 like crazy. The car is a tidy little number with a vastly improved interior. Opinion is divided on the sheetmetal changes, but I think they look acceptable. Plus, SAIC proponents will argue that this is merely SAIC testing the waters before it scares us with some globally competitive cars by 2010.
The pressure is on for NAC to get its models out, and to develop new ones—or else, brand or no brand, it would ﬁnd itself exactly where MG Rover was, struggling to sell cars in the face of better and newer competition. It has many fans already—and its story is like that of Britain’s itself during World War II: the underdog, struggling to make good in the face of larger and better equipped rivals. It’s something that can be used in its PR when MG returns.
(With thanks to Dan Lockton for alerting me to the Roewe news.)
Update: Roewe’s web site previews the October 23 announcement.
Del.icio.us tags: MG Rover Roewe SAIC NAC trade mark brand branding Posted by Jack Yan, 00:18
the logo is all wrong, i have no idea who changed it from rover
Chinese Cars - Chery Geely GWM Nanjing Auto
Are you based in China? I would be interested to hear how things develop with SAIC. I suspect the follow-up model—the Golf-sized car based on the 75 platform—is the one to watch. But whether it will have more credibility than the Mk I Hyundai Elantra back in its day is open to question.Post a Comment
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