Tag: Media

By on November 19, 2018

Automakers are obsessed with promoting high-tech concepts in an effort to prove to investors and the general public that they aren’t falling behind the times. While artificial intelligence remains the gold standard, what constitutes A.I. can get a little foggy. However, in the present, the term can be used to describe any machine that effectively mimics cognitive behaviors, like the ability to learn or create.

Car manufacturers want to fine tune specific A.I. examples to be implemented in autonomous driving hardware and high-end, modern infotainment systems. For example Mercedes-Benz wants to use the technology to build a more serious relationship between drivers and its cars by allowing future vehicles to “learn” about the driver. Meanwhile, General Motors decided to branch out to see how such a system would handle marketing by linking up OnStar Go with IBM’s Watson, an A.I. which famously beat Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings.

Watson is now working with Lexus and taking things a step further. The automaker just released a new advertisement it claims was written by IBM’s machine and directed by Kevin Macdonald.  (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2018

elon musk

A good morning to each and every one of you. We know you’re eagerly looking forward to your Memorial Day long weekend, but there’s trouble brewing in this bucolic paradise. You see, oil and gas companies exist, and that’s bad. Also, there are car companies that manufacture products that ordinary citizens can buy, and they’re also allowed to — get this — advertise what they sell. Distasteful, we know.

What’s worse, lurking among the citizenry (most of whom are true of heart and noble in intention), is a subversive threat that can no longer be tolerated. They call themselves “journalists” — bored, bourgeois types, to be sure, but possessed with the notion that what they scribble about cars isn’t fully and completely tainted by the fact that car and oil companies can advertise. Bloated and decadent from the checks rolling in from ExxonMobil and General Motors, they profess to speak the truth.

We know this isn’t the case. Come with us, comrade, as we discuss a solution. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2018

Depending on who you believe, Tesla is either the innocent victim of a shadowy, union-backed disinformation campaign peddled by so-called journalists, or a cynical, profit-chasing company willing to underplay injury statistics in a bid to keep its operation looking viable and progressive.

It’s not hard to fall into one of these two camps.

There’s a battle raging between the electric automaker and the journalists behind an explosive story published in Reveal, a publication of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. In it, Reveal claims workers at Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant face unsafe working conditions resulting from an all-hands-on-deck-style work culture. Workplace injuries are often categorized as personal medical issues, the report stated, and CEO Elon Musk’s dislike of the color yellow (a color used to mark workplace hazards) has created further risk to employees.

False, false, and false, Tesla claims. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2018

As you would expect, most of the reaction to Cadillac’s announcement of the 550-horsepower CT6 V-Sport centered around its engine, a “clean-sheet” 4.2-liter V8 that is either meant to slavishly ape the current German fetish for diminutive, twin-blown bent-eights or cash in on all that nostalgia for the Northstar and its litany of opportunities for improvement. I’m not sure which.

I don’t know about you, but I think it makes sense to develop a whole new powerplant for the CT6 because, if there is one thing that GM does not already have, it is an exhaustively developed, amazingly compact, remarkably lightweight, and impressively powerful V8 engine. Honestly, the whole thing reminds me of the time that I accidentally bought a used DVD of “Cloverfield” at a Blockbuster Video sale only to get home and discover that not only did I already own a used DVD of Cloverfield, the one I’d just bought had a big scratch in it. Oh well. If nothing else, this new CT6 V-Sport will increase the alacrity with which the tatted-up part-time-barista grandchildren of Boomers await their death and subsequent estate distribution. Grandpa might have left you the ’57 Strat, but he left me that wacky thing that looks like a normal Cadillac Escalade but sits really low on the ground for some reason!

The Son O’ Northstar wasn’t the only technological innovation reported in the press release, however. When the CT6 V-Sport hits the streets, it will feature the largest front brakes ever fitted to a production automobile, eclipsing the 17.3-inch rotors of the Lamborghini Urus with a 19-inch system sourced from Brembo. Even more surprisingly, the whole thing fits snugly inside 20-inch wheels. This new innovation was reported across hundreds of media outlets in the automotive, business, and popular-interest press.

