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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If the average age of Element purchasers is up in the 30s or 40s, then did Honda really goof with this marketing?

In one way of thinking - yes. They spent money on developing ads featuring X-Treme Sportz D00dz, all male, all guys who see this as their 'dorm room on wheels' so they can escape in comfort and style to the beach or slopes after taking their nasty old Chemistry final. And some people are shallow - they'll never look past that marketing to see the car as a real choice.

I also think they might have overestimated the buying power and the buying ambitions of that age bracket. All the kids that age that I know are pretty darned broke, and the car they get will probably be their mom's hand me down 198k mile Nissan Sentra Station wagon, or something they can get for $8k, but put a $3k stereo in.

BUT - if Honda made a mistake, I think they made a better one than they would have if they had marketed the Element as just another Suburban Mom SUV full of kids and groceries. The car wouldn't stand out that way. It'd be just another entry in a field of small to mid size SUVs. My mother (a beautiful age 68 ) and myself (a frisky 42) both passed by the Element on the way to look at a CR-V and Pilot and said "That's a teenage boy car." But is it?

Remember the ad campaign "This is not your father's Oldsmobile?" Even the 30+ or 40+ buyer - hell, *especially* the 30 or 40+ buyer - doesn't want to be perceived as an old fogey driving an old Dadmobile. A 30 or 40 year old is likely to have the money to support a leisure activity like sports, but perhaps a little less inclination to do so. By showing them the versatility of the vehicle for the young crowd, they appealled to the 'young thinking' of the buyer. And then the buyer goes on to think, "Hey, if it works for those surfer boys, that means that it drives fun, it cleans up easily and you can get lots of stuff in it. That works for me too."

Mistake? Maybe. Maybe not.

What do you think? :?:
 

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2003 2WD MT GG, 55K as of 3/20(!), It’s a Fun Box
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Well, they're selling well enough that Honda's tracking to build a lot more than the 50,000 initially planned, so something worked. An even though the avarage buyer is 41, that's still really young as average buyers go: the vehicle with the lowest average buyer age is the VW GTI and it has a 37 year old average buyer. For me, the E is the first Honda I've been interested in since the 1st generation CRV (which I could not afford at the time), so they got a customer they otherwise would not have.
 

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I am not sure if "it" worked exactly as Honda planned, but I think their marketing is working "better" than planned.

Honda's studies show that, as dependable as Hondas are, their product line was still being viewed as unexciting. Plus it was not being looked at and admired by the younger folks (who eventually will become older folks). Honda's Element was an attempt to attract the younger buyer (smart aren't I, ha ha). The Element is certainly being looked at and admired by the younger kids. That is just the first step. Prior to the Element, the Honda line was being pretty much ignored by the 19 year old age bracket. I think the Element will become a much sought after vehicle as a step up for kids who are now looking to buy their first new car.

Now for the other key: In the US "young hungry" society, the baby boomers (like me at 53) are still looking for ways to stay young and active. The baby boomers make being 50 appear like being a kid. Enters the Element! I could now buy a dependable Honda, with 4WD, absolutely cool design that says "I have an active lifestyle". Not only that. I can buy a car that snubs its nose at all the yuppies in their Volvos and Beemers all for under $22,000.

I have been a biker for 37 years (actually this has nothing to do with this conversation, I guess). I have never really grown up. There is no way that I would be caught driving a Beemer, a Mercedes or Volvo. I needed something cool. Something that makes people think that my wife and I are on our way from one party to another party. Something that says "we are in it for the fun of it".

In a nutshell, I think Honda did their marketing correctly. However I don't think they took into account the huge baby boomer community that wants what is geared up for the younger kids. This is like a huge bonus to Honda.
 

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Most of the people I talk to have seen the ads and ask about the car.

I remember when I sold shoes we had a large supply of a rather ugly, unconventional sandel called Charlie Browns. An ad ran in the newspaper and we sold out in two days. It just needed exposure to make it trendy for it to sell.

We owned a 1990 Nissen Axxess that has similar dimensions to the Element, but was never advertised. It was not successful, but was an outstanding vehicle. I liked the sliding doors on both sides.

