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 October 11, 2012 04:03 PM
These are rough times for the electric-vehicle business, despite sky-high gasoline prices, extensive marketing of EVs, and a continual drumbeat of support by the news and entertainment media and governments at all levels.
Nissan has become so concerned about lackluster sales of its all-electric Leaf that it is trimming the price on its 2013 model. Ford is in no hurry to invest marketing resources in the launch of its new Focus Electric. And Toyota — which can count on the success of its Prius hybrid brand instead — has all but forsworn any significant EV presence in the market for at least the next few years.
Why? Despite incredible marketing investment and societal pressure thrown behind getting car-buyers to adopt all-electric vehicles, American consumers by and large are resisting the very notion of EVs. A new study even casts doubt on the net environmental benefits of electric cars, depending on how the power to charge their batteries is produced.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2012 02:17 PM
When it comes to hybrids, Toyota is saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if it's a winning formula, don't alter it — double down.
That's why Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday announced (in a press conference and release titled: "TMC Announces Status of Its Environmental Technology Development, Future Plans") a drastic scaling back, close to an abandonment, of its all-electric vehicles — the iQ and eQ EV models — in favor of a dramatic ramping up of its plans for developing and producing new hybrids.
"Toyota’s engineers have been involved in Electric Vehicle (EV) research and development for over 40 years, since 1971," Toyota's press site notes. "Developed in parallel with the company’s pioneering full Hybrid (HV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Fuel Cell (FCV) vehicles, the EV represents Toyota’s long-term vision for short range sustainable mobility."
It turns out that long-term vision was more short-term than anticipated when it comes to EVs.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 18, 2012 06:05 PM
An Audi car again won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France over the weekend, an impressive 11th win for Audi in the last 13 runnings of the iconic competition — and the historic first victory of a hybrid vehicle at Le Mans. But should an Audi customer really care? They can't buy the R18 e-tron quattro model that won the race, anyway.
The answer is yes, the way Audi executives look at it. And, they say, many customers — even in the United States — actually do. Anecdotally, at least, Audi and its American dealers get plenty of feedback indicating that Audi buyers and luxury-car consumers pay attention even though the race took place across the Atlantic.
"The value" of Audi's dominance of Le Mans, including the weekend win, is "difficult to quantify," said Matt Carpenter, general manager of vehicle sales for Audi of America, to brandchannel. Even so, "the value is very high," he added.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 10, 2012 03:13 PM
Toyota and Honda must be concerned about the here and now after their abysmal 2011s. They're still attempting to get back to par with their global venicle inventories and have been gearing up new products they're hoping will begin attracting Americans back to their brands this year.
But at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, their necessary preoccupation with sales numbers for this month and next month didn't prevent Toyota and Honda executives from turning toward the mid- and long-term future as well.
For Toyota, that meant, among other things, a heavy reckoning with its trailblazing investments in hybrid automobiles and a rather candid assessment of American consumers' continued ambivalence about electrified automobiles. The brand showed off its new Prius c — the "c" in the name is for city — a small entry in its growing "family" of Prius hybrids, and bowed its NS4 concept plug-in hybrid that should see the market around 2015.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2011 06:05 PM
When is a hybrid not a hybrid? How about now, as American consumers remain decidedly lukewarm to the automotive-propulsion technology despite a continued proliferation of new models that use it.
Buick is hoping to get around this obstacle by positioning its latest hybrid, a version of the LaCrosse sedan, as a non-hybrid. Instead, GM is touting the "light electrification" system it uses for the car and has come up with a unique brand name for it: "eAssist." GM is aiming eAssist at what it considers a sweet spot in the so-far-disappointing hybrid market, because it costs only about a quarter of the price premium for a typical hybrid, which can range up to several thousand dollars, while delivering about half the added fuel savings.
"When you say 'hybrid,' many times that comes with baggage both positive and negative," Roger McCormack, Buick's director of product marketing, told brandchannel. "So for us, the focus was to put an emphasis on the car itself and what this car delivers and how technology enhances the ownership experience. So we're selling a LaCrosse that happens to have this great [eAssist] technology."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 11, 2011 02:00 PM
It’s been a long road even in marketing-cycle terms for Lexus and the CT 200h hybrid – between a weird promotional gig with Sarah Silverman and the car now finally showing up in Lexus dealerships nationwide.
Remember nearly a year ago when Lexus hired the edgy and unpredictable comedienne to host a debate about global warming on behalf of the brand, at the New York International Auto Show? Neither does anybody else. But now, the Toyota luxury brand is hoping that by closing the circle on its year-long buildup and by actually easing into dealer showrooms, the CT 200h can provide a timely bump to Lexus sales.
Lexus has just launched a new national TV-advertising campaign for the car, which — at 42 mpg on the highway — Lexus says is the most fuel-efficient luxury car available.Continue reading...
Posted by Jennifer Sokolowsky on November 12, 2010 11:00 AM
A foreign name in a global market can basically read one of three ways: It can be alluring and draw people in; sometimes it can be culturally problematic or even offensive; and then, there are names that make the whole world scratch its collected head.
The ONEXIM group of Russia hopes it has allure on its side in this name: “ё.”
ONEXIM this week unveiled a new car in the Russian market with the single-letter Cyrillic moniker. For those with limited knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet, the letter ё is pronounced in English as “yo” (YO!). (Although we might suggest referring to the car as “the vёhicle formerly known as Prince.”)
The ё is the first hybrid manufactured in Russia. It looks almost as good as Olga Kurlyenko in its two-tone package, and is slated to sell for $10,000. The cool styling, the groundbreaking greenery of introducing hybrids to the Russian carmaking scene, and the price point are all sexy and cool. The hope is that the name will align with that trendsetting positioning.Continue reading...