There is just one little issue: it can’t be true.

(Read More…)

By on January 23, 2018

It’s odd to consider, but in a world where Steve McQueen had never lived I’d be about three dozen serious injuries better off than I am today. Scratch that. I don’t need him to have never lived. I just need him to have not supported the production of “On Any Sunday.”

That film romanticizes the Elsinore GP, which in turn led me to enter the Elsinore GP, which led me to break my leg training for the Elsinore GP, which led me to record a big fat DNS for the Elsinore GP. Worse than that, however, the opening sequence of “On Any Sunday” is commonly understood to be the catalyst for the sport of bicycle motocross, which has treated me worse than Ike Turner treated Tina.

Not that I bear any grudge against the man, mind you. I do, however, have complete and abiding contempt for the consumer-driven culture of McQueen worship that has arisen in the past 20 years or so. If you wear Hunsiker McQueen shoes or a McQueen T-shirt, or if you repeat the “Racing is life” line from LeMans like it was someone’s actual philosophy and not just a line written for an actor on a set, I’m going to think less of you. It’s not because McQueen was a vile person at times, although it is worth noting that his behavior often went past the rambunctious into the just plain despicable. It is because while boys and teenagers need heroes to admire and emulate, grown men shouldn’t wear another man’s face or name on their bodies if they can help it. Period, point blank.

Last week, Ford introduced a new “Bullitt Mustang” with the help of McQueen’s lovely granddaughter, Molly Flattery dba Molly McQueen. I have to say that I like everything about the car but the new-for-2019 nose, which is uncomfortably catfish-esque, and the “Bullitt” logos. As was the case the last two times a Bullitt Mustang appeared, there’s been a revival of interest in the movie. My wife had never seen it, so we watched “Bullitt” this past Friday night. Shortly afterwards, I read a Jalopnik piece by Raphael Orlove describing the movie as “boring garbage.”

It seems like the right time to take a look at the film without Gulf-colored lenses or Millennial-ish suspicion, so let’s open the curtain on another episode of TTAC At The Movies, shall we? Warning: spoilers ahead for those of you who haven’t managed to catch the film in the past 49 years. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2017

Infiniti G20, Image: Wikimedia

Don’t look now, but there’s a major shortage affecting the automotive industry. Well, maybe that’s putting it a bit too strongly. There is a major shortage — but it primarily affects the automotive blogging industry, and the shortage in question is a shortage of history.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: There are approximately one zillion car websites on the Internet, each of them trying to cook up 10 new stories a day to “increase engagement.” So how do you get those 10 stories? You can get a few of them from Automotive News and a few more from press releases, but that won’t fill the hopper all the way to the brim. To paraphrase the talking house in D.H. Lawrence’s sublime The Rocking-Horse Winner, “There must be more stories!” So you start looking for Wacky Car History Features to write. The problem is that this ground has been worn smooth by the grubby fingers of the second-tier blogger class. Everything you can think of has already been written up 10 times by drooling morons. The Mercedes 500E? The “Pasha” interior Porsches? The Mazda Cosmo? They’ve all been done to death. You’d better start looking at more esoteric stuff than that, like the Mitsuoka Viewt… oh shit, that’s been covered thirty times.

Eventually you give up and just start throwing darts at the Standard Catalog Of Imported Cars. Which brings us to Jason Torchinsky’s “Meh Car Monday” on the Infiniti G20. I think Torch is a great writer and a great person and a great dad, and to be fair the G20 piece is pretty well-balanced. The G20 has received much worse from far less talented writers; Doug DeMuro applied his genial disregard for the truth in the vague direction of the smallest Infiniti a few years back, claiming that it was just a Sentra. He was wrong, and Torch is careful to disavow that claim in his piece, but I’m a little troubled nevertheless.

