Created on Friday, 01 October 2010
This week, Toyota, the manufacturer that I represent, introduced a new brand to its Canadian lineup. The initial rollout of this new entry-level vehicle is limited to the Greater Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver areas, with additional dealers being added across the country in 2011.
The brand is called Scion and it's aimed at a youthful market (18-38 years). Selected dealerships have designated a portion of floor space to showcase this new brand and its three (soon to be four) unique models. Distinct displays complete with attractive graphics and display materials, unique styling and accessories further separate this brand from traditional Toyotas.
Available for the last seven years only in the United States, this new brand to Canada will appeal to younger buyers wishing for a distinctive ride that can be configured and personalized in various formats.
Whenever a manufacturer launches a new vehicle, it creates excitement at the dealership level, throughout the industry and — hopefully — with car buyers as well.
On the other hand, it's unfortunate when a vehicle brand is discontinued, but that's the reality of a competitive industry. Think Oldsmobile, Saturn, Hummer, Plymouth, Isuzu, Pontiac, AMC, Daewoo, Saab and Mercury. These and other once-proud nameplates all enjoyed recent Canadian popularity, but for various reasons they're no longer around.
However, there is no shortage of new logos to fill the void left in their wake. Rather than lament the demise of former brands, consumers should consider the sheer scope and volume of vehicles available today.
In Canada, the selection of brands and model categories continues to evolve: subcompact, crossover, mid-size luxury, convertible, roadster, minivan, grand tourer, compact SUV, and intermediate or full-size pickup truck are some of the classifications available.
Competition brings out the best in many areas, including the automotive marketplace. In terms of design, styling, safety, efficiency and performance, the current generation of vehicles is light years ahead of those produced a decade or more ago.
Within the last 10 years or so, a whole new classification has emerged: hybrid vehicles and alternate fuel vehicles. The innovative technology behind these types of vehicles has been a game-changer for our industry.
Today, most major automakers are marketing and developing new hybrid vehicles to satisfy an increased demand for environmentally friendly transportation. This highly competitive business environment will lead to even more choice for consumers. In years to come, don't be surprised to see many hybrid models evolve to establish their own brand identity and distinctive marketing approach.
Still looking slightly ahead, car buyers can expect more selection with nameplates like Tesla, Fiat, Chery, Lancia, Spyker, Tata, McLaren and Alfa Romeo, which will soon join other recently introduced brands in our market.
We are already familiar with the logos of Smart, Kia, Lamborghini, Mini, Mitsubishi and Maserati, all relatively new to Canada, but they exemplify the diversity of today's new-car marketplace.
One of the most challenging aspects of buying a new car is deciding which brand and features are best suited to your driving style and budget.
Globalization of our industry has benefited Canadian consumers with a wide array of automotive products that invite comparison.
With such a plethora of brands and models to choose from, today's automotive consumers are well served and the quality and value of vehicles have never been higher. Indeed, this is a golden age for the automobile. Together with new automotive technology, we are enjoying a renaissance in style, design, safety and performance.
Whatever your driving preference and budget, rest assured that there are many brands of vehicles on the market that will more than satisfy your driving requirements.