Editor's Note: You can see Jason Vines, Tom Walsh from The Detroit Free Press and The Autoextremist discuss Vines' excellent new book “What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity” - due in stores and on the Internet on November 1st from Waldorf Publishing - on host John McElroy’s Autoline program on PBS stations across the country and on WTVS throughout Canada on cable, or on www.autoline.tv, the weekend of November 1-2. - WG
Editor-in-Chief's Note: From the "Tedious, Thy Name is Chrysler" File comes the second phase of the automaker's marketing campaign for the all-new Chrysler 200, which debuted during the Detroit Lions NFL game on Sunday. After a relentless barrage of the new commercials (Wieden+Kennedy is the agency), we're already tired of seeing them. As Olivier "I'm a genius, just ask me" Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer, explained to The Detroit News, "It's not traditional. It's not even in the English language... I think this is an attention-getter." Huh? "The message is still the same, but its details progress," Francois continued. "We started with Detroit is back, then we evolved to America is back … and now it's the next step, America is ready to take on the world." And they're doing it - wait for it - with subtitles!!! You can watch the first three spots (in Japanese and German) here, here and here. More German and Swedish ads to follow (can't wait). Dubbed a quadrilingual (now, there's a word you don't see every day) campaign because the spots are in Japanese, German, Swedish and English, the spots feature a foreign language voiceover who thinks he's describing a German or Japanese automobile, but then is all of a sudden "shocked" to discover that the car in question is American. Wow. "We are a principled company, and we really legitimately would not run a campaign like this without solid product proofs of the car being at par," Francois told the Detroit Free Press. Oh really? This is the same "principled" company that sold its Fiat dealers a bill of goods by demanding that they build separate brick and mortar showrooms for the Fiat 500 because they would be swimming in Alfa Romeos profits by 2014? Right. Spare us the high-minded bullshit, Olivier. "For us, the 200 is setting a benchmark on how we plan on developing cars," Francois continued. Let's see, as reported in the same Free Press article, Chrysler ranked below average in J.D. Power's most recent Vehicle Dependability Study, which measures problems over a three-year period. And the brand placed 12th out of 32 brands in another J.D. Power study, which evaluates the reliability of cars over the first 90 days of ownership (not to mention the fact that in Consumer Reports latest rankings of vehicle reliability, Fiat Chrysler's brands were mired at the bottom of the industry). And let's not forget that the new 200 hasn't exactly set the world on-fire right out of the gate, either. As Francois told the Free Press, "...we wanted to make our product pitch stand out. The twist, the unique twist, is to do it in another language." Really? That's all ya got, Francois? We think the spots say "lame" in any language. And the entire exercise has a distinct air of desperation surrounding it. Here's a tip, Francois: Put your autographed "genius" glasses down for a moment and come to the realization that you sell Jeeps and trucks, period. Because that's really all you got. Everything else is a frickin' tedious afterthought. - PMD
Editor-in-Chief's Note: As reported in Automotive News today, Fiat plans to spin off Ferrari and list a 10 percent stake in the U.S. stock market and possibly a European exchange as well. The remaining 90 percent will be distributed among FCA shareholders. No surprises here. As I have said repeatedly, The Great Sergio is going to milk this thing for all it's worth.
Editor's Note: The Lincoln Motor Company has struck marketing gold with its ads for the MKC, starring Matthew McConaughey. Nicely shot and executed, the spots have had a huge impact, and that was before Jimmy Fallon and Ellen did parodies. And now - on Saturday Night Live this past weekend - Jim Carrey has delivered the best parody of all. (Watch it here.) Lincoln has benefited both ways, because the spots have been well-received on their own and the parodies have only fueled the attention to the brand. - WG
(Images courtesy of Audi of America)
Audi of America will debut the 2015 R8 competition at the upcoming 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show next month. The high-performance R8 competition features a 570hp 5.2L V10 mated exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic and a sport exhaust system with black high-gloss tailpipes. This combination results in a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph, making it the fastest R8 ever offered. The R8 competition shares the same naturally aspirated V10 FSI engine as the Audi R8 LMS race car which has won Daytona and Nuerburgring 24 hour races as well as all other major GT races around the globe.
A matte carbon fiber treatment is included on the center console and illuminated “R8 competition” door sill inlays. The R8 competition is an Audi exclusive line vehicle, which allows the driver to pair a variety of interior and exterior colors and choose from a selection of wheel finishes.
Matte carbon exterior elements consist of a fixed rear spoiler, engine bay, mirror housings, flics, side blades, front spoiler and rear diffuser. Gloss black wheels with 305 cross-section rear tires and ceramic brakes with anodized red brake calipers provide a notable contrast to the matte carbon fiber elements. A total of 60 units will be produced at the R8 production facility in Neckarsulm, Germany. Customers can begin ordering the Audi R8 competition as of early November with deliveries expected as of the beginning of 2015.
At times, machines developed for the SEMA Show can be a spectacular bazaar of creativity and blue-sky dreaming with fantastic results. At other times you come upon something horrifying like this: It's called the 2015 Toyota Sienna DUB Edition, which is a tragic exercise in irrelevance. Wow.
From the "We're As All-American Authentic as 'I've Been Working On The Railroad' File" comes this photo-op as (left to right) Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz, Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Texas Governor Rick Perry announce a $1,000,000 donation from Toyota to the Plano ISD Academy High School during the Toyota "Hello Texas" event on Oct. 27, 2014 in Plano, Texas.