Vroom, an emerging e-commerce player in buying and selling used cars, has announced the acquisition of CarStory, itself another used car platform. CarStory’s AI-powered analytics and digital services are what attracted Vroom, through the purchase of Vast Holdings, Inc., CarStory’s parent company.
Tesla shareholders are scheduled to vote in July on whether or not the brand should start advertising product like every other automaker on the planet. It’s something the board and CEO Elon Musk have long resisted, and not without good reason. As a car brand, Tesla probably enjoys more free publicity than anyone else.
Musk has effectively mastered social media. He knows what buttons to press to earn more attention, and his one-man campaign has helped the company get where it is today more than the slickest ad copy could have hoped to.
Tesla also managed to spin this into a strength against would-be critics. Anytime someone laughs at the brand for not spending on traditional marketing, its acolytes point to the Musk talking point that cash is better used for development — a claim that holds some real weight, thanks to the brand having some of the most desirable electric vehicles on the market. But Tesla’s mystique won’t last forever, and it won’t be able to count on Elon Musk’s upper echelon Twitter game indefinitely.
With no reason to risk going outside and industrial news at an all-time low, I’ve retreated into curiously dry hobbies as a way to maintain my sanity.
A substantial portion of my time has been devoted to parsing through old automotive catalogs and marketing materials. As someone who is notoriously difficult to shop for, dusty paperbacks that can easily be found for a nickel at any estate sale turned out to be ideal gifts… and I amassed a sizable collection. Over the weekend, I found myself going through vintage television spots — noticing they’re quite a bit different from the ads we encounter today.
While automotive marketing has evolved through the ages, there was a long stretch of time where companies basically just filmed a car driving around as a disembodied voice explained its strengths. This was back when advertisements featured voice-overs telling you that “ Quality is Job 1” at Ford, or a choir of voices joyfully acknowledging that they absolutely loved what Toyota was doing for them.
Today, I’m celebrating the 30th anniversary of a totally mundane promotion from 1990 called “National Cadillac Week.” While the free AVIS rental and cash back on your purchase weren’t unusual (then or now), I happened to encounter it exactly three decades after it originally aired — as if destined by fate. It was a glaring reminder of how much car ads have changed in that time period.
With Ford Motor Company dropping all but one car from its lineup to focus on utility vehicles and crossovers, there’s little reason to run ad campaigns for both. You don’t see Coca-Cola running spots for both Diet Coke and Coke BlāK, as the latter of the two beverages disappeared from store shelves roughly a decade ago. Companies don’t bother pushing products they don’t have, and pretty soon Ford won’t have cars.
Thus, the automaker has ended all nationwide marketing for the Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and Fusion. Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the automaker intends to use the freed advertising dollars on the company’s current and forthcoming utility models — setting aside a portion for the Mustang. But the Fusion, which is slated to stick around for another two years, will have to go without.
Audi released a new concept sketch of the Q8, but the Hot Wheels aesthetic doesn’t give us much to go on. We doubt the production model will come adorned with 30-inch wheels and balloon out toward the bottom, as illustrated. However, the drawing does appear to indicate an adherence to a taillight design not all that different from what we’re seeing on the A8.
Extending across the entirety of the vehicle’s rear, Tim Cain compared the sedan’s brake light styling to the now dead Dodge Dart. While the colorful Q8 draft indicates something a bit more angular, the basic shape remains intact and makes us wonder if this aesthetic will eventually spill into the rest of Audi’s stable.
That theory will take some time to pan out, but discovering the final decision on the SUV’s taillights won’t. Despite the official reveal still being a few weeks away, Audi has announced an original, adult-themed five-part video series — called Q8 Unleashed — starring the vehicle. The first episode is scheduled to drop May 21st.
The concept is derivative of the BMW film series The Hire, which initially came out in 2001 to showcase Clive Owen manhandling the brand’s fleet. The series returned for a brief run in 2016, which makes us wonder if a marketing manager at Audi was a fan.