Remarking on remarketing

I’ve increasingly noticed the term “remarketing” used in the motor industry as a euphemism for secondhand sales.  This appears to have superceded the terms used, nearly new and previously owned. 

These alternative words are selected to distance the process from the image of the secondhand car salesman, the shifty or The Car Lot in EastEnders.

Much like the debate about whether public relations should be rebranded as reputation management, corporate communications, etc – this seems to me to be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

The negative perceptions about public relations and secondhand car sales cannot be addressed by a bit of linguistic propaganda.  In fact, this obfuscation makes people wonder more about what is being hidden.  A new lick of paint is not the answer.

Indeed, once people start to talk in such terms, they sound like a contestant on Radio 4’s classic “” – aiming to avoid repetition, hesitation or deviation.

Definitions of remarketing imply this is a strategy aimed at what the  might consider a dog and attempting to make it a cash cow or even a star.

: marketing activity intended to encourage renewed use of a product in which market interest has declined

In car terms remarketing is defined as: the resale of a used vehicle and all of the various services.

What is particularly odd about “remarketing” in the car world is that it means nothing to the outside world.  I cannot imagine anyone ever saying that they have bought a remarketed car – or a previously owned one come to that.

Of course, the industry needs to manage a vibrant market for such vehicles, if it is to stimulate demand for new car sales.  Does “remarketing” make this side of the business sound more important internally?  Is it more about the status of those involved in shifting older metal?

I think “remarketing” is an ugly word that communicates nothing.  Surely the art of selecting an alternative phrase should be that it is an improvement. 

Of course, some older vehicles are considered as , collector models, historic or even vintage.  This gives them an air of exclusivity – and higher market value.

I like the French term: “voiture d’occasion”, which to my English ear sounds so much more special than buying a secondhand or remarketed vehicle.

Published by

Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Remarking on remarketing”

Comments are closed.