Monday, October 26, 2015

Automotive Reporter Biz News for Wk of 10-26-15

Ford’s marketing geniuses continue to blend Mustang’s heritage with various speedsters to produce very appealing derivatives of the iconic muscle car. 

Petty’s Garage is being tapped to build a limited number of highly modified Mustang GTs – 243 King edition models, 43 King Premier and 14 King Premier convertibles.

What will the King-packages include? The already hot, 5.0-litre engine will be modified with a Ford Performance supercharger to boost horsepower to 670—with a three-year, 36k-mile warranty.

Petty’s Garage owner, the legendary Richard Petty, says the King Edition Mustangs are “pretty much the way I’d build my own.” To handle the extra power, the Petty shop also adds TrakPak Ford Performance halfshafts, three-way adjustable front and rear sway bars, and a rear axle upgrade. MSRP prices begin at $67,495—which is pretty affordable in this universe. Order yours from the Petty’s Garage website.

The OnStar network is amazeballs. With a push of a button, you can be connected to a real, live person in this country (who speaks flawless English), who will answer any question you have. If there’s an emergency, they’ll dispatch help—even before you ask, in some cases. Now OnStar is offering to read books to you while you drive along. Actually, they’re downloads of audio books, but you get the idea.  

Maritz Research finds that Buick owners are 30% more likely to read books as a leisure activity, and so GM and are offering two free downloads to 2016 Buick owners. I think they should add another volume to the list—the 2016 Buick Owners’ Manual.

The electrical evolution continues in the automotive realm.  Chevrolet has created a snappy EV-version of its Bolt sub-compact, which it says can go 200-miles on a single charge.  GM says the electrified model will go into production for the 2016 model year, assembled at its Orion Township, MI plant. 

The Bolt EV is a collaboration between Chevrolet and LG Corp, which has invested $250-million in a manufacturing facility in Korea that will gen-up some of the components for the car. LG Chem has been manufacturing batteries for GM’s first-generation Volt since 2010.

Last Wednesday the entire world celebrated “Back to the Future Day,” that moment in time to which Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled from 1985. Probably the best “moment” of the day occurred on Jimmy Kimmel Live, when Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd emerged—in character—from a smoke enshrouded DeLorean rolling onto the set. 

The pair bantered about how 2015 sucks, and Doc headed back to “fix a few things” at the end of the segment.  Special mention goes to Huey Lewis, who was planted in the audience, and jammed with the house band during the commercial break.

As promised, Toyota produced a special edition Tacoma 4 x 4, the ride of choice of McFly in the film series, and a BTTF-themed TV spot to capitalize on the theme.
It worked. 

Worst automotive ad campaigns ever:
3.) Art Grindle’s Saturday morning cartoon sponsorships: In what alternative universe is jumping up and down on top of cars while screaming low-price promises an effective venue for marketing? Oh, yeah—Houston in the 1960’s.

2.) Toyota’s Muppets TV spots. In what alternative universe is screaming puppet dialogue a suitable venue for marketing motorcars?

 1.) Honda’s singing owner Radio spots: There’s only one thing more obnoxious than a car dealer's jingle singers, and that’s car owners who CANNOT sing, attempting to voice the praises of their cars’ rear view camera, et al. 

I’d like to see an automotive derivation of M&M Mars’ series of candy bars ads, in which various “hangry” drivers are magically transformed with just a bite of a Snickers bar. Maybe that’s what the Houston Texans needed on Sunday—just a Snickers.

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