I think that Honda has done an excellent job of promoting the Element.

I notice that many Element owners are former Honda owners. Honda is doing a great job of starting young people out driving Hondas and keeping them as return buyers. The Element fits this catagory.
 

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I must say that I went in to the ol' dealer fully expecting to purchase a CRV; I narrow-mindedly shunned the Element mostly because of the noxious super xtreme ad campaign. As the salesperson and I were doing the preliminary dealership shuffle, I spied an accessory laden Element in the showroom and checked it out. "Cool car" I says to myself.

I took it through the paces and realized that while it may attract gnarly X gamers, it might also be the Ultimate Small Family Utility Machine, what with the storage and the space and the smashing gas mileage and everything. Looks like Honda might have to retool the marketing effort to target a different demographic. In fact, I think we should officially dub it the USFUM in advance of next year's ad campaign....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
[quote:a6c0a11154="CincyElement"]So if I'm 50, does that mean I'm "Above Average"??[/quote:a6c0a11154]

Definitely above average.

It must be hard to be humble when you're so far above average! :wink:
 

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[quote:529008dc2a="TheLusciousHellcat"][quote:529008dc2a="CincyElement"]So if I'm 50, does that mean I'm "Above Average"??[/quote:529008dc2a]

Definitely above average.

It must be hard to be humble when you're so far above average! :wink:[/quote:529008dc2a]

Yes, I have to admit that it is! :D
 

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If you probably remember, Honda did a strategy like this before with the del Sol. Every ad they showed portrayed Cali boys drviing away with a surfboard in the passenger seat with the sun setting behind the ocean waves. The ads were OK but there's one problem, I live in Michigan. Surfborads don't work in Lake Erie.

I think you're right jayharley. The campaign is working better than they expected. Though I wouldn't say that the majority of 19 year olds never looked Honda's way. I think we've got The Fast and the Furious to thank for that.
 

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[quote:0e9ca41379="bush555"]It's one thing to present a cool product, another to market it as such.

Kids are independent-minded -- or liken to be -- and want to confer "coolativity" on their own terms. When advertisers try too methodically to define it for them (the Toyota Paseo, the Pontiac Aztek -- albeit inferior products), it will generally misfire.

Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Nissan have found a good mid-strategy: let music, theme and imagery speak for the product, rather than a worded sell. This method draws the kids' attention, while leaving them space to assess the product for themselves.[/quote:0e9ca41379]

Exactly...

Not too many kids would be willing to put up money on an E. If they have a job and want a car, they'll go for a more plush auto, one to show off and cruise for chicks in. Sorry fellas, the E will get you looks, but not the kinda looks that say a Ferrari or BMW will get you.

I'm in the target, but I think it takes someone with the life experience to truly enjoy the unique qualities of the element. All of the senior members enjoy not working so hard to clean the floors and having the space. Kids are just going through it now, so unless this is their second car, they may never know the greatness.
 

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I’m 53 this month. I watched the development of the original concept “Element” for the past few years. I liked it the first time I saw it. What interested me the most was that someone was interested in developing a practical car at a time when “Beemer’s”, “Mercs” and the “Lexus out to lunch bunch” seemed to dominate the press.

Sure the styling is unique, that’s what I like about it. It's extremely practical.

Where the Honda concept team missed the mark (as do most employers right now) is they are quick to dismiss anyone know as a “Baby Boomer”. What they failed to understand is that the Boomers are the very group that “GET” what the Element is all about. Remember that it was the Boomers who were there when “Rock and Roll’ got started, embraced the British Invasion with the Beatles, Stones, Elton John etc.etc.etc. As boomers we are more likely to purchase a vehicle such as the Element because we have always been a little different.

I didn’t want to drive anything that I could see more than five of on my commute to work. I drive back and forth now grinning because I am again unique. I don’t drive a clone BMW, Taurus, Chevy, Mercedes or fade into the endless lines of SUV look-a-likes. Talk about boring.

