Category: PR

By on August 30, 2017

2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD, Image: FCA

There was quite a debate occurring in TTAC’s private Slack channel yesterday — a conversation sparked by knowledge of a new discount from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles extended to those who lost insured vehicles in Hurricane Harvey.

The timing of the offer — CarsDirect  claims the deal was valid as of August 28th, even as images and video of the waterborne and helicopter rescues of Houston-area residents filled television screens and social media — raised an eyebrow. How soon is too soon? It would seem the main concerns of impacted residents over the past couple of days included finding food and shelter, reconnecting with loved ones, and perhaps picking up the pieces in both flood- and wind-damaged communities. Not shopping for a new vehicle online.

The nature of the offer sparked further debate. Affected residents in certain Texas and Louisiana counties can show a copy of their insurance claim form to receive $500 off the purchase or lease of a new FCA vehicle, certain models (like the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler 200, SRT models, and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio) not included. Buyers can combine the offer with other applicable discounts.

$500 off that new Grand Cherokee? Whoo-wee, you might say. At what dollar amount does a post-disaster offer change from feeling like an opportunistic sales grab and more like a gesture of kind-hearted humanitarian assistance? Or is this just cynical thinking — should we regard any offer as a sign of generosity? It’s certainly not a new practice for any automaker. On and on it went.

Of course, any conclusion comes down to the individual. But this morning we heard FCA isn’t alone in offering deals to Harvey victims.  Read More >

By on May 28, 2016

Tesla Model X, Image: Tesla Motors

Bad PR from customers annoyed by their problem-plagued Tesla Model X SUVs continues to hammer the electric automaker.

A lawsuit filed against Tesla by a California man is the latest bit of bad news (and press) for the company. According to Barrett Lyon, the bizarre electrical gremlins running loose in his Model X turned his vehicle into a static driveway decoration. Read More >

By on May 18, 2016

2015-Ford-Focus-15

Ford Motor Company probably wishes it had gone with a CVT.

After weathering years of complaints about the performance of its six-speed PowerShift dual clutch transmission, Australia just added to the misery with a class-action lawsuit, CarAdvice reports.

The suit, which alleges the transmissions are unsafe, concerns 2010–2014 Ford Fiesta and Focus models.  Read More >

By on May 17, 2016

volkswagen-jetta-tdi-clean-diesel-event-no-better-time-to-buy-large-3

Decades of feel-good corporate outreach and a hug-worthy relationships with buyers didn’t stop potential customers and veedub diehards from fleeing Volkswagen after the diesel stink bomb went off in Wolfsburg.

Like a husband of 50 years caught cheating with his wife’s sister, the intentional deception behind the diesel emissions scandal shattered the hard-earned trust between the company and its consumers. Thanks to that, Volkswagen’s sales trajectory now mimics that of a very leaky submarine.

Could Volkswagen have managed the scandal better, and can the company rebuild that lost trust?

According to the consumer opinion-tracking Reputation Institute, the answers to those questions are “you bet” and “yeah … it’s gonna take a loooong time.” Read More >

By on May 14, 2016

2016-cadillac-ct6

Will there be black berets, obscure Russian poetry and Yoko Ono albums for sale at the door?

Fans of the General no doubt recoiled in horror at reports that Cadillac — a brand that conjures images of Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, the movie Badlands, and the hopes and aspirations of middle America — is opening a swank coffee joint in Manhattan.

Well, it true. They’re here, they’re upscale, get used to it.

If you’re really lucky, maybe one day you will find yourself drinking java from the upper slopes of a mountain you’ve never heard of while discussing designer fragrances and interpreting (wrongly) works of modern art…alongside a Cadillac. Read More >

By on May 9, 2016

Chevrolet Small Cars

The official launch of the first-generation Chevrolet Spark played out like a detective in a comedy film who has to go undercover in a high school, all the while clumsily pretending to be hip.  It was an awkward pander to the Millennial first-time car buyer, set to too-carefully chosen music.

With refreshed and updated small car models on their way (or already here), General Motors wants young people to rediscover their often overlooked bottom-rung vehicles, so it left the marketing to experts. Read More >

By on April 23, 2016

1958 Buick

If 1958 wasn’t the peak of automotive glitz and excess, it was damn close to it.

