Tag: Marketing

By on January 28, 2020

GM

This may come as less than exciting news, given that we’ve already seen properly leaked 2021 Cadillac Escalade images already. “Properly” meaning someone sneaked their phone out and fired off a couple of bad pics in a secure area.

That said, the next-generation Escalade has shown its face in an official image ahead of next week’s big reveal. By all accounts, it will be a star-studded affair. The amount of cosmetic surgery bestowed upon the range-topping SUV will surely put attendees at ease. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

With General Motors razzing Ford back in 2015 for optioning an aluminum truck bed to save weight, thus improving fuel economy, it couldn’t pull off a similar move without a sea of mouths wailing warnings of hypocrisy. GM has been playing catch-up with the Blue Oval’s full-size pickup since forever, always framing the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado as the more robust choice. The company even launched an advertising campaign to prove its steel truck bed was the tougher option.

When the General’s full-sized trucks underwent a weight-loss program of their own, it was decided anything that opened or closed should be aluminum while the bed absolutely had to stay high-strength steel. Otherwise, it would be guilty of the same mistakes it accused Ford of. Despite throwing shade at Ford’s claimed lack of sturdiness for over a decade, the aluminum-sucks angle has been reeled back immensely over the last couple of years. GM even attempted to wipe all evidence of a comparative rock-drop test from the internet, possibly because it’s finally decided to embrace aluminum itself.

However, there’s already an alternative to the high-strength steel GM currently offers — the CarbonPro bed available on the GMC Sierra Denali and AT4 — and the manufacturer has prepared another stunt show to test its mettle.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

Hyundai Motor Group India hopes to grow interest in the Kona Electric by having the subcompact crossover become the first EV to drive to Mount Everest’s base camp. While demand for the model has so far been relatively low, with deliveries averaging roughly 100 units per month in the U.S., it’s performed rather well globally (for an EV). Hyundai has one of the best ratios of plug-in sales in the industry — with about 5 percent of global sales going toward something rechargeable.

The figures vary month to month, but Hyundai has been able to consistently rely on at least 4,000 EV sales per month through 2019. In October, Hyundai said it shipped over 8,000 plug-in models, with continued growth anticipated through the end of this year.

Unfortunately, Indian auto sales aren’t particularly healthy. Volume is down over 30 percent vs last year and Hyundai promised $250 million to the nation to further the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. EV sales are particularly bad, with estimates of all-electric passenger vehicles being no higher than 10,000 units (total) over the last five years. The brand likely figured a regionally focused publicity stunt might help boost interest in Asia while giving international markets a similar bump. After all, everyone in the world has heard of Everest and the dangerous ascent to its peak.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Automakers jump through hoops to tease upcoming models or put eyes on just-released ones. General Motors, it appears, has chosen an altogether new avenue for its marketing efforts.

Yes, that image you see above is real. The Chevrolet Suburban will now join the likes of Christina Applegate*, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and other celebrities we can’t think to name in receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At least the star doesn’t mention the model’s upcoming rear suspension swap. (Read More…)

By on November 26, 2019

As part of Tesla Motors’ debut of Cybertruck, CEO Elon Musk showed a clip in which the EV pickup yanks a Ford F-150 uphill against its will. The Blue Oval is also building an all-electric pickup, in addition to already manufacturing the best-selling truck model in history. Clearly, Tesla clearly wanted to place both on notice, though the video only provides evidence that Cybertruck can tug a rear-drive F-Series uphill in a video Tesla produced to show exactly that outcome.

Media outlets began musing if this was really a fair fight, apparently forgetting how advertising works, while science celeb Neil deGrasse Tyson offered a public physics lessons. “We all love Torque. But high Torque just spins a tire in place if there’s not enough weight to provide traction,” he said in response to the video. “Fully load the F150, giving highest traction to its rear wheels, then try to drag that up the hill. I otherwise agree: Load both to the max and the highest torque wins.”

Mr. Tyson’s new role as a Ford Truck Man remains unconfirmed, but the more likely scenario is that he’s simply trying to make sure the test is at least mildly scientific. Ford agreed, saying a fair test between brands was just what the doctor ordered.  (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

ford

While last week’s Internet-breaking debut of the Ford Mustang Mach-E was eventually overshadowed by the glass-shattering introduction of the Tesla Cybertruck, the echoes of that reveal still linger in the air.

A flurry of Change.org petitions quickly sprung up, with signees hoping to reverse this apparently abominable decision by Ford brass. Dream on. As a friend is fond of saying, signing a petition has never, ever stopped anything from happening. You’d have the same impact if you just stayed at home and munched celery in the dark.

Perhaps cognizant of the backlash, Ford released a film in which company bigwigs sitting on invisible chairs lob derision at the vehicle the Mach-E replaced. (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2019

autonomous hardware

The terminology surrounding self-driving technologies and advanced driving aids has started to earn quite a bit of criticism in the wake of publicized crashes and growing outcry from consumer advocacy groups. For years, the industry has treated all assistance technologies as equal — placing everything on a sliding scale developed by SAE International.

It’s actually a good metric if you’re familiar with SAE’s autonomous ranking system. But to a layperson the differences between SAE Level 2 and 5 don’t mean a whole lot, despite offering completely different experiences. Automakers also have terms of their own, some of which could easily lead customers to believe their products are far more capable than reality allows.

Automotive News recently published an op-ed calling for clarity, and it was so good, we felt inclined to share.  (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2019

Two weeks from its global debut, there’s still no confirmation of the name adorning Ford’s upcoming “Mustang-inspired” EV, though we’ve been calling it Mach E for some time. Prove us wrong. What is known at this time is what actor will be alongside it for part of its journey: Idris Elba, former star of The Wire, though perhaps even more famous for a character he hasn’t played (James Bond).