I consider myself an “OldYute”. I now have short gray hair; the Beatle Mop Top is long gone, but not the desire to be unique.

I applaud Honda for having the guts to build the Element even though they really did misunderstand a huge and important market.

It will be really interesting will be to see how the competition reacts. I can see “Special X” versions from Ford, GM and Chrysler SUV “Now available without carpeting, or a “High Tech” scuff resistant flooring and panels. They will claim that it was their idea the same as Chrysler did with the Mini Van, ignoring the VW Microbus.
 

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I think you're probably right. They missed the boat but then who really cares. If they are selling, then they are selling regardless of or in spite of how they were marketing them.

I'm just glad they're here.

Just picked up my G. Green EX today! Tickled 56 year old I am and the wife has her E. Blue EX. We're fixed for the forseeable future!

Happy in Colorado!
 

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I, too, am in the target marketing, but I was much interested in the Element long before I saw a commercial for it on the tele. I had read some things, and researched as much as I could. The more I read that it was geared for my demographic, the more I liked it. "This car is perfect for me" It didn't shun me away, because someone was telling me it was made for me, it only enhanced it. I am sure there aren't quite as many who think like I do, but hey, they are selling aren't they?

When I tell people I am getting it (taking it home tomorrow) I get two reactions:

When they know what it is, "I can so see you in that!"
and when they don't know, I show them as I have the brochure on me at all times, "Wow, that is really unique"

Like the Element, we owners are a unique blend. It takes someone who knows what they want, and who isn't afraid of anyone else's quick judgements made about the car to own one.
 

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My wife (51) and I (50) were at Ralph Schomp in Littleton CO to look at the MINIs. We are on the list for the convertible due in next year. She'd never been in one so we stopped in for that. One of the guys in the MINI department - Vince Quick, shamless plug for a friend - is a friend. We've both been into odd cars for a very long time. We got to talking and the Element came up. I'd just seen one at the Honda building at the same dealer.

He said he thought of me when he first saw one because it's very similar to the new Fiat Multplia which we've both seen overseas. I had an original Multipla. You'd love the new Multipla - it has 3 bucket seats across the front.

Anyway, after the MINI stop we went in to really look at the E. , and fell in love. In addition to all the great features, it's the right height off the ground - side doors - for our two older Great Pyrennes to enter and exit comfortably and we can hose out after them.
Anyway, We went in unaffected by the ad campaign. We've since paid attention and know what they're about.

I agree that they need to pitch it to kids and let those of us who've been around the block a few more times come to it. We will. it's the perfect vehicle for a lot of us. Since then we've been cross comparing all the small SUV's and none - none - even approach it.

This will be my first Honda. Friends have been happy with them so that's good enough for me. That and I got burned bad by GM on my last new car and won't be there again. I've had 2 Toyotas.. an 82 Supra when they first hit and an 86 4Runner when they came in. Loved the Supra, not so the Runner.

Have to say, this site has been great. Honest discussion about the flaws as well as the raves. Good advice - avoid the tent for one.

Sure I have my list of things I don't like but hey -Honda hit it right.

Peter
 

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What actually constitutes an SUV?
I mean - I'm leaning toward the 2WD EX because FWD has always been fine by me in the snow, we don't offroad etc.
So what makes a vehicle an SUV? 4WD? Ground clearance?
The ability to go *off Path* if not *off Road*?

What is a MiniVan? Wide open side doors? Lots of cargo space? Ease of Entry? AH yes but also slushy ride, typically low end performance. All show and not much go. The DVD player for the kids is as important as anything.

Minivans have a stigma, but I find them practical. I dont care for traditional SUV's .

Enter the Element which isn't really either. It'a a whole new thing. A whole new thing that I, for one, think needs and deserves a different moniker!

Just a thought
Peter
Again
Sorry.
 

