Automobile manufacturers are always on the lookout for the next big thing to captivate their customers. From producing halo cars in severely limited numbers to participating in motorsports events, to signing up celebrities to endorse products, carmakers have been trying everything under the sun to grow sales.
Often times, it does happen that some companies cannot seem to grow out of a specific perception by consumers. Think about it, can you see Honda selling a Phantom? Can you live with a Toyota badge on something as luxurious as a Maybach? Thinking the other way round, seeing an Aston Martin badge on a Stinger GT is unseemly, even if the car is a good looker.
Automakers came up with a clever solution to the perception problem. If the consumers can’t see a certain badge on certain cars, why not float a new subsidiary that only deals in automobiles with a specific focus? With that in mind, we present to you the brands in the UAE that are subsidiaries of firms that needed a change of image.
Ever since Honda announced a new independent automotive company it was going to float, other automakers could only watch in stunned silence at this bold new move by Big Red. Acura was founded in March 1986 and continues to be Honda’s subsidiary in the business of producing luxury cars.
The first entrant in an empty space usually gets such a headstart that other players can only play catch up. Such is the case with Acura, with other Japanese automakers scrambling in haste to emulate Honda’s masterstroke.
Among the automakers who were left bewildered after Honda floated Acura, Toyota was the first to make its move. Just over three years of Acura commencing operations, Toyota announced its own luxury spinoff under the name Lexus. The company has tasted a lot of success and brought laurels to its parent company. I mean who can forget the fearsome Lexus LF-A with its screamer of a V10 motor?
Lexus makes obscenely luxurious sedans, coupes and SUVs that no one could imagine seeing in Toyota’s stable. With almost thirty years of independent operations behind them, the company now has a strong foothold in the premium saloon and SUV segment in the UAE, emerging as a worthy competitor to older brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi.
It took barely nine weeks for Nissan to rise to the challenge after Toyota cut the ribbon on the Lexus operations. On 8 November 1989, Nissan announced its own luxury spin-off by the name of Infiniti. Though it got off to a slow start, the brand is now raking in handsome sales worldwide, courtesy of its newfound stellar design language and Nissan’s trademark build quality and durability.
Infiniti sells luxury SUVs and sedans in the UAE, with its midsize crossovers receiving wide acclaim for their sorted handling and ride quality. Although some might hold the opinion that Infiniti designs its cars a little too ostentatiously, we dig the design on its bigger offerings like the QX80 and QX50.
After the Japanese big three, South Korean manufacturers were up next for global outreach. Hyundai looked at the success of the previous brands in the list and floated its own luxury subsidiary firm, Genesis Motors in 2015.
Genesis had hitherto been using its parent company’s underpinnings and drivetrain for its range of cars. With the launch of the 2019 G90, the company has also introduced an all-new platform that will be the basis for future models. Although the firm is still in its single-digit years of life, it has already kicked off decently, offering radical designs and high-output powertrains, something one wouldn’t associate with Hyundai.
RAM is a well-known entity that has been in the business of building massive pickup trucks since 2010. What many people are confused about is RAM’s history. American auto conglomerate Chrysler had been offering a pickup truck called Ram under the Dodge brand. While Dodge changed many hands and leadership, the Dodge Ram saw steady, enthusiastic even, sales and earned a loyal global fan base.
In 2010, Chrysler Automobiles officially inaugurated RAM Trucks as a separate entity tasked with producing nothing but pickup trucks. RAM now has an extensive lineup of light, midsize, as well as heavy-duty pickups, and is consistently seeing good business in the UAE, where its size appeal instantly finds takers.
Did you know the above firms were floated by manufacturers you didn’t even imagine? If you know more such entities, drop a comment and we will update this piece accordingly.