February 12, 2010
Cole Haan Debuts "The Inspired Life" Spring 2010 Ad Campaign Shot by photographer Todd Selby.
For Spring 2010, Cole Haan has partnered with fashion photographer Todd Selby to create a new advertising campaign, "The Inspired Life."
According to Cole Haan, the imagery celebrates family, friends, art, nature, community, competition, adventure, and love -- the forces that drive and color our lives.
The campaign portrays real life individuals wearing Cole Haan, chosen for their unique approaches to life and style. Each individual was shot in his/her natural environment, producing a campaign that reveals everyday interests rendered meaningful and beautiful, explains the company.
The campaign will be supported with a fully integrated marketing including a debut in the March issues of top women's and men's fashion titles, online, out of home, direct mail and in-store.
Cole Haan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc., is America's style and luxury brand offering handcrafted men's and women's footwear, accessories and outerwear. The brand has stores in Japan as well. Recent expansion in Asia includes first new concept store in Macao, along with presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, and two new stores in Dubai. Cole Haan is looking for global expansion in Europe, Latin America, India, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Source: Cole Haan
February 2, 2010
Made in China or Swiss Made?
Advertising that a toy is made in China can be as successful as saying a watch is "Swiss Made", if the marketing is done right, a Queensland University of Technology researcher says.
Professor Brett Martin found that promoting a product's country of manufacture could help it to sell, even if it was made in a country associated with lower quality.
"It is standard advertising practice to market a product's country of origin if the country is perceived as a high quality producer and not mention the country if it is not," Professor Martin said.
"However, my research has found consumers can easily be persuaded to think positively about a 'low quality' country."
Professor Martin said the trick was to get consumers to imagine positive thoughts when reading product information.
"This is because getting people to use their imagination weakens the stereotypes people use about goods from different countries," he said.
His study tested 516 young adults after they viewed product information for digital cameras made in Germany, which is seen as a manufacturer of high quality products, and Poland, which is regarded as a maker of lower quality products.
Measuring their purchase intentions and emotions, the study found that sparking the consumers' imaginations about Poland created a lasting positive response towards the Polish-made camera which equalled the positive response felt towards the German-made camera.
"These findings form an interesting consideration for marketers," he said.
"Having a strong country of manufacture can be effective for advertising, but if you get people to imagine how good a supposedly weaker country is, the advantage for the high quality country drops substantially.
"This is because many people form a quick impression when they find out where a product is from, like a t-shirt from Hawaii.
"Getting them to imagine the islands' great beaches and surf culture interrupts that thinking and lets a product sell on its merits, rather than being dismissed without consideration."
Professor Martin said his research which is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour meant companies which manufactured their products in countries associated with lower quality should rethink their marketing strategies and not just compete on price.
He said that a strong country of manufacture was not necessarily the great advantage that many advertisers think and cautioned against resting on the laurels of a country's good reputation.
Source: Queensland University of Technology, Australia
December 27, 2009
Longines PrimaLuna: a New Star in the Longines Galaxy
Photo: The Refined New Longines PrimaLuna. The circular rose gold case, set with 48 Top Wesselton VVS diamonds (total weight 0.403 carats), surrounds a white mother-of-pearl dial decorated with 11 arabesque Arabic numerals. The case houses an automatic self-winding mechanical movement L595 that shows the hours, minutes, seconds and date. This model is fitted on a rose gold bracelet with a folding safety clasp. Water-resistant to 30 meters.
Photo: A symbol of passing time, living time, the moon that enchants us. The New Longines PrimaLuna. The circular stainless steel and rose gold case, set with 48 Top Wesselton VVS diamonds (total weight 0.403 carats), surrounds a silvered dial with a flinqué decoration featuring 11 blue Roman numerals. The watch houses an automatic self-winding mechanical movement L595 that shows the hours, minutes, seconds and date. This model is fitted on a stainless steel and rose gold bracelet with a folding safety clasp. Water-resistant to 30 meters.