Ford’s no stranger to tapping Hollywood to hawk its products, with the automaker recently choosing Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston after spending years using a comic/actor whose early-90s stand-up routines taught everyone the dangers of wearing a leather jacket in a warm indoor space. Elba seems to be on the hook for more than just promotion, however. The fashionable actor/singer/etc once worked in a Ford plant, so you know there’s going to be an autobiographical angle. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2019

Cooperation between automakers is a good way to cope with rising costs but, if we’re being honest, it’s much more exciting when they don’t get along. Think about some of your favorite automobiles. Odds are good that they have a counterpart from another manufacturer they’re supposed to be warring with — Mustang vs Camaro, WRX STI vs Lancer Evolution, Camry vs Accord, Gremlin vs Pinto.

The best rivalries are between manufacturers, as those provide ample opportunity for snide marketing. If we had our druthers, automakers would be forced to compete in biannual gladiator-style competitions that open with scored trash talk. But dreams rarely come true; automotive bloodsports probably require a few years of heavy planning, too.

Luckily, industrial-grade insults aren’t something we have to wait for. To our delight, Daimler AG and BMW Group were going at it on Halloween.  (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2019

Mazda/YouTube

The Mazda MX-5 remains of the purest and most affordable sports cars on the market, and we’re glad it exists. While the plucky roadster might not be the optimal solution for family hauling, a certain ND example did get yours truly and a former managing editor from Toronto to Detroit in January, lugging not just our lanky asses, but two suitcases and camera bags each, plus a 24 of pale ale.

January’s not the happiest time of year in that neck of the woods, but the only climate anomaly that MX-5 had to deal with was a torrential downpour on the way home. Temperatures hovered just above freezing. We were fine.

It’s understandable why many cars go under wraps for the winter, taking on the role of garage queens until flowers start poking up through the soil, but it’s odd to see an automaker imply that a model must be put away. Can’t it take the heat — er, cold? (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2019

Hyundai Australia has tossed together a one-off model for the soul purpose of promoting its performance division, calling the creation the iMax N “Drift Bus.”

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Isn’t this basically the same concept as the Ford Supervan?” And you’d be right. But every sunset is essentially the same as the one that came before, and you don’t hear anybody complaining when they finally take time out to enjoy one.

It should be mentioned that your author has a strong affinity for both sleepers and vans — parking the iMax N right up his alley. Fear not, however, as everything possible is being done to ensure this doesn’t turn into a disgusting carousel of praise for a vehicle Hyundai doesn’t even plan on manufacturing and would never sell. But we should get started, because I cannot wait to tell you all about how much I love this square slice of automotive divinity.  (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

There are plenty of ways to get free gasoline. Unfortunately, most require you to become uncomfortably intimate with advertising to reap any rewards. Converting your vehicle into a mobile billboard for a brand is a good way to convince said brand to foot your monthly gas bill. But you can also sit through hours of digital surveys or ads to encourage companies to part with fuel cards. Either way, it’s free go juice — with a catch.

Volta Industries is attempting to duplicate this model for EV charging, without the need for middle men. The company will allot a certain amount of electric charge time to customers willing to interact with “embedded advertisements” occupying high-end retail zones. While the company has promoted this business model for several years, it only entered our peripheral vision in recent months after securing investments and solidifying its plans.

Despite the phrase “if you’re getting something for free, you are the product” being around since at least the 1970s, it’s infinitely applicable here.  (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

Betcha thought we were done talking about emojis around here, eh? Not so fast, Happy Meal. While one brand is busy attaching themselves to the too-cute digital pixels, another is furiously trying to unhook itself from an emoji it feels does not represent its image.

Alert readers (and avid texters) will have noticed that typing the word ‘Jeep’ into their iOS device automatically produced a blue blob of a thing as a suggested emoji replacement for that word. The most recent platform update erased this connection and Jeep is celebrating with a few words of their own.

(Read More…)

By on September 23, 2019

Image: BMW/Twitter

Volkswagen made waves and offended Corey’s sensibilities when it released an ad, a while back, that used sex to sell its line of family-friendly vehicles. Not implicit, come-hither-looks-from-passing-girls kinda sex, but full-on, here’s-people-doing-it kinda sex. Seemed a little rude.

Well, the Germans are at it again.

This time, it’s BMW and an online ad that uses raw, steamy passion and a concept-car-turned-bordello to sell its vision of an electric, autonomous future. A future that, until now, has boasted very little sex appeal. Like, zero sex appeal. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

Ads for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator are scheduled to drop this Saturday, but those of us with internet access got to see them a day early. Lincoln’s “Fresh Take” campaign is a bit of a misnomer, however, because the person who’s chiming in on the new model is Matthew McConaughey.

Ford has used the Oscar-winning actor to showcase its premium products for years now, and this writer is not ashamed to say that he’s grown to love them. While not particularly substantive, they’re difficult to look away from. McConaughey muses about the vehicle in a calm, dreamlike haze. Occasionally looking into the rearview mirror before casually reapplying his attention to the always clear road ahead, he’s presumably talking to himself — but it’s really for our benefit.

And that’s why I’m so fond of them. In my mind, McConaughey is a polished lunatic — not quite a Patrick Bateman, but definitely unhinged. And it translates into comedy gold. Yet another viewer might see the ad and think, “Boy he’s handsome and calm — it’s like nothing is ever going to go wrong inside that car.” (Read More…)

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