The Truth About Cars » Super Bowl The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:30:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Super Bowl Hammer Time: Fharverg-nuttin! Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:00:21 +0000 vwvortex

It would take an immense amount of effort to prove that VW was not telling the truth in their latest Super Bowl commercial.

First you would have to pool registration data from dozens of different countries within the US, EU, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

That’s one tall order. To even make that remotely possible, you would have to get the data from the various states within those countries. Quite a few of them would likely have a hard time even coming up with data that is easily downloadable.

As for verification of mileage? Good luck with that! Even in the U.S. of A., not all states require emission and registration checks that verify the mileage.

So let’s remove probability altogether from VW’s Superbowl proclamation, and deal with the cold hard facts related to the wholesale side of this business.

What we have discovered after studying the long-term reliability of trade-ins throughout the United States, is that VW represents the slimey brown stuff above this engine (courtesy of when it comes to long-term reliability.

For starters, major VW brands in the USA (Audi and VW) have garnered the 2nd and 3rd lowest ratios for those vehicles that have made it to the 18 year mark. Click here for the results of 300,000+ vehicles currently logged in this study.

Volkswagen also has the lowest percentage of trade-ins with over 180k out of any major automaker in the study as well.

Who is worse out of 30+ brands? Only Jaguar and Mini are worse overall. Land Rover is roughly equal.

Finally, let me offer you an alternative shortcut if you don’t want to believe the data. Feel free to visit and see how much it cost to replace various VW engines and transmissions. Call your neighborhood parts store and see how much more it cost to replace the hoses, alternators, and starters on a VW versus say, a Chevy or Toyota.

Hell, I recently bought a 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 with no issues for only $100 more than a stripper 2005 Ford Taurus with the same mileage that functioned as a rental car special, and had vinyl falling off the front door panels.

How did VW’s get to be so cheap in the wholesale side of the car business?

Because for most of the last 15 years, VW has cheaped out on quality parts like a broke Chinese construction company cheaps out on quality concrete. The mothership may blame Inaki Lopez and his minions for that turn in quality. But the truth? The absolute truth?

VW doesn’t care. They have screwed their consumer base for the sole pursuit of short-term profits here in North America for a very long time and are finally, by the grace of God, paying for those sins. Their cheaped out latest offerings in the United States continue to do them no favors, and I’m willing to bet that the “We’re #1 at over 100k!” remark will not resonate in a marketplace where 200k has already become yesterday’s 100k.

Am I wrong? Maybe. So let me ask you. Would you recommend a VW? If so, what model?

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2014 Maserati Ghibli – Sergio’s Super Bowl Surprise Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:00:18 +0000 img_0457

Sergio Marchionne and crew surprised everybody by using the Super Bowl to premiere a long form ad (below) for the new Maserati Ghibli. One might question the wisdom of using the “big game” to promote a niche brand, but Sergio says he wants to sell 50,000 Maseratis a year and the Ghibli, which starts at ~$65,000, is a big part of that plan, so putting the entry level Maser in front of the biggest tv audience of the year makes some sense. The thing is that the ad is one of those that’s heavy on the stirring dramatic and philosophical voiceover and not quite so product intensive. You don’t get to see the actual car until more than a minute into the 90 second spot and then it flashes on screen for less than 10 seconds. The Ghibli site and configurator apparently crashed earlier under Super Bowl levels of traffic, but as of the middle of the third quarter of the game, it’s up and running. In case it crashes again, and you’d like to see what the Ghibli looks like, you’re in luck.


At the recent Detroit auto show, after the rich folks left, the show organizers allowed the media to come in and photograph the ultra-luxe cars on display at The Gallery, a event held at a local casino for 400 well heeled invitees. There was a Ghibli on display next to a Granturismo and a Quattroporte. I think it looks rather ordinary for an Italian [quasi] exotic. The front end seems pinched to me and the rear end looks like it could be on a Toyota or Hyundai. Franz von Holzenhaus’ Tesla Model S makes a much more attractive Maserati. The Ghibli will probably sell well though. It’s reasonably stylish from most angles and it has the name. After all, the Maserati name helped Lee Iacocca move some K car variants. I’m not sure what sales will be like in 2015 and 2016, though, after Ghibli owners discover what many Quattroporte buyers have learned: Maserati may be trying to compete with similarly priced German luxury sedans, but their cars may not be up to the rigors of daily driving the way those German cars are.

