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Why do companies do special editions? Image by Honda.

Why do companies do special editions?
Why do companies do special editions?
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The 'special edition' will always set the pulses of motor enthusiasts racing. Who remembers the Renault Clio Williams with its gold hubs and its 2.0-litre engine? Since then we've seen Abarth editions of the Fiat Punto and Fiat 500, along with the incredibly striking, recently released, Honda Civic Black edition. So why do companies design these beautiful anomalies that sell in such limited numbers?

Well not everything is about a product's overall return. The Clio Williams was a flagship for Renault's technological prowess, and editions like the Civic Black show that the Civic is much more than just a sensible choice of motor for a certain middle-aged demographic.

These cars pedal an idea of excitement and excellence, supporting and enhancing the rest of the products in the range. The special edition can also be an 'extension strategy', keeping the brand in place is harder than ever and a car like the Honda Black fulfils the "Promotion" and "Product" aspects of the unavoidable "Four Ps" stratagem. Incidentally, unlike many other special editions, the Honda Black is also a reasonable buy, as illustrated in this article on the Carmony site.

Products easily go into decline and manufacturers need to realise that promotions need to be incessant to keep their stock high. Look how the new Ford Fiesta has won our hearts as a nation; we can surely expect snazzy special editions of this modern classic in the coming months in order to maintain its market domination.

Now that companies like Renault seem to be lagging behind the likes of Ford, it wouldn't be surprising if Renault had a stab at making another hot hatch in order to steal a bit of the limelight. Cars like the Fiesta will always be the most practicable and functional, but it's products like the Clio Williams that'll get the airtime on motoring shows.

There's much more competition in the modern marketplace than that of the past, where a handful of manufacturers held dominion over the industry. This means we'll see a lot more clever marketing strategies and plenty more special editions to retain the current customer base, and even bring in new customers to the brand.

Paul McShane - 10 Sep 2014

2014 Honda Civic Black Edition. Image by Honda.2014 Honda Civic Black Edition. Image by Honda.   

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