Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 05:02 PM
Ford hasn't made enough progress in solving the operational frustrations that come with its MyFord Touch system, according to Consumer Reports' new, closely watched vehicle-reliability ratings. The Ford Motor Company manufactures five of the ten "least reliable cars" on Consumer Reports' latest New Car Auto Reliability survey. The problem, increasingly, looks like a morass that could tarnish the Ford and Lincoln brands.
Rivals GMC, Audi and Volvo, in comparison, seem to have figured out how to please American buyers and leapt significantly in the just-released survey by the influential consumer watchdog. Each of those marques captured three of the top-10 spots in the just-released survey—with Volvo jumping 13 places to seventh among all brands selling in the US, GMC leaping three places to finish ninth and as the top-rated domestic brand, and Audi climbing four places to finish fourth overall as the top European manufacturer in the survey. What's more, every model from each of those brands scored better than average.
Japanese brands—Lexus, Toyota and Acura—captured the top three spots in the survey, which was conducted by CR's National Research Center and, based on subscribers' experiences with 1.1 million vehicles, is believed to be the largest of its kind. However, the Toyota Camry, the bestselling car in America, is no longer #1. As Consumer Reports commented, "The Japanese dominance in car reliability is showing cracks."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 03:04 PM
If you drive "ugly," you may be ugly. That seems to be a primary message inherent in a new art-inspired promotion in Europe and Japan for the Lexus IS 300h hybrid, called Art is Motion.
Lexus has equipped one of the cars with software that produces a "generative self-portrait" of the driver behind the wheel based on the work of artist Sergio Albiac that is converted into paint-brush strokes. A system onboard the car "paints" a digital picture of the car's owner that takes shape in real time on its computer screen as the car proceeds, and on the Art is Motion website, based on his or her driving style and efficient use of energy.
Not surprisingly, the more the driver relies on battery power instead of gasoline as the car goes, the more flattering is the "generative self-portrait" that emerges. Or, as LeftLaneNews.com put it, "Those who employ the hybrid system's 141-hp electric motor more will end up with a more accurate painting in cooler colors. On the other hand lead-foots who make greater use of its 178-hp petrol four-cylinder will draw a more abstract depiction in "virulent" hues."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 25, 2013 02:56 PM
Popular photo-sharing app Instagram is easing its way into monetization with the introduction of its first ads, slated to begin running next week. And the Facebook-owned company couldn't be any more careful in its efforts to protect and preserve the Instagram community.
After announcing that ads would become a reality on the platform about three weeks ago, it posted a blog post with a sampling of potential ads from brands such as W Hotels, Michael Kors, Macy's, Lexus, PayPal, Ben & Jerry’s and Levis—the latter of which is using the app to track its novel station-to-station campaign.
The ads will function much like those seen on Twitter and Facebook; clearly marked with a "sponsored" tag in the upper right corner that users can tap to find out more about advertising. Users can also tap the "..." to enable ad settings and feedback.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 24, 2013 02:51 PM
Hyundai is having trouble with slumping earnings, but the chiefs of the Korea-based carmaker may be more concerned for the long term about the brand's squishy identity. As it has tried to stretch its marque from its initial positioning as an econobox maker to including luxury vehicles in its lineup, Hyundai has encountered difficulty in establishing a brand that can compete effectively in all of the segments that it now covers.
But even as Hyundai's latest earnings report was middling, company executives promised that they're tackling the brand challenge.
"We'll redouble efforts to enhance Hyundai's image as a provider of high-end and environmentally friendly automobiles," Kim Yeung-tae, a Hyundai vice president, said during a conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 23, 2013 09:17 AM
Mondelez invests $400 million in sustainability.
Facebook reverses stance on violent video.
Microsoft tests eyewear similar to Glass.
Amazon and eBay shake up shipping strategies.
American Honda settles class-action suit over oil-burning defect.
Apple targets Microsoft Office with free apps.
Caterpillar cuts 2013 forecast as mining orders drop.
Cheetos promises to TP any location in the world for new Halloween campaign.
Coach loses ground to luxury rivals.
Ford trims production of C-Max and Focus.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2013 03:51 PM
Porsche owners may not be able to floor their able machines on the Pacific Coast Highway—not legally, anyway. But at a new Porsche Experience Center taking shape in suburban Los Angeles, and another one in Atlanta, Porsche fans will be able to engage in their every driving fantasy.
Pedaling their cars to maximum acceleration. Learning to skid through corners. Maneuvering on simulated ice and rain-slick pavement. Up to 100 drivers a day—and 500 for special occasions—are expected to be able to test their driving mettle when the adult amusement park opens on a 53-acre site in Carson, Calif., by the end of 2014.
"The driver is in the center of our strategy," Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars of North America, told USA Today. "You will not find this anywhere else." Well, besides Atlanta, and at other Porsche Experience Centers in Silverstone, England; Leipzig, Germany; and (soon) near Beijing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2013 01:49 PM
Change is afoot in the long-stuffy business of dressing men for success. And the players aren't pulling their new strategies off the rack.
Jos. A. Bank has just bid $2.3 billion for troubled rival Men's Wearhouse in an unsolicited offer that quickly was rejected by the latter, while retailer Brooks Brothers is looking to take on competition by expanding its high-end brand beyond store shelves.
Men's Wearhouse clearly has been weakened by sales and profit declines stemming from systemic problems as well as the recent ouster of the chain's founder and pitchman-in-chief, George Zimmer, who remains the company's largest shareholder.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 03:58 PM
It isn’t clear if Ludacris is lining up for a new 2015 Cadillac Escalade, but apparently Donald Trump is. And General Motors’ enthusiasm for the first major overhaul of its iconic chiseled and luxuriously appointed mammoth SUV in seven years even has executives considering ways to extend the Escalade franchise beyond a single vehicle, as good as it might be.
GM revealed the redesigned Escalade in New York at an appearance that included Trump’s endorsement as well as company marketers eager to highlight the sleeker exterior, interior wood trim, and quieter and larger inside of the new model.
Prices of the current Escalade start at $63,475, and GM is looking for a 10 percent boost in sales of the new version beginning next year after Escalade sales have gradually declined over the last several years.Continue reading...