Stereo pics here.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Tales From The Cooler: Is Mercedes-Benz All Washed Upton? Thu, 24 Jan 2013 16:45:05 +0000

Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss. 

For those of you staid, get-off-my-lawn, traditional German car owners like myself, you probably don’t know that the girl washing the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA is named Kate Upton. She is an actress or something. All I know is the ad will certainly raise awareness of the Daimler brand and piqué the curiosity of Derek’ s Gen Why peers about the new class of budget-priced Benz automobiles. I think the pitch works, no matter your age. If Mercedes-Benz can throw in a Last Time Buyer’s financing program, I might even purchase a CLA.

The video is almost as sexy as the granddaddy of all car washing scenes, the one featuring Joy Harmon hosing down a coupe in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke. (The star of the movie, Paul Newman, was also an accomplished race car driver.)

So will this blatant pandering to the next generation of Mercedes-Benz owners help or hurt the brand?


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Why Won’t GM Go To The Super Bowl? It Doesn’t Have The Money Mon, 21 May 2012 13:47:04 +0000

Advertising Age, the industry rag read by Mad Men worldwide, found a simple reason for GM first unfriending Facebook, followed by a much bigger whopper, a “No thanks” to Super Bowl advertising. Ad Age says the decision is driven by the simple need to save money.

A while ago, we told you that there are two quick fixes if a car company wants to make its books look better: Cut marketing expenses, or cut R&D. Or, as in the case of GM, do both.

GM did cut about a quarter of the workers at its R&D facility at the Warren Technical Center in suburban Detroit.

Meanwhile on the marketing side, GM’s vhief marketing honcho Joel Ewanick “has been on a mission to wring $2 billion over five years out of marketing costs for the company’s flagship Chevrolet,” Ad Age says.

Ad Age also thinks that Ewanick is driving a hard bargain. Just like the Facebook announcement was timed to rain just a little bit onto Facebook’s IPO parade, the Super Bowl news was strategically placed at the start of the annual upfront marketplace, where ad buyers strike deals for commercial time in the coming TV season. CBS wanted to raise the price of a 2013 Super Bowl ad to $4 million, up from an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot NBC got this year.

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Chrysler Halftime Ad Bombs In Research, Goes Viral Powered By Controversy Tue, 07 Feb 2012 15:51:20 +0000

So what about Chrysler’s halftime ad? You know, the one with a Clint Eastwood who looked like he would die on the set? It did not show up in any of the rankings. It is neither on the “that ad’s the bomb!” list. Nor is it on the list of ads that bombed. Maybe because Edmunds could not find the car. Car? What car? The ad tried really hard to repeat the “Imported from Detroit” success. Instead, the ad created a lot of controversy. Controversy? The [forbidden word] hit the fan! It might cost Obama the election!

A lot of people mistook it for a political ad. Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne had to quickly refute the rumor on a Detroit talk radio program:

“It had zero political content. I think we need to be careful, and God knows I can’t stop anybody from associating themselves with the message. But it was not intended to be any type of political overture on our part.”

After Karl Rove, former top political aide to President George W. Bush, said that this is tantamount to “using tax dollars to buy corporate advertising,” the White House had to deny that the ad was a “I give you Chrysler, you help me getting re-elected” deal.  After claiming that all the ad wants to do is “sell cars” (what cars?), White House press secretary Jay Carney went on to say:

It does point out a simple fact, which is that the automobile industry in this country was on its back, and potentially poised to liquidate three years ago, and this president made decisions that were not very popular at the time that were guided by two important principles: One, that he should do what he could to ensure that 1 million jobs would not be lost; and two, that the American automobile industry should be able to thrive globally if the right conditions were created, and that included the kinds of reforms and restructuring that Chrysler and GM undertook in exchange for the assistance from the American taxpayer.

So there. Marchionnegate off the table.

