The importance of marketing in the automotive industry has grown to such an extent that it is now involved in the very first stages of development of new cars. This explains why carmakers have begun creating a biography for a single target buyer even before starting to develop a model car.
Take for instance Nissan’s luxury subsidiary Infiniti, which already knows everything about the people who will be buying its upcoming compact model, loosely inspired by the Etherea concept (shown in the pictures) and due to appear in 2015.
“The target customer is a French lady called Pascale. She’s 34 years old, living in London with an English guy who works in banking,” Nissan global product planning boss Andy Palmer told Autonews Europe.
What does he actually mean by that? “We pick a lead market, we pick a lead customer and we research in detail that lead customer. Every car has a person with a name, an income and a lifestyle and that gives product planners a reference of where we’re going with the car,” Palmer explained.
This extreme form of customer profiling is aimed at giving designers and planners a clear focus of what is required from the car they will develop. It’s only natural that the more radical the car is, the less mainstream the customer will be.
The fictional client usually lives in the country or region where the car will sell the strongest. Nissan used the same approach when it developed the Juke and it has already identified the customer for the new Qashqai compact crossover due next year. However, Palmer didn’t get into personal details about the next Qashqai’s typical buyer, only revealing that the person is urban and European.
By Dan Mihalascu