7 coolest auto cross-brand collabs of 2020
In a year filled with brand collaborations, auto brands delivered some of the coolest, if not the most inventive.
Straying from traditional partnerships including luxury clothes brands, BMW, Porsche and Lamborghini experimented to reach younger car buyers and audiences who will eventually be old enough to purchase cars. For Tesla and Aston Martin, liquor collaborations were a unique option. Meanwhile, Hyundai is testing the waters with sustainable fashion and a series of Spotify podcasts and playlists.
The collabs showcase these car brands’ efforts to delve deeper into the direct-to-consumer category, a strategy in response to the pandemic temporarily closing dealerships in March and April.
Here are the coolest auto brand collabs of the year:
BMW x Kith
In October, BMW partnered with streetwear retailer Kith to sell a 94-piece clothing and accessories line along with vintage BMW M3s. These modified automobiles were sold online but were distributed through BMW dealerships. Within a day, they were sold out across Europe, Japan and U.S. markets, ringing up more than $16 million.
It was BMW’s largest partnership in the streetwear category to date, says Albi Pagenstert, head of brand communications and strategy for BMW America, who adds that streetwear is becoming high fashion again, as it was in the 90s. That trend works perfectly for BMW.
“We perhaps underestimated the number of big spenders who are [Kith] fans and fans of BMW,” says Pagenstert. “People who are interested in high-fashion streetwear often have the capability to buy a brand like BMW. So that was one of the key learnings from this event.”
Tesla x Nosotros Tequila
For $250, Tesla lovers can get their own 750 ml hand-blown, lightning bolt-shaped bottle of tequila. Tesla partnered with Nosotros Tequila and alcohol fulfillment company Speakeasy Co. to create its own tequila just in time for the holidays. Like most liquor collaborations that grab the interest of young car drivers, the item quickly sold out of stock.
Tesla’s website descibes the tequila as “100% de agave tequila añejo” which had “aged for 15 months in French oak barrels” and tastes of “dry fruit and light vanilla nose with a balanced cinnamon pepper finish.”
Tesla Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk reportedly wanted to name the booze “Teslaquila,” but Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council said it sounded too similar to the word “tequila,” so the name ended up simply “Tesla Tequila.” Sorry, Elon.
Hyundai x Sustainable fashion
With sustainable fashion all the rage, Hyundai in October announced it was partnering with six fashion brands from around the world to create a capsule collection made of scraps from automobiles.
Hyundai is working with Richard Quinn, Rosie Assoulin, Public School, PushButton, E.L.V Denim and Alighieri on items selling between $250 to $1,450 at the London-based department store Selfridges. The Rosie Assoulin tote bag is a mix of seat belt webbing, carpet fabric and foam. E.L.V. Denim created a jumpsuit out of car leather scraps and recycled jeans. Richard Quinn created a corset using airbag fabric.
Given a car's negative impact on the planet, upcycling car parts is one way the brand can do its part. Hyundai is hoping to accelerate the trend with designers and consumers. All proceeds go to the Institute of Positive Fashion, an organization that helps fashion labels become more sustainable.
Lamborghini x Supreme
In April, before VF Corp. announced it would buy streetwear brand Supreme for $2.1 billion, Lamborghini partnered with the brand for a seven-item capsule collection that carried the luxury car brand’s black and yellow emblem.
Hockey jerseys, T-shirts, hooded jackets, jumpsuits, short-sleeve shirts, beanies and even skateboards all carried the Lamborghini logo. Since stores in the U.S. and U.K. were closed due to the pandemic, the company waived shipping fees on orders over $150.
Aston Martin x Bowmore Scotch Whiskey
Aston Martin launches an even more expensive liquor partnership—this one with Bowmore Scotch Whiskey, to create the elusive, and expensive, Black Bowmore DB5 1964. The partnership is celebrated in the presentation. The single malt whiskey, aged for 31 years, comes with an Aston Martin DB5 piston integrated into the bottle. Only 25 bottles were made and began selling this past fall at $65,000 a bottle—more than most cars on the market. With a price point like that, this is clearly not a push at a younger market, but still cool? No doubt.
For both Aston Martin and Bowmore, the year 1964 is memorable in company history. Bowmore got a new boiler that let the distillery create the Black Bowmore, what the brand calls “one of the rarest and most sought-after single malt whiskies ever created.” The partnership with Aston Martin is only the sixth bottling of the single malt, and there has been only 6,000 bottles sold worldwide. For Aston Martin, 1964 was when its DB5 become an icon for James Bond with the release of “Goldfinger.”
The whiskey is the first of other products and experiences on which the brands will partner in coming years.
Hyundai x Spotify
Where are the kids these days? They're listening to music on Spotify. In November, Hyundai partnered with Spotify to promote its new 2021 Hyundai Elantra. Hyundai worked with artists including Lauran Juaregui in Miami, Amber Mark in New York City and Gryffin in Los Angeles to create virtual tours of their hometowns with curated playlists, podcasts and videos. The digital experience is called “My City Unlocked.” Hyundai worked with its agency of record Innocean USA and Spotify’s in-house team.
"Through this first-of-its-kind partnership, we are using music as a content centerpiece to connect the feeling of unlocking better local experiences with the technology-infused 2021 Elantra. It's the perfect vehicle for exploring the city," Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.
Porsche x Puma
Another November collaboration was between Porsche and Puma on a collection of $150 shoes inspired by the Porsche 911 Turbo. The first pre-sale lasted for just 2.7 seconds, the time it takes for the 911 Turbo to reach 60 mph.
There are eight different designs, each with Porsche colors including Riviera Blue, Saffron Yellow Metallic, GT Silver Metallic and Guards Red. Because exclusivity drives brand collabs, only 500 pairs of each design were created for sale in stores and online.