Leave it to what Wikipedia calls “an American neoconservative[2][3][4][5] opinion magazine[6]” to light one hell of a fire under the ad. The Weekly Standard found out that Detroit’s comeback ad was – are you ready for this –not filmed in Detroit. Really. The Weekly Standard cites Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Gutierrez who admitted:

“Yes, part of it was filmed in New Orleans . . . and some was filmed in various parts—such as Los Angeles.”

Shockingly, Gutierrez is quoted as saying that the tunnel scenes were taken at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the stadium shots were in New Orleans. According to the Weekly Standard, stock footage of Detroit was used:

“Asked whether any part of the ad was filmed in Detroit, Gutierrez said that previously taken footage from various parts of the Motor City was used. No image of Detroit was shot for the specific use in this ad.”

Now THAT is a juicy scandal. Who needs allegedly illegal; campaign contributions if we have THAT? Fake Detroit! Two hours after the Weekly Standard, Fox News was on the story, and there’s no stopping it. This thing is more viral than Ebola.

At the time of this typing, the ad had 2,730,612 3,933,192 views on YouTube. THAT’s what we need in these trying times: Free advertising.

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The Dogs Of The Super Bowl Tue, 07 Feb 2012 13:25:16 +0000

Nah, not those dogs. We are not referring to the cute canines that populated many commercials aired during the Super Bowl last Sunday. We are referring to the dogs that didn’t hunt, we are talking bad ads, bad, bad, bad, baaaaad ones. The worst. Ads imported from Yucksville. Those we make you watch again today.

Yesterday, we showed you the best commercials, as voted by the people. The data come from Edmunds. How did they measure it? Advertisers expect from their commercials what women expect from a bra: A lift. A lift in interest for the wares being hawked. That lifted interest resonates in the respected pages being hit at, because people rush to their computer to research the car they just saw on TV. Or so the theory goes.

Yesterday, we showed you the ads that lifted like a multistage rocket. This time, we show you the duds. These ads don’t lift. They suck.

Third worst: The Toyota Camry commercial (above.) I’m sure the creative were pretty proud of that one until the research came in. But I tend to agree: I don’t like it when guys get reinvented as girls. And I like them real, not 3D rendered.

Second worst: The Honda CR-V commercial. What a waste of money.

Worst of the worst: The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 commercial. Looks like people are not moved by frogs falling from the air. Or whatever.

Marketing Directors responsible for the aforementioned ads: Don’t fire your agency just yet. Hold off on putting the account on review. Look, it could have been worse. Says Edmunds in a letter to TTAC:

At least this year no one’s consideration was flat after their ads ran. Last year, BMW saw no lift from its “Defying Logic” ad for the X3 in the second quarter, and Lexus aired a number of pre-game ads and saw no lift in consideration for its models or the make.

In case you want to know how the unmentioned middling commercials fared, here the complete Edmunds tally as a bonus:

Make Model Segment Lift
Fiat 500 Subcompact Car 203%
Audi S7 Premium Luxury Car 195%
Chevrolet Sonic Subcompact Car 188%
Lexus GS 350 Midrange Luxury Car 144%
Hyundai Veloster Compact Car 137%
Hyundai Genesis coupe Entry Sport Car 88%
Volkswagen Beetle Subcompact Car 80%
Kia Optima Midsize Car 62%
Chevrolet Camaro Entry Sport Car 45%
Cadillac ATS Entry Luxury Car 37%
Lexus ES 350 Entry Luxury Car 31%
Toyota Camry Midsize Car 8%
Honda CR-V Compact Crossover SUV 5%
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Large Truck 2%

You may notice that today’s percentages are slightly different than yesterday’s, and that the ranking is different as well. We saw that too. This is market research, not the table of primes, for crying out loud. People change their minds. Or something to that effect.

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Sex Sells: The Abso#$%ingly Best Car Ads Of The Super Bowl Mon, 06 Feb 2012 14:17:30 +0000

So what was the best Super Bowl ad yesterday? Edmunds has the answer: It’s the commercial for the Fiat 500.

The alluring advert must have touched the inner submissive in America’s men. They are shown an ad where a dork is slapped around by an (allegedly) Italian beauty with an Abarth tattoo (on her neck,) and they obligingly click it to the top of the charts, without even thinking of hissing: “On your knees, Ffffffffiat.”


