Tag Archives: automobiles

Datsun and Internet Explorer Bite the Dust

As we’ve written in previous articles, no product lives forever. There are always new innovations, trends, social forces, competition, and technologies that push products forward. Ultimately, every product eventually reaches its final stage in the Product Life Cycle (PLC) – decline/harvest – when the product is put to sleep and resources are reallocated to up-and-coming new products.

Two more products joined the eliminated list: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Datsun cars.

Datsun helped Japanese car manufacturers break into the American and European market after World War II. In its heyday, 20 million Datsun cars were sold in 190 countries across the world. The Datsun name was phased out in the 1980s, only to be revived 30 years later as “an important part of Nissan’s DNA.” However, Datsun eventually reversed the decision, making Nissan the primary company brand for the auto maker.

Joining Datsun on the gone-but-not-forgotten product list is Internet Explorer – the Web browser that many say really started the popularity of the Internet. First launched in 1995, IE was the dominant browser for many years, reaching 90% of users in early 2000s. But competition from Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox finally proved to be too much. All is not lost however; in its place will be Microsoft Edge browser.

Farewell to our old favorite brands.

Welcome to the newcomers!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a PLC and place various products and services into each stage?
  3. How are cars moved through the PLC?
  4. How does technology move through the PLC? What are the adoption cycles?
  5. Show video of Internet Explorer death: https://youtu.be/wZoZV6GjzPA
  6. We’ve seen other products revived after being declared “dead.” What would it take to revive these two brands?

Sources:  Jacobsen, R. (15 June 2022). Internet Explorer has retired. Associated Press.; Nissan signals end of road for Datsun cars. (25 April 2022). BBC News.; other news sources.

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Car Washes That do More than just Wash and a Buff

I don’t know about you, but I love a good car wash. Nothing beats taking a dusty, dirty car and turning it into a clean and shiny car.

But, car washes are pretty boring fare. Just basic. Wash and dry. Maybe a little wax. And we can do this ourselves (if lucky enough to have a house and yard), or we can go to a car wash for different levels of service from self-serve to full-detailing.

One of the problems with car washes is their total lack of appeal for customers while waiting for the car to be cleaned. Bored patrons. Utilitarian building. No appeal. No community. Wouldn’t it be nice if car washes were, well, attractive and welcoming?

Some car washes have seriously upped their game, adding coffee shops, bars, food, hookah bars, and more. The result is to make it more like a club – and keep customers there to spend more money and time.

One car wash in Sioux Falls, S. D., offers locally roasted coffee along with sandwiches and pastries. Another business offers pet-washing stations plus doggy snacks. A car wash in Zurich, Switzerland, has a dance club on the second floor so that customers can dance while they wait. And, a car wash in Plano, Texas, uses advanced technology in its $5 million facility with a luxury lobby complete with televisions and café

Lest you think car washes are small potatoes, a research report shows it growing to a $38 billion market by 2030. However, start-up costs for an express exterior car wash can be several million dollars. Businesses need a little competitive edge and better services could help differentiate car washes.

Care for a latte while you wait?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start with a poll. What do students dislike about car washes? What amenities would they like to see in an upscale car wash?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this service? What are the points of difference?
  3. Discuss the four I’s of services: Intangibility, inconsistency, inseparability, inventory.
  4. Where on the service continuum is a car wash?
  5. Service encounters: Develop a customer contact audit for a luxury car wash.
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop their own car wash service.
  7. Who is the target market? How will they promote it?

Sources:  Jordan, M. (26 April 2022). The luxury car wash: Dog spa, hookah and even lamb chops while you wait. Wall Street Journal.

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CarBravo – General Motors Introduces its Used-Car Website

Shopping for a used-car is challenging these days. Not only is there a reported shortage of used-cars, but prices have been steadily rising at an estimated rate of 35%, making it hard for consumers to shop for a good used-car at a good price. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of ways – and websites – to shop for a used-car.

To access this rising demand, and to help resell its hundreds of thousands of used-cars, General Motors recently announced a new digital platform named ‘CarBravo’ that will be focused on selling its own used-car inventory.

GM officials stated that there are roughly 400,000 used vehicles available on an ongoing basis and its dealers sell 2.5 million used cars each year. Plus, GM and GM Financial have another 500,000 used cars each year to add to the mix.

According to industry analyst research, the U.S. used car market is more than two times the size of the new car sales. McKinsey estimates that U.S. consumers buy more than 39.4 million used cars each year, at a value of $1.4 billion. And used car sales are growing at a faster rate than new car sales, leading to an expanded market opportunity.

The biggest used car dealers currently are Carvana, CarMax, and Cars.com – all of which use their websites and locations to attract buyers and make it easy to both sell and purchase a used car. Plus, Ford has already entered into the consolidated used car market with its Ford Blue Advantage site.

CarBravo will offer online only purchase, dealership only purchase, and a combination of the two methods. However, one of GM’s biggest strength may be its reach – it has a network of 4,200 dealers across the nation, and those dealers have 400,000 used vehicles in inventory each year.

Where would you shop for a used car?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Poll students: Who has sold a car? Who has bought a used car? What was their experience?
  2. List the places that used cars can be purchased. Who are the direct competitors to GM? Indirect competitors?
  3. Show video discussing the used car market: https://youtu.be/OMHhOdQRXZM
  4. Discuss the purpose of GM’s new business – CarBravo.
  5. Ask students to develop a SWOT analysis for General Motors, focusing on opportunities and threats. What are the main risks and issues?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare CarBravo with a competitor.
  7. What are the points of difference?

Source: Brown, L. S. (January 12, 2022). Car and Driver. GM to launch CarBravo, its own used car sales website.; LaReau, J. (January 11, 2022). Detroit Free Press. GM launches massive used car website CarBravo, hopes to take on Carvana.

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