Renault President and CEO Carlos Ghosn gave the keynote speech at the launch of the New York International Auto Show this morning by castigating the industry-at-large for "passionless, cookie-cutter cars" and aiming a broadside at incentive marketing and wasted advertising efforts.
His message at the show, which has brought in press from two dozen countries and will include over twenty product reveals, was a pertinent one for designers, engineers, and communications professionals alike: listen to customers, find out what they are passionate about, and make that the central tenet of production and communications.
Ghosn, who touted his own companies 58% sales volume growth in the US in recent years, and concomitant market share lift from 4% to 6.3% in North America, chided automakers for only advertising and communicating their "passion" messages to a narrow media of car buffs, while reserving big-dollar communications campaigns on price-dominated messages.
The latter, "turn cars into commodities, like mattresses," Ghosn said. "We must always remember people don't always need to buy cars; they choose to buy them."