What is premium?

Luca Ciferri is an Automotive News staff reporter based in Turin Italy.
At Automotive News Europe we are working on our next European market segmentation analysis and an old problem has resurfaced -- where do near-premium brands belong?

In our previous segment analyses published by ANE over the past decade, we placed near-premium brands such as Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Saab and Volvo along with true premium brands, most noticeably BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Volvo was flattened by our decision. Executives told us privately that they did not feel a true premium brand.

Some readers said that Alfas and Lancias made before Fiat owned the brands were premium products, but not the current range, which are largely re-bodied Fiat models and actually compete with volume brands.

The same argument was raised for Saab. The current Saab range is derived from re-bodied Opel/Vauxhall models.

Here's a question:

Do you think Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Saab and Volvo should remain grouped with premium brands? Or is it better to move them into the volume segments with Volkswagen, Renault, Ford, Peugeot, Fiat, Citroen, Opel/Vauxhall, Toyota, Skoda and Nissan, the ten best-selling brands in Europe in the first two months?

Please share your thoughts with me at the email address below.