cars

The problem with Lexus is while they created great products they know people want, they have no consistent company vision of their own

A business, especially a luxury-car business, should stand for something more than just best practices and profit taking. A great car company needs its own animating idea, expressed through the entire product line—a spirit that holds the enterprise together. Even the BMW X6 has a little 2002 in it.

Such robust longevity requires a clear heading. But Lexus’s compass is being driven berserk by the magnetism of other people’s concepts. The very principle that made Lexus a household name now looks, to me, like its undoing.

If Lexus wants to keep that No. 1 spot, beating back BMW and Infiniti and Audi and Hyundai and whatever else gets in line, it needs more RXs and fewer LFAs. It better stop trying to be all things to all people. It better figure out what it wants to be.

You might find temporary success by following, copying, chasing other products. But for long term success, you need to define your own products and company vision. Product research can only go so far.

We deal with this everyday at Posterous. We’ve never been ones to do what other companies are doing. Or, sometimes, even to do what our users think they want. We know what our vision for Posterous is, and we follow that 100%.

BMW and Apple do this very well. Sometimes you might disgree with particular choices, but they are following their corporate vision consistently.

Who knew you could get product advice from Car and Driver? 🙂

BMW and Audi: you guys are going to fight for my money for years to come. Thanks to your great products and marketing

There have been some great commercials during the Olympics, particularly from car companies. The BMW and Audi ones especially struck me. First, BMW:

“What you make people feel is just as important as what you make. At BMW, we don’t just make cars, we make joy.”

This is so true. There is something about the joy of driving a BMW that is unmatched by any other car out there, except my Miata. Both are perfectly balanced, front engine, rear wheel drive beasts designed to bring a smile to your face.

But as much as I’m a BMW fanboy, I also love Audi and love rooting for the underdog.

I love how they directly attack the other car companies. Audi has done incredible things since the A4 came out in 1996 (I bought an A4 in 2000). Now they’re on the offensive, educating people that there are better options out there.

I’m cheering for Audi here, would love to see them pass BMW in a few years. They have much better product design, but not quite as good vehicle technology underneath. If they can add more powerful engines, reduce weight, improve balance, I’ll be an Audi owner for life.