• Elegant, contemporary, subtle and carefree, the new Longines PrimaLuna offers a new collection of exquisite models.
• This ladies' watch is also a piece of jewelry. The pleasing curves of the case are enhanced by a play of diamonds.
Photo: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Longines Ambassador of Elegance, wearing the Longines PrimaLuna. (Photo © Longines.)
Photo: The New Longines PrimaLuna. The circular stainless steel case, set with 48 Top Wesselton VVS diamonds (total weight 0.403 carats), surrounds a white mother-of-pearl dial set with 11 diamonds and houses a quartz movement L129 that shows the hours, minutes, seconds and date. This model is fitted on a stainless steel bracelet with a folding safety clasp. Water-resistant to 30 meters.
This is how Longines describes PrimaLuna: "A silvery moon on a spring night; a star that glistens reaches its peak and then disappears. A symbol of passing time, living time, the new Longines PrimaLuna is a tribute to the silvery star the moon that entrances us with its rounded, delicate lines. Its soft silhouette is enhanced by the exquisite purity of the dial and the whole is illuminated by a play of sparkling diamonds. Graceful, magical, this is a model that will seduce women who appreciate contemporary, sophisticated elegance."
Known for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of the Swatch Group Ltd, the World's leading manufacturer of horological products. With the winged hourglass as its emblem, the brand has outlets in over 130 countries. Based in St. Imier in Switzerland since 1832, Longines has been timekeeper for world championships in various sports.
December 23, 2009
Volvo XC90 Makes its First Appearance in Bollywood
• Volvo XC90 R-Design makes its first appearance in Bollywood with "3 Idiots" starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The film will be released on December 25.
"We are delighted to be a part of a big banner Bollywood movie. Bollywood is a cult in India," says Paul De Voijs, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India.
For the first time in India, Volvo Cars gets associated with Bollywood with the debut of its red XC90 R-Design in the much awaited releases of 2009 - 3 Idiots. Produced by Vinod Chopra Films and directed by Raj Kumar Hirani, the film's cast includes Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi.
Aamir Khan has scored successes in all the movies in which he has been involved since the start of the 2000s. Today he is somewhat more restrained in his on-screen output and performs in no more than two movies a year. The female co-star Kareena Kapoor is also immensely popular. The other two stars R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi, are also among Bollywood's acting elite.
"The movie and its lead characters emanate vibrancy, energy and sportiness; exactly the qualities represented by our XC90 R-Design. Hence the ideal integration of our brand and the movie," says Paul De Voijs.
"Artistic integrity is crucial for successful brand placements and the utility of the product has to be woven properly into the script. The placement should be a natural fit," Paul de Voijs further adds.
The film is about the journey two friends undertake in their search for a third compatriot, played by Aamir Khan. The backdrop of the movie is along the length and breadth of India, covering the scenic beauty of the mountainous region of Ladakh. The film has been shot along the world's highest-altitude road, at 5,590 metres or 18,340 feet above sea level. The landscape is dramatic and breathtaking.
Volvo Auto India is a new operator in India, a gigantic, fast-growing market and one of the most competitive in the world. Volvo established a presence in India just over two years ago and has since then worked intensively to market the Swedish brand.
With a corporate office in Gurgaon, Volvo Cars opened its first dealership in Chandigarh in March 2008 and currently market's its products through its dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Pune.
So far Volvo Auto India has chosen to launch two models, the Volvo XC90 and Volvo S80 but the coming years they are lining up more new models. The first one to be launched during 2010 is the Volvo XC60. The focus is on positioning the brand in the luxury car segment.
• In 2012, India is expected to be the world's fifth or sixth largest car market.
December 10, 2009
Many Automotive Brands are Losing Buyers to Competitors Due to Poor Customer Treatment though they have High Customer Satisfaction with the New-Vehicle Sales Process: J.D. Power
Overall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience has improved from 2008, but automakers are losing 12 percent of new-vehicle sales to other brands, on average, as a result of poor customer treatment at dealerships, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.
