Testing the Limits of Brand Loyalty: Particulate Matters
I want to give a shout out to the seemingly infinite number of diesel fans who firmly believe that Ram pickup trucks and Cummins diesel engines are the stop-all, end-all, equivalent to the axis on which the Earth rotates.
In this Millennial era of keeping it (and ‘it’ can literally be whatever) “one hundred” (percent), or, using a more dated term, “real,” there’s no way that I’d ever argue against you guys…and ladies. When it comes to being die-hard stalwarts of Clessie’s brand, you all keep it a thousand, let alone one hundred!
Having been around engines, cars, trucks and motorsports for many years, I’m keen to automotive brand loyalty, at its highest and lowest levels. Being faithful to a single manufacturer can be based on personal experience and satisfaction with a product, it may come by way of sponsorship, or, it’s simply dedication that has been in existence for many generations (you may come from a family of “enter-favorite-make-here” fans).
When it comes to brand loyalty, I’m currently at a bit of a crossroads. Yes, I’m “torn,” if you will. You see, for many, many years, I’ve been a disciple of the Ford brand. Our family cars, sports cars and trucks all sport the Blue Oval badge, and on a few occasions, our driveway has resembled a small Ford dealership. However, despite this strong dedication, I can’t say this has happened because we just believe that Fords are the best vehicles ever. They’re plenty “good,” or to some people they’re even “great,” but they’re just not the “best ever.” But, nor are Chevrolets, GMCs or Rams, for that matter.
Pledging your allegiance to a specific Make is like being a fan of a college or professional sports team. You adopt teams (like “my” Pitt Panthers, New York Yankees, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Cowboys) and you stay with them. Win or lose, through thick and thin, and, without question, regardless of how other people may feel about the groups you support. Well, you at least try your best to do this.
An automotive tragedy struck our household on September 22, 2016, when our ’05 Ford Five Hundred suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure. Something let go in the driveline, and I made the conscious decision to explore buying a new vehicle, instead of investing what I was confident would be more money in repairing the car, than the car’s actual value.
From a brand-loyalty and diesel-enthusiast standpoint, being a “Ford guy” and editor of this fine magazine made me wish that the not-so-top-secret-anymore, 3.0L diesel-powered F-150 was available. In case you aren’t aware, yes, according to hot rumor, spy photos, and due to the eerie silence from my trusted insiders at Ford, I think it’s pretty safe to say the company really is getting ready to offer a half-ton pickup with an oil burner under its hood, possibly as soon as Model Year 2018. Had said F-150 been in dealers’ showrooms on the day the Five Hundred broke down, I probably would’ve snapped one up (even though a small or midsize sedan is what we “needed” as a replacement, and, as far as trucks are concerned, we already have “Big White,” the ‘95 F-350 dualie).
OK, so, when it comes to “loyalty,” this is where things got tricky. Trust me, I’m very aware of how big of a perceived “no-no” it is for a Ford fan to give Chevrolet any consideration or acknowledgement. However, despite this, I also know that in no matter how much we support or even “love” a certain brand, no manufacturer is the stop-all, end-all, equivalent to the axis on which the Earth rotates. None of ‘em are, and in the grand scheme of life and doing what’s best for you (and/or your family), having a favorite is fun and can give you a sense of pride, but, it’s also really not “that” serious.
So, with the F-150 not a reality (yet), and Volkswagen still not completely out of its emissions quagmire and selling TDI cars again in the U.S., our selection tables turned to Chevrolet’s diesel-powered Cruze; a small car that certainly will suit our transportation needs just fine (and really make me happy with its great fuel economy). We did end up making a move away from the Blue Oval. And, believe it or not, while I’m receiving the expected ribbing from friends and family who probably thought they would never live to see it happen, I’m not as out of sorts about buying a non-Ford as I thought I would be.
“Rocky,” our new ’16 Chevrolet Colorado LT sits proudly in the driveway. And, yes, it’s powered by the 2.8L Duramax I-4 turbodiesel engine. The way things played out when we visited the dealership, Rocky was right there and available (for a swingin’ deal, I might add), and a diesel-powered Cruze was nowhere to be found. It’s funny how things end up working out that way.
Meet “Rocky,” our ’16 Chevrolet Colorado LT. She’s pretty simple and plain right now. But, you can bet with confidence that we’ll be using her to explore some of the technologies that are being developed for both the Colorado/GMC Canyon platform and its 2.8L Duramax diesel engine.