Digital Media is the New Road to Personalized Advertising

Jeremy Detgen

The auto industry has been pushing the boundaries of Internet advertising beyond what many other industries are doing so far, according to Blake Irving, executive vice president and chief product officer of Yahoo! He told participants at this fall’s 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV, that “personalization” is on the horizon and it will be conducted through social media. The technology is available as an “Into Car App” that allows consumers to track their vehicle purchase process and help select the ideal car for them. This would be building off of the already existing “Into Now App” that tags commercials and provides relevant information to consumers.

Irving described a scenario from the near future where a consumer takes a photo of his current vehicle. The app will capture that consumer’s music tastes, where he drives, where he shops, etc. The app can then download information from his PC as an authenticated user. The app gathers data from the cloud and processes it—gathering TV shows that are watched, etc. All of these bits of information and data can help select a car on a personal basis. The app can tell the consumer what dealer to shop, the price of the selected vehicle, dealership hours of operation, and more. Irving’s message was all about “signals” and how the many numerous signals being put out by consumers can be made valuable when captured, processed and analyzed. Continue reading ›

Revving Up Production in US Market and Abroad

Several automakers announced during press previews at the L.A. Auto Show more aggressive plans to increase production at US assembly plants, partly to offset currency fluctuations and also to meet demand in the US and overseas. Highlights include:

• Volkswagen Group, which has a relatively new plant in Chattanooga, TN, where it builds the Passat that was named “Motor Trend Car of the Year,” is investing in the US market, according to Jonathan Browning, CEO and president, because VW expects to sell more than 300,000 vehicles in the United States this year. VW’s new CC, which will go on sale in the first quarter of 2012, is expected to be a “Top Safety Pick” with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Browning said. Continue reading ›

Performance Returns as a Mainstay in a Recovering Auto Industry

More than half a dozen mass-market and premium brands displayed models with higher-horsepower powertrains at this week’s L.A. Auto Show, many with the capability to hit speeds nearing 200 mph without limiters.

Ford introduced a new Shelby Mustang GT500 with an engine that exuded 650 horsepower.

• The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible will be equipped with a 580-horsepower supercharged V-8.

BMW showed one of its performance models, the M5, powered by its most powerful street engine—a 560-horsepower unit that can propel the M5 to 60 mph in 4 seconds, according to the automaker. Continue reading ›

More Electric and “Green” Entries are Added to Automaker Lineups

Although green entries did not get all the attention at this year’s L.A. Auto Show  this past week, a number of automakers featured fuel-efficient models. A few observations after the press previews and the show:

Honda remains a green leader and promoted its electric vehicle (EV) capabilities at the L.A. Auto Show. In addition to showing its new 2012 CR-V with better fuel efficiency, one of California’s best-selling automakers debuted an all-electric Fit subcompact for 2013. The new EV comes in a 5-door, 5-passenger package and can be recharged using a 240-volt charger in less than 3 hours. The Fit EV can be leased from Honda for $399 per month. Some 1,000 EV demos will be placed on the road this year in a pilot program involving the city of Torrance, CA, Stanford University and Google. On another green note, Honda’s Civic Natural Gas model was named “2012 Green Car of the Year” by the Green Car Journal. Continue reading ›

New Crossovers Dominate Mass-Market and Premium Debuts at L.A. Auto Show

Crossovers continued to pull their weight among major introductions at the L.A. Auto Show. A few of the introductions featured in the segment that is favored by nearly one of every four or five new-car buyers:

Ford introduced its new 2013 Escape with sleek styling changes that take cues from its Focus sibling and simpler, enhanced telematics—Sync with MyFord Touch—and more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine options as well as a remote liftgate feature. A new version of the Ford Flex midsize CUV also was unveiled, featuring a slightly less dramatic front end, but new inflatable seat belts to protect children and older passengers. Continue reading ›

Technology and Connectivity are Key Focuses in New Products

Emerging-technology features took center stage during product introductions at most of the press previews at the L.A. Auto Show this past week. Nearly every automaker touted news about featured information and entertainment systems that have been developed or advanced to cater to customers.

• Brands, including Ford and Honda, talked about simpler and enhanced telematics and connectivity. Continue reading ›

Green and Environmentally Friendly are Soft-Pedaled at L.A. Auto Show

Although “green” wasn’t a theme during last week’s press previews for the L.A. Auto Show, marketers and officials from automakers reeled off stats of enhanced fuel economy for many of their new or redesigned models.

Executives from major auto brands, including General Motors’ Chevrolet and Cadillac nameplates, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Mazda and Subaru . . . Continue Reading Green and Environmentally Friendly are Soft-Pedaled at L.A. Auto Show

Hyundai Production Up Most; Detroit 3 Post Significant Gains

Through the first 10 months of 2011, production in North America has risen by 9% from a year ago—or by 920,000 units, based on research from LMC Automotive.

Hyundai Group production was up by nearly half (+48%) with higher output of existing models and the fact that more models are being produced locally in . . . Continue Reading Hyundai Production Up Most; Detroit 3 Post Significant Gains

November US Sales Strengthen; 2011 Forecast Raised

Retail car and light-truck sales in the first half of November* were stronger than anticipated, translating to a projected retail sales pace of 11.3 million units—the highest monthly selling rate in more than three years, according to a monthly sales update based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data and LMC Automotive. The retail sales pace outdistances last year’s retail pace by some 1.6 million units.

Projected retail sales in November (791,900 units) provides good news as calendar 2011 proceeds to a close. In fact, the improving performance of the past 3 months suggests that the current momentum, primarily driven by replacement demand and improvements in vehicle availability, is not an aberration, suggests John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power. Continue reading ›

Mazda Moves Ahead with Monotsukuri (Innovation) and Improvements

During a welcome address at this week’s first day of the L.A. Auto Show press previews, Mazda Motor Corp. President and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi spoke about the trials that Japan’s automakers have endured since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and recent setbacks in obtaining parts after major floods in Thailand. He said Japan’s automakers joined together and formed a task force to work with Tier-1, -2 and -3 suppliers to share inventories of parts.

Yamanouchi also said that Mazda has been on the road to production recovery since June, and pointed to the “stylish, insightful, spirited” lineup, including the new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover (CUV) with the automaker’s new SkyActiv engine, transmission and architecture design strategy that sets Mazda apart from rivals. He said during the next 5 years, Mazda plans to introduce six new SkyActiv models, and these models will be promoted with Mazda’s next-generation version of a “sustainable” Zoom Zoom ad tagline. The new CX-5, which launches early in 2012, has a lighter-weight all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with stiffer suspension, and it will offer information and entertainment system connectivity with nine speakers. Continue reading ›