American automakers, emboldened by a never-ending postwar buying spree, heaped more chrome and new technology onto their models that year than ever before. Uplevel models — Lincoln, Buick and Olds, especially — were the worst offenders, somehow managing to make themselves look 1,000 pounds heavier than their tasteful ’57 predecessors. Read More >

By on April 9, 2016

Gaffigan Pacifica ad

Chrysler needed a pitchman who could rally a nation of parents around its all-important 2017 Pacifica minivan, so it called on Jim Gaffigan.

In a series of new commercials released by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the deadpan “everyman” stand-up comic talks up the Pacifica’s ability to improve one’s “dad brand.”

Gaffigan, known for refraining from profanity while practicing the time-honored art of observational humor, comes across as vaguely narcissistic and aloof in the ads, often forgetting the names of his own kids and watching video clips of himself on the Pacifica’s flip-up seatback monitors.

Read More >

By on March 30, 2016

Honda HT3 Driving Shoe (Image: Honda North America)

Where do I start?

So, Honda unveiled a shoe yesterday, and it’s the next best thing to owning and driving a 2016 Civic.

At least, that’s what we’re led to believe. The limited edition…shoe…is a collaboration between Honda (maker of 3,000 pound vehicles that can drive places and are way pricier than pants), lifestyle-oriented digital media company Thrillist and menswear company JackThreads.

Yes, it’s called the HT3 Driving Shoe, and it premiered alongside the car that inspired it at a Thrillist-hosted Los Angeles shindig. We can’t confirm rumors that rioting broke out due to shoe anticipation.

Read More >

By on March 30, 2016

2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, headlights, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has started rating headlights, and just released a report that takes a dim view on the performance of most midsize cars.

Only one vehicle out of 31 testers earned a rating of “good” from the road safety nonprofit, with the bulk of midsize vehicles earning a rating of “marginal” or “poor.”

The results are even less dazzling when you take into account optional lighting packages, which pushed the number tested to 82. Even then, it was only the LED-equipped advanced technology package on the Toyota Prius V that earned the IIHS’s acclaim. Read More >

By on March 29, 2016

Christian Meunier, Image: Nissan

Nissan’s U.S. sales boss delivered some Glengarry Glen Ross-style “motivation” to its ad agencies in order to pump up the brand’s weak messaging via a new campaign.

Christian Meunier, who took control of Nissan’s U.S. sales and marketing in January, dressed down a roomful of agency reps a week into his new job, according to Automotive News (via Ad Age).

Read More >

By on March 29, 2016

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

If you didn’t think an electric car could stall, Volkswagen has a Golf-sized dose of reality for you.

That, Jeep’s Compass/Patriot successor wants to woo south of the Equator, General Motors gets some good legal news, there’s money in them there charging stations, and Volvo gets a PR boost … after the break!

Read More >

By on March 18, 2016

Mustang

When you get to a certain age, you think you know everything about Monopoly:

Children will cheat (it’s what they do), you’ll never make money off of the louse-infested Baltic Avenue, and utilities can be a cash cow — especially in real life.

But who knew there was a version of Monopoly devoted to brands? Huh? Playing a game devoted to brands means people might start talking about brands, and that’s not something you should do. Read More >

By on March 17, 2016

Car collision (Mark Turnauckas/Flickr)

As we reported yesterday, a group of top automakers has agreed to offer automatic emergency braking (AEB) on almost all of their models by 2022.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed the voluntary agreement today, meaning virtually all light-duty cars and trucks sold in North America will adopt the safety feature by Sept. 1, 2022.

The group is made up of Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. Read More >

By on March 14, 2016

2016 Dodges in Go Mango

The paint — erm, act could be wearing thin.

In its latest nod to the heady and far-out past, Dodge will let you have your Challenger or Charger SRT 392 or Hellcat in its newest resurrected color, “Go Mango.”

Joining other blast-from-the-past(els) like “Plum Crazy,” Go Mango was offered for the first time on the 1970 Challenger — a legendary car from a truly great year, assuming you weren’t in Vietnam or a Jimi Hendrix fan. Read More >

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