Of course, it could also have been American females who had their inner dominatrix tickled. Thankfully, we won’t know. Edmunds measured the effectiveness of Super Bowl car ads by monitoring the traffic on the respective pages on, before, during, and after the ads ran, and clicks are gender neutral.

Edmunds measured whether these ads actually aroused something more than prurient interest – do people want to know more about the car? From a pile of data emailed by Edmunds, we give you the overall cumulative results.

That old Fiat ad that had been around since November last year, but hey, sex never gets old, only we do. The Fiat 500 ad made the top spot by increasing traffic at Edmunds by 138 percent.

Next in line is a more or less unsexy ad (unless you are into suppressed zoophilia): The Lexus ad for the GS 350, titled “The Beast” racked up an impressive 102 percent increase. Apparently, a Lexus busting a box talks to people.

Definitely more production value has the number 3 on the list, the ad for the Chevy Sonic, where perfectly good cars are thrown out of a perfectly good Hercules. That drove up Edmunds traffic by 95 percent. But wait, didn’t “don’ call it Chevy” Ewanick want to kill“Chevy runs deep?” Maybe nobody found a better one, happens.

PETA should approve of this Hyundai ad that garnered an increase of 81 percent traffic for the Hyundai Veloster, landing the ad in slot number four. PETA loves people that get eaten by animals. The other way ’round, not so much.

In the fifth spot: Volkswagen’s Beetle ad, here shown in the director’s cut versions. Up 67 percent, but what will PETA say about the shameless exploitation of plus-sized dogs for marketing purposes?

Finally, coming in as number six, the Hyundai Genesis ad. (Here depicted with the proper Hyundai badge.) It leveraged boredom into a 63 percent increase.

Speaking of dogs, we asked Edmunds to disclose the worst of the Super Bowl Roman numeral XLVI. If we get this info, you will get it.

Now what was your favorite ad?

PS: AutoTrader ran a similar study, and came to similar, but not totally identical conclusions:

“ shows that Hyundai performed highest overall based on its pregame sponsorship and the commercials aired for the Elantra, Genesis and the Veloster by the first quarter of the game – rather than getting one spike during the game, they had elevated activity across the length of the game on multiple car models.  At the peak of the game, the heaviest online traffic spikes came from shoppers that were looking at Chevy Sonic and Toyota Camry.  The most unexpected result came from Fiat 500.  On Sunday, over 65 percent of Fiat 500 searches occurred after the big game ad aired.”

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Suzuki To Broadcast Super Bowl Ad – Who Is Suzuki Again? Fri, 27 Jan 2012 15:31:37 +0000

For a brand that seemingly doesn’t have two nickels to rub together, a Super Bowl ad spot is quite an expenditure. Suzuki, makers of…umm…the GSX-R motorcycle, and some other assorted wares, will be broadcasting an ad during the Super Bowl. Apparently, the products have four wheels, not two. Who knew?

This is also the second year in a row that Suzuki has run a Super Bowl ad. Doesn’t seem like it’s brought them a positive ROI, has it? The spot, which highlights the Kizashi sedan’s AWD drivetrain, does have some adorable Husky sled  dogs in it, but that’s not going to be enough to convince people to fork over money for one. Maybe it’s an awareness campaign to let Americans know that Suzuki still exists?

Click here to view the embedded video.

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General Motors Trying Stealth Tactics For Super Bowl Ads Thu, 05 Jan 2012 19:46:59 +0000

Rather than running commercials during the Super Bowl, General Motors is looking to try something more subversive – product placement within other brand’s TV spots during the big game.

Automotive News reports that GM marketing man Joel Ewanick was investigating the possibility of paying other advertisers to insert GM vehicles into their ads. But various contractual elements related to Super Bowl advertising may kill the idea in its nascent stages.

Super Bowl ads are apparently restricted via a form of non-compete clause. Ford and Chevrolet could not run ads in the same “pod” (i.e. commercial break), and GM’s plan would cause havoc with this arrangement. Having GM products inserted into another company’s ad, as well as commercials for GM’s own products would cause a logistical nightmare for the people who decide where and when ads are placed.

