Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 02:46 PM
It turns out the smartphone heir apparent is Samsung, as the global leading smartphone maker received quite the blessing from Consumer Reports:
“The Samsung Galaxy S 4, one of the most advanced Android smart phones ever, is our new top-rated smart phone. The S4 delivered top-notch performance in the most critical areas of our tests, including the camera. It dethrones the LG Optimus G, which occupied the top spot in our Ratings for several months.”
The Optimus G is now ranked No. 2, followed by the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5. The ranking is yet another blow to Apple's diminishing confidence and a boost to Samsung, as the two smartphone providers have been at each other's throats for a while. Samsung's latest ad was only the most recent in a long line of mud-slinging spots targeting the once dominant company.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2013 07:30 PM
Ford is facing a lawsuit that threatens to tarnish the carefully nurtured image of its EcoBoost engines as a way to get big improvements in fuel efficiency without giving up driving performance.
Some Ford owners in Ohio alleged in a suit filed in federal court in Columbus that Ford vehicles containing the 3.5-liter, V6 EcoBoost engine are "subject to sudden shuddering, shaking, rapid loss of power, and inappropriate transition to limp mode." The allegations echo complaints that Ford addressed last year in a non-public bulletin to dealers and by making changes on its engine assembly line.
At the same time, there are more reports from reviewers who maintain that EcoBoost engines don't deliver their promised fuel efficiency in real-world driving performance.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 14, 2013 10:38 AM
Tesla has left that nasty New York Times review so far in the rear-view mirror that it barely registers anymore. Riding enthusiasm generated by a far more important all-important evaluation of its Model S by Consumer Reports—which gave the brand its highest score ever—the EV maker now sees its stock rising and its prospects growing.
On the heels of a rosy first-quarter earnings report last week, Tesla's shares have continued surging, closing Monday at $87.80 a share, up 57 percent from $55.79 a share on Thursday before the report. "How far can Tesla go?" said Theodore O'Neill, founder of Connecticut-based Litchfield Hills Research, according to USA Today. "As far as they want to go."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 6, 2013 12:42 PM
It hasn't been a good year for meat eaters. Dozens of reports of horse meat being marketed as beef streaked across Europe, affecting retailers like Bird's Eye, Taco Bell, Ikea and Tesco. Most recently, six people have died in China from an avian flu outbreak, which led to the execution of thousands of chickens and has ultimately caused Chinese consumers to swear off poultry, dragging down grocers and QSR chains like KFC, which have seen double digit declines in sales.
However, the meat wars aren't over. Trader Joe's is now the focus of an effort by the Consumers Union, which took the grocer to task with a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times saying that the company is “selling meat from animals fed a steady stream of antibiotics,” the L.A. Times reports.
The funky grocer, whose majority of products are private label brands (its own) responded, noting that it “also sells a selection of antibiotic-free chicken, beef, turkey, ham and lamb,” and that it “also offers private label goods that shun genetically engineered ingredients.” However, Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, says that the privately owned grocer has refused to meet to discuss the issue.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2013 07:22 PM
The good news for Detroit's three automakers is that Chevrolet and GMC managed to get some of their new models recommended by the influential Consumer Reports. The bad news is that just about every other brand fielded by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler is still placed near the bottom in the magazine's new rankings of the best light vehicles on the market.
Just like every year, the new rankings—listed in the April 2013 issue of Consumer Reports—finds that Japanese brands, especially those made by Toyota, continue to dominate. Toyota landed three of the top seven spots, with Lexus as CR's best overall brand as well as Toyota at No. 4 and Scion at No. 7.
Subaru and Mazda finished second and third while Acura and Honda finished fifth and sixth. Audi led its German rivals to finish No. 8, followed by Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz to round out the top 10. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2013 03:01 PM
The iPad is only about three years old but its success is so massive that if it were its own business, it would be No. 98 on the Fortune 500, higher than McDonald’s, which pulled in $27 billion last year, and Nike, which grabbed $20.9 billion).
The iPad made up 60% of the tablet market last year and snagged $32 billion, Fortune reports. Bernstein research analyst Toni Sacconaghi claims that iPad would be the 11th largest tech company in the U.S. if it were its own company separate from Apple.
The iPhone 5 is also ringing up sales, even though Consumer Reports doesn’t give it stellar scores in its new issue. In fact, CR calls iPhone 5 “the worst of the top smartphones.” It's in the bottom of the top three for both AT&T and Sprint and isn’t even listed in the top three for Verizon.
Apple needs iPhone to keep growing, but more bad reviews could hurt the brand over the long-term if similar problems pop up in the next version and Samsung’s Galaxy S III continues to be such a strong product. Discounting is also hurting the image of the iPhone sub-brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 06:45 PM
Just weeks after taking egg on the face again from Consumer Reports over its confusing MyFord Touch system, Ford again is a target of the influential consumer bible over mileage claims for its new hybrid vehicles.
According to Automotive News, Consumer Reports researchers found that the Ford Fusion hybrid delivered only 39 MPG in its real-word tests on the highway and in city driving, far short of the 47 MPG claimed by Ford for the model. And Consumer Reports said that the C-Max hybrid hit only a combined 37 MPG, far short of the 47 MPG Ford claims for it.
"These two vehicles have the largest discrepancy between our overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models," Consumer Reports noted. "Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we've tested are within 2 mpg."
A Ford spokesman told brandchannel that "driving styles, driving conditions, and other factors can cause mileage to vary." Ford's Fusion website puts an asterisk on the 47 mpg figure: *EPA-estimated 47 city/47 hwy/47 combined mpg. Actual mileage will vary.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 05:11 PM
General Motors is out in full force at the LA Auto Show this week, where it's not only showcasing 2013 models, but the futuristic Volt Squad, described as "a new electric vehicle system to meet the challenge of a highway system now brimming with cutting edge technologies."
If the current love for its Chevrolet Volt brand persists, GM should be sitting pretty by the time these concept cars hit the highway. Chevy Volt may not have caught on with the American general public as initially hoped, but its manufacturer can take solace in one very important attribute of the Volt brand: The people who buy the car really love it and would make the same purchase again. Now if only there were a cutting edge technology to create more fierce brand loyalists.Continue reading...