Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2013 10:22 AM
Bill Ford Jr. long has been the environmental visionary for Ford Motor Co. and, arguably, one of the "greenest" minds in the global auto business. So it's no surprise that he has emerged as a leading figure in the rising interest in self-driving automobiles and in the debate over what role they might have in the urban-transportation networks of the future.
As much as Ford's scion and executive chairman already has led the company to a forward position in many areas of sustainability—green manufacturing operations, some of the first mainstream hybrids, a fuel-economic product line— Ford Jr. now must help the company and the industry adapt to an era in which everyone seems really eager to take driving functions away from fallible humans and give them to computers in a modern car that, as Ford put it, "is really becoming a rolling group of sensors."
Interested parties range from Ford and other auto makers, to governments, to digital giants such as Google. "The car as we know it, and how it's used in people's lives, is going to change really dramatically and it's going to change fast," Ford said at the annual Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles this week (watch his session below).Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 2, 2013 03:36 PM
As Kermit the Frog taught an entire generation, “It's not easy being green.”
Clorox’s Green Works is a case study in the steep learning curve of green branding. The line of environmentally friendly housecleaning products launched in 2008 with an endorsement from the Sierra Club, which helped boost its market penetration and credibility.
That $1.3 million contract ends in December and the brand chose Earth Day to announce a strategic marketing revamp, including a new tone of voice (embodied by its new manifesto, posted on Facebook and its website) and the removal of the Sierra Club logo from all Green Works packaging, a clear sign of the times as green cleaning products have been forced to reduce their premium prices and re-position the sell to deflect declining sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 5, 2013 07:23 PM
"New isn't easy. Building the future never is..."
Well, we couldn't have said it better ourselves. The words of electric car maker Fisker Automative ring extra true as more devastating news rolls out of the struggling company. And worse, the Fisker electric-car experiment appears to be crumbling as the Tesla electric-car experiment seems to be achieving liftoff velocity. The differing outcomes have come down to the basics of business, such as picking the right partners and suppliers, counting on the right sources of financing, getting the product right—and enjoying a bit of luck.
Fisker said today that it laid off 75 percent of its more than 200 employees, most of them in Anaheim, Calif. The move appeared to be a concession that about the only option left for the company is liquidation of its assets, after a horrible several months in which its battery supplier went belly up, it couldn't obtain new financing and then its founder left in a dispute over financing.
"Our efforts to secure a strategic alliance or partnership are continuing in earnest, but unfortunately we have reached a point where a significant reduction in our workforce has become necessary," Fisker said in a statement this afternoon, according to Automotive News. "This was a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fiscker's core assets."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 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...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2012 01:34 PM
There was an interesting reaction to the recent report that organic food holds nary a nutritional edge over regular fare: It did little to dent the enthusiasm of organic mavens because most of them don't buy the stuff for that reason but, rather, because it carries fewer pesticides and because organic farmers raise their crops sustainably.
In a similar way, the subtext of a new report on "green" spending by U.S. consumers may be more interesting than its headline's conclusion: "Organic Buying, Other Behaviors Have Gone Mainstream – But Green Purchasing Still Faces Price Barriers."
The consumers surveyed said they're less willing to pay more for the most environmentally benign products in their categories, according to new findings by GfK Roper in its latest Green Gauge report. Just 42 percent say they are willing to pay more for a "green" car, for instance, down from 62 percent in 2008. And only 60 percent say they'd be willing to pay more for energy-efficient light bulbs, down from 70 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on June 30, 2011 11:51 AM
How green are cities today and what can they do to improve their environmental footprint? The Green City Index, a research project by the Economist Intelligence Unit with sponsorship by Siemens, has named San Francisco the world's greenest city in 2011.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 6, 2010 12:30 PM
Those of a certain age will remember S&H Green Stamps, a rewards program at the height of popularity in the 1960s where stamps were redeemable for goods and the S&H rewards catalog was the largest publication in the United States.
Now they’re back, as Procter & Gamble revs up the green bandwagon by rewarding consumers for learning and blogging about environmental sustainability in addition to helping fund eco-efforts in the company's Cincinnati backyard.
Leveraging P&G's Future Friendly initiative, when people sign up with RecycleBank, they receive electronic "Green Stamps" redeemable for local merchants or merchandise if they recycle through curbside collection programs.Continue reading...