• What Does Jason Vines Drive?
    "It's simple. Whatever you do, don't blame the customer." Those were sage words of advice from Tom McDonald, Audi director of public affairs during the Audi 5000 unintended-acceleration PR maelstrom in the '90s, to PR legend/villain/crisis guy Jason Vines, who at the time was dealing with the same faux issue with Jeep. And it is a central central theme of Vine's autobiographical bumper-car ride through the auto industry, "What Did Jesus Drive: Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity."
  • Carlos Ghosn Talks Green Drivetrains, Connectivity, And Autonomous Cars
    Emissions, and connected and autonomous cars. Those are the key challenges and opportunities in the automotive business over the the next 10 years and longer. There are several reasons for this, and one big one is that the developing countries are the growth markets, and are suffering the most from pollution, sclerotic roads, and booming auto sales. Anyone who has tried to drive from one side to the other of, say, Manila, knows how that works. Autonomous cars would change a lot of that, and emissions technology might just make the air breathable there and in places like Beijing.
  • Trucks Back On A Roll This Year. Detroit Gets The Benefit. Ford Preps For December
    Trucks, baby. There hasn't been this much going on in the pickup truck business for years. You have the new aluminum body Ford F-150, Chevrolet's killer mid-sized pickups including a diesel version of the Colorado introduced in Los Angeles last week, and Ram, which has been on a growth boom, partly because of its own diesel 1500.
  • With Hyundai Sonata, If At First They Don't Bite, Bait The Hook A Bit
    The 2015 Hyundai Sonata, seriously redesigned, has gotten its share of mixed reviews from dealers, buff books and consumers, who have opined that, while the car may be highly competitive in terms of its features, amenities and technological refinements, it has lost one striking differentiator: its looks. Now, they say, it is not all that different, from the aesthetic point of view, from the competitive set.
  • Self-Driving Cars Will Redefine Life, Liberty, And Out-Of-Home
    The autonomous car. It's not ready for the shiny tiled floors just yet, but visit your local Nissan/Mercedes/Volvo/GM dealer in five years and you might see one. That's when the Mayan calendar, Elon Musk, Google and several car companies say the world will end. The world of steering wheels, road rage and traffic jams and wasted, wasted time, that is.
  • SEMA Finally Gives The Public A Peek. Why Not The Whole Shebang?
    I'm sure there's an Extruded Fibers Conference; a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning expo; Plumbing and Sprinklers convention; Paneling, Sheetrock and Aluminum Siding extravaganzas. I'm sure these exist, and that they are industry-only, as if the public would want a look. But one of the mysteries to me is why SEMA, until this week, has also been no-public-allowed.
  • Nissan Evinces Marketing Lessons Well Learned
    Major brands spoke at the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing last week, and all of the speeches were inspirational. A home run this year for the ANA, thanks to Bob Liodice, who, along with the organizers, outdid himself.
  • Luxury Automakers Can Succeed With Premium Partnerships
    Automakers have found interesting ways of getting people into their cars through fleet partnerships that give people an experience of a vehicle without the ignominy of the rent-a-car.
  • As Mustang Gallops Overseas, Muscle Still Matters
    If you visit the Monticello Motor Club race track near New Paltz, N.Y., there's a good chance the track is packed with affluent guys with Lambos and exotics roaring around the track. Or somewhat less affluent guys in muscled-up mass market sports cars - Miatas, Mustangs, 'Vettes and the occasional Viper. One of the guys who was there, a reporter, related how, when in Europe for a press event, he dropped by a racetrack near Monaco to test drive some cars.
  • Cars Plus TV Shows Equal Social Buzz, But For Whom?
    Just as we are approaching a moment where the term "digital media" is pleonastic, we may also be arriving at a place where social media is just as redundant. And we're certainly at the point where second screen is an archaism. Most people most of the time are online on their phones, and the experience of the Internet is through the little portals: apps that also have social capability. I was using Waze recently to find out about a horrific traffic jam (wasn't driving) and was able to "speak" with drivers also on Waze in my relative vicinity.
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