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[quote:b3d7ebe895="PeterCrowl"]
Enter the Element which isn't really either. It'a a whole new thing. A whole new thing that I, for one, think needs and deserves a different moniker!
[/quote:b3d7ebe895]

The Element is considered one of the new Crossover vehicles (according to the names given by "car folk"). Crossovers are basicly SUV type vehicles made on a car platform rather than truck platform. I think that Subaru could be the car company which started this. I usually consider Crossover SUV's and Mini Vans almost in the same category. Execpt for Mini Vans have a very unsporty, strictly "family" machine appearance. Crysler seems to have blured the Mini Van issue even more, with their newest one (I forgot the name). It is really a cool sporty looking Mini Van.

Peter, you really should consider the 4WD version of the E. Using it day to day it is front wheel drive only. As soon as any slippage takes place on the front wheels, it automaticlly transfers up to 70% of the power (or torque - I am not sure) to the rear wheels. This is why Honda designates it as Real Time 4 WD. It is for real world street and road driving. It is not the same type of 4WD that enables you to do any serious off road exploration.
 

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Jayharley was kind enough to take the time to add..

Peter, you really should consider the 4WD version of the E. Using it day to day it is front wheel drive only. As soon as any slippage takes place on the front wheels, it automaticlly transfers up to 70% of the power (or torque - I am not sure) to the rear wheels. This is why Honda designates it as Real Time 4 WD. It is for real world street and road driving. It is not the same type of 4WD that enables you to do any serious off road exploration.

I will. I'm not sure I need a sunroof in the rear although my dogs will probably enjoy it :~)! It's just that I've had 4wd twice in my life. The 4Runner and an International Scout. I actually used it two times total. But it's true what you say about real time being a different type of 4wd reality.

Manditory Thread Topic Content... So that makes Element a CUV? Crossover Utility Vehicle. I'd also suggest

EVV - Efficient Versatile Vehicle

Oh - By the way - I meant to find a shot of the Multipla - wait here a moment....

Ok - I'm back...had to scoot to England for this

http://www.tiscali.co.uk/motoring/roadtests/roadtest_241_1.html

Reviewing it just now I'd still go with Element if only because of the side door configuration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
[quote:faa8c43ca3="PeterCrowl"]
Ok - I'm back...had to scoot to England for this

http://www.tiscali.co.uk/motoring/roadtests/roadtest_241_1.html

Reviewing it just now I'd still go with Element if only because of the side door configuration.[/quote:faa8c43ca3]


The interior is cute! No two ways about it. The exterior - will probably grow on me. I don't think I'd ever need to seat 6 people but if you could change the seating configuration or fold up seats, the Multipla is really kind of appealling. Or appalling. I can't decide.

I don't think most Europeans have a big family these days so I'm a little puzzled at the 6 passenger capacity, but you could certainly take a family motor tour, with Rover and Granny too. But for all the seating, I'm sure the car still feels cramped.

Europeans have such a different perception of what is appropriate personal space in their homes and cars that I find it difficult to adjust when I visit sometimes. My last London hotel room was as big as my mother's walk in closet. Ditto their cars and all their spaces. A big Texas girl like me feels a little squeezed, and not the good kind of squeeze, if you know what I mean, and I'm sure you do. :wink:
 

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[quote:c31e397c39="PeterCrowl"]
I will. I'm not sure I need a sunroof in the rear although my dogs will probably enjoy it :~)! It's just that I've had 4wd twice in my life. The 4Runner and an International Scout. I actually used it two times total. But it's true what you say about real time being a different type of 4wd reality.
[/quote:c31e397c39]

My last car, prior to the E, was an '89 Mitsubishi Montero (that I purchased new). The car was very well made. However it was a true off road 4WD, with the low 4WD option. In 15 years of ownership I never needed the low 4WD. The regular 4WD came in handy every winter, in New England. However, I could not go over 45 - 50 in 4WD. When it was in 2WD it had power only to the rear wheels. Therefore, on the highway, in sleet or light snow, I had a rear wheel drive car, which was horrible. Also to take it out of 4WD I had to pull over and go in the reverse direction for a few feet. Really a pain in the butt.

I do not need a true off road 4WD car. The Element has the best of all worlds for road and highway use. Front drive for good weather and good gas milage and far less wear and tear. Auto 4WD as you need it. You don't have to ever think about it again.
 
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