start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on April 1, 2013 03:02 PM
No part of the automotive business is more important than the pickup-truck segment, where the biggest profits are made by each of Detroit's Big Three automakers. It's also a crucial time for pickup-truck sales because they're the vehicle of choice for the construction contractors who are finally benefiting from a significant bounceback in the U.S. housing market.
But there was another reason that General Motors made a big deal on Monday of the announcement of first mileage specifications for versions of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups that are due out this spring: It gave GM a chance to tweak arch-rival Ford on the issue of fuel economy, which is increasingly important to American truck buyers.
GM said that the Silverado and Sierra version that is expected to be by far the most popular configuration—a crew-cab truck with an 5.3-liter EcoTec3, eight-cylinder engine—will offer better mileage than directly competitive V8 models and will even barely beat out a version of the 2013 Ford F-150 pickup with a six-cylinder EcoBoost engine.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 28, 2013 05:29 PM
The stagnation of the U.S. market for all-electric vehicles has automakers thinking more creatively about how to address American consumers' desire for maximum fuel economy without attempting fruitlessly to guilt them into buying EVs.
The evidence of this trend has been abundant this week during the media previews at the New York International Auto Show, and news that the Obama administration is planning to get tougher on car emission standards, with "sweeping rules" expected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiring cleaner gasoline and cars.
"I think green has gone mainstream" as automakers employ fuel-efficient technologies across their lineups, not just in electrified vehicles, Consumer Reports director of auto testing Jake Fisher told WWJ-TV in Detroit. "It doesn't matter what you get, you can get green in your car, whether or not it's a sports car or an SUV."
That's why, for example, Dodge is able to claim that the new 8-speed transmission in its 2014 Durango SUV qualifies as a "green" advance: It helps boost fuel economy of the nameplate by close to 10 percent, Reid Bigland, Dodge brand CEO, told the TV station.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 28, 2012 04:04 PM
So far, the brand brain trusts for Kia and Hyundai have been keeping their own counsel about how they might react further to the equity damage done by their gas mileage misstatements that surfaced earlier this month. But early returns suggest they might not want to wait too long.
The sibling Korean-owned brands are suffering declines in "purchase intent" as measured by Edmunds.com, with most Hyundai and Kia models taking hits in that specific indicator for the few weeks ending November 18, a couple of weeks after the brands disclosed that they had mistakenly inflated gas-mileage ratings for several of their most fuel-efficient vehicles, admitted it to the EPA, and began reimbursing owners financially for the violation.
The errors reportedly arose from procedural errors, as Canada's Globe and Mail noted: "The joint testing operations in South Korea led to incorrect fuel consumption ratings. Hyundai and Kia have revised upward their average combined fleet fuel consumption ratings by 0.3 litres/100 km for the 2013 model year. 'I sincerely apologize to all affected Hyundai and Kia customers, and I regret these errors occurred,' said Dr. W. C. Yang, Hyundai/Kia’s chief technology officer."
As part of the response, Hyundai US created a website explaining the adjusted fuel economy reimbursements, as did Kia. Kia also released a nostalgic TV commercial, above, evoking its 60 years in the US and "how far we've come since that first bicycle." But it may need to do more to reassure car buyers.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 6, 2012 01:12 PM
The ice-cream company that gave the world Schweddy Balls and Karamel Sutra isn’t apparently amused by somebody using the name Ben & Cherry’s. Perhaps Ben & Jerry’s discomfort comes from the fact that the somebody in question is a hardcore porn film producer.
The Vermont-based, Unilever-owned B&J’s has filed a trademark suit against B&C’s, the Associated Press reports, in order to stop them “tarnish(ing)” the ice-cream maker’s name.
Ben & Cherry’s doesn’t just use a variation of the B&J’s name and logo on its films; it also gives its videos names based on Ben & Jerry’s flavors. Witness "Boston Cream Thigh," at right, ''New York Fat & Chunky," and "Peanut Butter D-Cup," the AP reports. Not only that, the packaging of the films contains elements that appear on Ben & Jerry’s packaging, such as “a grazing cow, green grass and large white puffy clouds.”
It's not that Ben & Jerry’s is averse to hanky panky; after all, the brand using a more G-rated bit of romance – spooning (get it?) – to help sell its new Greek Frozen Yogurt.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2012 01:03 PM
Procter & Gamble is only in the beginning stages of what could be a long turnaround effort under CEO Bob McDonald. One promising step announced today: P&G is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the consumer packaged goods giant make serious strides towards its sustainability goals.
The company announced that it will be working with the EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory "to develop new tools to optimize sustainability improvements in manufacturing facilities, and their associated supply chains."
The collaboration will focus on the pillars of P&G’s long-term environmental sustainability vision, announced in September of 2010: "Powering its plants with 100% renewable energy; Using 100% renewable materials or recyclate for all its products and packaging; Having zero consumer or manufacturing waste going to landfills; and Designing products that delight consumers while maximizing the conservation of resources."Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on July 10, 2012 12:55 PM
Apple has pulled out of EPEAT, a global non-profit eco-rating service sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and will no longer label its electronic products according to their environmental impact as a result.
In stating its disappointment at the move, EPEAT noted that its certification program is "more than simply a product rating – it is also a community effort by all interested stakeholders to define and maintain best practice in environmental sustainability for electronics."
Tech Week Europe sees it as "a setback to Apple’s green campaign and may have come about because of difficulties in dismantling and recycling new MacBook products."Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on June 26, 2012 08:44 AM
Toyota tops Interbrand's 2012 Best Global Green Brands report.
News Corp. considers splitting company in two, spinning off publishing assets, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Microsoft acquires Yammer for $1.2 billion to take on Oracle and Salesforce with new cloud-based services.
Nissan rises on fast recovery from disasters and plans $1B China auto plant as CEO Ghosn remains Japan's highest paid exec and automaker turns to Facebook to launch five new models.
Facebook names first woman to board — COO Sheryl Sandberg — and pulls so-called stalker app while creating uproar by changing all users' email addresses to facebook.com.
Google I/O news on Wednesday expected to reveal Google and Sony taking on cable and satellite operators with voice-controlled YouTube TV box, as Google prepares to battle Apple with discount tablet.Continue reading...