In an age of “hybrid synergy drive”, CVT’s and FWD, you may be wondering what purpose an archaic, performance-focused flagship vehicle can serve?
Often complex, under produced and over-engineered, halo cars can be described as a figurehead of a brand. They act as a symbol of a brands research, ability and image. One could argue it to be so much more than a symbol to a manufacturer, a flagship vehicle serves one of two purposes. Primarily, drawing eyes both young and old to a distinct brand. Additionally, a flagship vehicle can enthrall and inspire buyers into purchasing a brands comparable models. In doing so, a halo car helps sell a large number of “mainstream” vehicles to consumers. Whether they’re as common as a Miata, or perhaps as rare as Mercedes’ Maybach series, each serve a purpose.
Take the Scion FR-S (now Toyota 86), for example. This small performance coupe served the purpose of bringing in young, upcoming buyers, buyers who might be searching for performance and aesthetic appeal at the moment, but will likely find themselves needing to trade into something larger and more utilitarian down the road. This buyer has spent the last number of years building a relationship with Toyota, and Toyota now has a particular advantage when it comes time for the buyer to make that upgrade and buy a new vehicle.
Further, buyers may feel inspired by a flagship vehicle’s performance metrics or luxury offerings to the level at which it will influence their next purchase. An example of this would be those seeking an Audi RS Model after being influenced by the acceleration, looks, and overall presence of an Audi RS7. The buyer decided to pursue the closest option he could achieve – the Audi A7. The A7’s 333hp 3.0-liter turbo engine may not enjoy the same potency as the RS7’s 605hp 4.0-liter turbo engine, however the buyer has achieved similar styling, luxury, engineering and presence.
So what are halo cars used for? These distinct luxury or performance oriented vehicles serve a much more prominent role than simply portraying a manufacturers potential. These figurehead models ensure similar vehicles are sold in large numbers so dealers can facilitate in generating lifelong customers.