Cars and brand extension

Dec 01 2013, 20:35 IST
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SummaryAuto companies are extending their product range and revenue streams by tying up with big fashion brands

Last week, iconic sportscar manufacturer Maserati announced a tie-up with another iconic brand, Zegna, to bring out a limited-edition line of menswear. The Zegna-Maserati product line will include T-shirts, polos, jerseys and pants, a spin-off from the yachting gear that the VOR 70 Maserati team wears. The collection will go on sale in January 2014. According to Ermenegildo Zegna, the two luxury brands are also working on the all-new Quattroporte Zegna limited-edition. Only 100 of the cars will be produced, and all buyers will be given accessories made by the fashion company. It’s merely the latest example of a growing trend, where car manufacturers are extending their product range—and revenue streams—by tying up with big global fashion brands. This involves almost every big auto company, from Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, BMW and others. From fashion wear, they have now expanded into home decor. Bentley has partnered with Luxury Living Group, an Italy-based maker and distributor of high-end furniture, to offer state-of-the-art, heirloom-quality furniture. The Bentley Home Collection, as it is called, retails modern furniture suitable for residential interiors, yachts, private jets and boardrooms. The entire line will be unveiled in January 2014 at Paris’ Maison et Objet International. Thereafter, the collection will be represented at Luxury Living retail showrooms in Paris, Italy and the US. The English luxury car manufacturer already has a collaboration with Swiss watch brand Breitling, wherein they launched the Breitling for Bentley collection, a model based on Bentley’s five-spoke wheel. Last month, Bentley started selling $5,500-handbags from its own line of leather products.

For many auto companies, using the strength of the brand to market their own fashion lines was one of the earlier trends in brand extension, and it continues to this day. Last month, Bugatti unveiled an exclusive apparel and accessories collection at Milan Fashion Week consisting of two lines, “Ettore Bugatti”, carrying an “EB” monogram, and “Extreme Performance”, carrying the Bugatti logo. Included in the collection are crocodile-skin handbags for women, inspired by Bugatti’s front grille. Bugatti will open as many as 35 exclusive boutiques around the globe in the next five years, where “tailor-made/bespoke” products for Bugatti owners will be custom-created to a customer’s specifications.

Ferrari is a lap ahead in the collaboration race, with products ranging from fashion, golf, Mattel scale models and Barbie, Lego, Acer notebooks, Vertu cellphones and now Apple products. They have 28 branded stores around

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