Allow me to explain why the G20 was anything but “meh”, and why it’s important to remember that fact.

(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

bmw grille

Last week’s ABC News investigation into unrecalled BMW models bursting into flames after being parked raised a number of questions, but didn’t provide viewers with many answers.

While the automaker, like others, has seen its fair share of fire-related safety recalls in recent years, the models involved in the apparent rash of spontaneous fires appear quite diverse — both in model type and age. Any fire can have a number of causes, leading many to see the report as sensationalism, especially after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it couldn’t find a recall-worthy issue behind the blazes.

After taking time to examine ABC‘s findings, BMW decided to speak out. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2017

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

While BMW definitely isn’t alone in this regard, the company’s safety recalls often contain an ear-piquing phrase: “Risk of fire.”

The German luxury automaker has had no shortage of fire-related recalls in past years, but a ABC News investigation points to dozens of recent fires that destroyed vehicles not under recall. The models involved reportedly span the gamut of the brand’s product lineup, but the fires share a common trait. Each blaze broke out after the vehicle had been shut off — in one case, after the vehicle had sat dormant for three or four days. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

[IMCDB.org]

One of the great things about childhood is the feeling that unlimited possibilities will arrive the moment you turn 18. Rich and famous? Adventurer? Carefree private eye who lives in a trailer by the beach? All of those future lifestyles exist in the realm of possibility when you’re a kid.

You’ll make it happen one day. First, you just need to grow up.

Adulthood, of course, has a way of stepping in and saying, “Whoa there…. whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy now. Have you thought about coding? Plastics? Think, son — what about your retirement?”

Adulthood is one giant buzzkill after another. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

Television Set

The “Big Game” is as much of a sporting event and as it is a tactical delivery system for advertisements and, at roughly $5 million just to reserve a thirty second slot, the folks working in the media department want their commercials to have a strategic impact. Reaching your intended audience is only half the battle. You must also provoke them into action.

While there were plenty of Super Bowl 51 car commercials that got under people’s skin, those strong feelings often failed to morph into consumer interest. For example, Ford’s mobility-focused spot featuring Nina Simone’s classic civil rights song I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free was all over social media when it aired right after kickoff. However, nobody sent me a surprised and excited text about Ford like they did for Alfa Romeo.  (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2017

FF 91 Reveal

Faraday Future, the Chinese-answer-to-Tesla car company whose travails have been worthy of three concurrently running soap operas even though they have yet to put a single car anywhere near a showroom, debuted a sorta-concepty-production thing this week. And boy oh boy did the knives come out. But why?

(Read More…)

By on November 29, 2016

Untitled

Do you remember the last Volvo commercial you saw? Or any Volvo commercial?

If the answer is “no,” you clearly haven’t seen the videos offered up by Volvo Trucks, which somehow manage to make 18-wheelers seem as alluring as a two-seat droptop. By staging stunts that compel viewers to seek out a heavy truck license, the company’s online videos have given the truck maker a strong media presence and plenty of word of mouth.

It’s too bad that Volvo Cars (long since snatched from under the Volvo Group corporate umbrella) can’t do the same thing. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

Since General Motors showed the Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the company has been adamant the car would compete with Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 in terms of pricing, range and certainly in terms of consumer adoption.

The Teslarati, on the other hand, don’t seem to agree.

Tesla’s stated modus operandi since inception is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” But for fans of the Silicon Valley brand the M.O has been twisted into Tesla or bust, leading to straw man arguments and arbitrary analysis.

Electrek’s latest Tesla versus Chevy op-ed by Fred Lambert is a perfect example. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2016

Audi RS7 ad

To disenfranchised voters, sitting through the first of the presidential debates tonight will be akin to laying back in a 19th century dentist’s chair. Open wide.

Politics (mostly) aside, Audi saw the potential viewership and wasn’t about to let a TV audience of that size pass it by. In its new spot for the Audi RS7, the automaker stages a John Woo-worthy valet battle that should provide some viewer relief. (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…)

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