Perception is Reality: The Most Successful Re-Branding Stories

If we have learned anything from life it is that perception is reality, something that is especially true in the car industry. It is one of those markets where no one is safe. It doesn’t matter how illustrious your history is, it can all crumble if you don’t ensure your perception is right. But while that means you could see your reign slip, it also means you could see you day come, and that is what is happening right now for a lot of car manufacturers.

Whether it is because of upgraded looks, sleek designs, cornering a niche in the market or using clever marketing; headway in the market can be made, and those brands that were once seen as inferior could start eating into the sales figures of bigger brands.

But what are the most successful brand reinventions in modern times? Well, read on to see our list of manufacturers that are shedding their skin and climbing the food chain.


There is no denying that Skoda was once the laughing stock of the entire motoring industry. Even kids who had never seen a Skoda knew a joke about a Skoda. It was things like, how do you double the value of a Skoda? You fill it with fuel. Why do Skoda’s have heated back windscreens? So your hands don’t get cold while you are pushing it. But look at them now. They have not only turned things around, they are the everyday car to beat when it comes to reliability. They have become the new Volkswagen. The engine is the same (without lying about the emissions), the comfort is fantastic and the design has become sleek. No one laughs at that logo anymore, and that has allowed them to eat away at that part of the market once reserved for the bigger names in the game.


Owning a Volvo used to mean you were the most boring Dad to ever walk the planet. If you owned a Volvo then you could be described in one word, and that word would be beige. Not anymore, though, because Volvo’s have come to epitomize what understated luxury means. Beautiful styling, unrivaled ride quality, smart and refined and the home to some of the most outstanding technological advancements in any car. That is their secret weapon; tech. They are not only sneaking up on the likes of Tesla, but they are fast becoming a tech powerhouse. Yes, there is driver assist and all of that. But the everyday advancements are staggering. Touchscreen dashboards, windscreen heaters that link to your smartwatch, and remote engine start up. It has it all. Ba-bye boring and beige Volvo driver. Hello, sophistication.


If you were to step into a time machine, head back to the mid-1980s and walk into a Hyundai showroom you would have walked out again faster than you could say, “hell no.” They had a car that was so bad it became slang, “that is so pony.” So it is no shock that sales were equally dismal. Nowadays, though, Hyundai’s are everywhere. They have managed to return from the dead and do some miraculously. How did they do this? They concentrated on bringing out a range of excellent cars at an affordable price knowing that the best thing in the eyes of a consumer is value. Good value is the best marketing tool of all.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.