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The art of getting personal

Not so long ago personalisation in the car market was a luxury reserved for the well-heeled. If you wanted tailor-made, you had to pay for a special edition model or spend a fortune on the options list. Not so anymore. Volume manufacturers are rapidly filling a gap in the market for affordable cars that allow their drivers to make them unique – no longer are cars merely a functional machine designed to get you from A to B, they are a fashion accessory that makes a statement about who you are.

More and more often, we are seeing a vast array of paint colours, trim options, wheel sizes and more being stated as a selling point for the everyday vehicle. City cars in particular are designed to make their owners stand out amongst the hubbub of urban life.

The new Vauxhall ADAM is taking things to an even higher level, boasting countless combinations to satisfy the most demanding driver. Even the configuration process is personalised – the site asks you to enter your name before you pick your preferred ADAM (JAM for the fashionistas, GLAM for those who like the limelight and SLAM for those who walk on the wild side). Customers can select from a multitude of options with the promise that nobody else’s car will be quite like theirs. It’s a tantalising proposition.

The need to express ourselves as individuals is by no means new. By tapping into it, carmakers are beginning to explore an idea that businesses in the beauty industry have honed to a fine art: the idea that making us feel good about ourselves makes us spend money, not once but time and time again. Why have a car the same as everybody else’s when for a mere £1,000 more (a cost that can be easily spread into manageable amounts through finance), we can have one that says something about us?

Volume brands are waking up to the fact that if their products can make us feel good about ourselves, then we’ll probably be feeling good about their products. And why, then, after three years would we trade in our glorious, personalised car that we configured ourselves for a standard model from a different brand that doesn’t give us the same sense of pleasure or individuality?

A personalised driving experience on a day-to-day basis is as strong an argument for brand loyalty as good customer service or impressive warranty deals. Make us feel special every day and the chances are, we’ll want to come back.

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