Furthermore, the plan would run afoul of a long-standing policy against buying a 30 second spot and then re-selling 5 or 10 second blocks of time. NBC, which broadcasts the game, would also have to approve any ads that feature the promotion of an unrelated brand. The article also mentions a “reward system” that would give small prizes to viewers who are able to spot product placements, though no details on this seemingly silly scheme were given.

As much as Super Bowl ads have become a part of pop culture, meriting their own examination, the undeniable fact remains that for many, the ads are a great way to grab another beer or, shall we say, recycle the liquids via the municipal sewage system.

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Chrysler Has A City To Sell To You Mon, 07 Feb 2011 11:54:27 +0000

Chrysler is proud of the fact that they did NOT release their Super Bowl ad on YouTube like most of the others. “While many sponsors revealed their advertising plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Chrysler brand remained tight lipped to create a stronger impact for the reveal of their new marketing and advertising campaign featuring famous Detroiter, Eminem,” their press release says.

Their unprecedented 120 second spot (in the advertising world, that counts as feature-length) supposedly sold the new 2011 Chrysler 200, and (we gave you fair warning) introduced the brand’s brand new tagline, “Imported from Detroit.”

Chrysler should apply for funds from Detroit’s city development agency, because the ad is mainly an ad for Detroit, with the Chrysler 200 as a product placement. Why? As the off speaker says, “Because when it comes to luxury it’s as much about where it’s from as who it’s for.”

Chrysler is playing a risky gamble with this ad. The power of the national identity of a brand is overvalued, and often, it turns into a liability. This is why large international brands usually try the utmost to disassociate themselves from where they are from. With everybody knowing that the Italians are calling the shots at Chrysler, the gamble becomes twice as risky.

No wonder that Detroit is ecstatic about the ad. “Detroit had a presence on that very important national stage — and a message,” jubilates the Freep. However, the Detroit paper had to concede: “Don’t know if it will sell cars. But Sunday night, it sold a city.”

Like any audacious gamble, it could be a win or a lose. Give us your odds.

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Super Bowl Car Commercials: They’re Baaack! Sat, 05 Feb 2011 08:01:52 +0000

Are you one of those who don’t watch the Super Bowl for the game, but for the ads? After taking mostly a leave of absence during carmageddon, carmakers will be out in force this time. There will be so many car commercials that “it looks like there will be auto gridlock in Super Bowl ads,” says USA Today. To get more impressions, carmakers are using YouTube to make the most out of the expensive airtime. Here comes a selection.

Volkswagen (see above) always had a thing for ads with minors. This year, they are back to their old tricks. With a rather cute one.

Volkswagen will also have a commercial for the new new Beetle. And it won’t even show a car!

The Kia Optima is not only popular the world over, but also with outerworldly aliens, if this spot is to be believed:

GM will splurge their new money found on Wall Street and will, if the rumors are correct, air between five and eight spots. Here is the first of the new crop of Chevy ads. Will the dealers be amused? (Rumor has it this spot has been yanked “because of a dispute.”)

Kia’s big brother Hyundai will feature Brett Favre. Here are only some odd outtakes:

Speaking of outtakes: Here is a rather strange Audi teaser for a hopefully shorter commercial on Sunday. Those things cost $3 mil for a 30 second spot, “a bargain” says USA Today.

Apparently, the subliminal message to be conveyed is that the Audi releases you from luxury jail. Or something along these lines.

There is a second part of the teaser, this is actually funnier: Kenny G puts riotous inmates to sleep.

Maybe Audi airs this one also, it kind of plows the same field (at a production cost that might be higher than the price of the airtime):

Mercedes has a pretty gutsy spot, in light of the not quite forgotten unintended acceleration hysteria. Cars that drive away by themselves:

Chrysler will air a spot featuring the Chrysler 200, serenaded by and Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.” (Not on YouTube yet). According to the New York Times, Dodge might recycle their getaway car spot. Let’s hope the Times is wrong:

There probably will be some more. According to the Detroit News, Ford will skip the expensive game. They will air three spots during the slightly more affordable pregame show. Also according to the DetN, Toyota and Honda will not play ball.

Which one do you think is worth $3 mil?

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