The nondemographic segmentation of the automobile market is more complex than that of
the watch market. The segments crisscross, forming intricate patterns. Their dynamics must be seen
clearly before automobile sales can be understood.
Segmentation analysis leads to at least three different ways of classifying the automobile
market along nondemographic lines, all of which are important to marketing planning.
Value Segmentation. The first mode of segmentation can be compared to that in the watch
market–a threefold division along lines which represent how different people look at the meaning of
value in an automobile:
1. People who buy cars primarily for economy. Many of these become owners of the Falcon,
Ford, Rambler, American, and Chevrolet. They are less loyal to any make than the other
segments, but go where the biggest savings are to be found.
2. People who want to buy the best product they can find for their money. These prospects
emphasize values such as body quality, reliability, durability, economy of operation, and
ease of upkeep. Rambler and Volkswagen have been successful because so many people in
this segment were dissatisfied.
3. People interested in "personal enhancement" (a more accurate description than
"prestige"). A handsomely styled Pontiac or Thunderbird does a great deal for the owner's
ego, even though the car may not serve as a status symbol. Although the value of an
automobile as a status symbol has declined, the personal satisfaction in owning a fine car has
not lessened for this segment of the market. It is interesting that while both watches and cars
have declined in status value, they have retained self-enhancement value for large portions of
Markets can change so swiftly, and the size of key segments can shift so rapidly, that great
sensitivity is required to catch a trend in time to capitalize on it. In the automobile market, the
biggest change in recent years has been the growth...