The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience. Overall customer satisfaction is measured for five factors:
Paperwork, Finance Process;
Delivery process; and
Overall satisfaction averages 836 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, up by 11 points from 2008. Satisfaction with each of the five factors improves from 2008, with the greatest improvements in the two areas that are most within the dealer's control -- the salesperson and delivery process factors.
According to J.D. Power, salespeople have improved most notably from 2008 in helping buyers stay within their budgets and in negotiating prices quickly. Within the delivery process, dealerships have improved considerably in providing complete explanations of the owner's manual and explaining vehicle features.
"In this difficult economy, dealerships are working particularly hard to close sales, but need to be attentive to customers without exerting unwanted sales pressure," said Jon Osborn, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Nearly one in four buyers in 2009 reports experiencing sales pressure from their selling dealer."
The study finds that more than one in five shoppers who leave a dealership without purchasing a vehicle do so because they experienced poor treatment or dealer performance issues such as pricing games, sales pressure tactics or discourteous treatment. While 43 percent of these buyers ultimately purchased from a different dealer of the same brand, 57 percent decided to purchase from a different brand altogether. For the industry as a whole, this equals a 12 percent loss of retail sales to other brands.
"With the billions of dollars that automakers spend designing, producing and marketing new vehicles, as well as in driving customers to showrooms, it is critical that potential buyers are not pushed out the dealer's door because of a poor customer experience," said Osborn. "Manufacturers and dealers should be concerned with the experiences of all shoppers, whether they purchase or not. From a buyer's perspective, recollections of their shopping experience include not only the selling dealer, but also all of the other dealers they visited."
The 2009 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from approximately 48,000 new-vehicle buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicles in May or June 2009. The study was fielded between August and October 2009.
Sales Satisfaction Index Ranking --------- J.D. Power Circle Rating
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
• Luxury Brands
Jaguar ---------------------- 898 ---------------- 5
Cadillac ---------------------- 893 --------------- 5
Lexus ----------------------- 877 ---------------- 4
Mercedes-Benz ------------ 877 ---------------- 4
Land Rover ------------------ 872 --------------- 4
(Average) ------------------- 864 ---------------- 3
Lincoln ----------------------- 863 --------------- 3
BMW ------------------------ 861 ---------------- 3
Porsche ---------------------- 861 --------------- 3
SAAB ------------------------- 857 --------------- 3
Acura ------------------------ 856 ---------------- 3
Infiniti ------------------------ 845 --------------- 2
Volvo ------------------------- 842 --------------- 2
Audi -------------------------- 828 --------------- 2
• Mass Market Brands
Mercury ---------------------- 867 --------------- 5
smart ------------------------- 865 --------------- 5
Buick ------------------------- 864 --------------- 5
Pontiac ----------------------- 864 --------------- 5
Chevrolet -------------------- 863 --------------- 5
MINI -------------------------- 862 --------------- 5
Saturn ------------------------ 858 --------------- 4
HUMMER --------------------- 856 --------------- 4
GMC -------------------------- 853 ---------------- 4
Ford --------------------------- 847 --------------- 4
Subaru ------------------------ 834 -------------- 3
Suzuki ------------------------ 832 --------------- 3
(Average) -------------------- 832 --------------- 3
Honda ------------------------ 830 --------------- 3
Volkswagen ------------------ 828 --------------- 3
Scion -------------------------- 826 --------------- 3
Kia ----------------------------- 823 -------------- 3
Toyota ------------------------ 823 --------------- 3
Chrysler ---------------------- 822 --------------- 3
Hyundai ---------------------- 819 --------------- 3
Nissan ------------------------ 815 --------------- 3
Mazda ------------------------- 809 --------------- 2
Dodge ------------------------ 805 ---------------- 2
Jeep -------------------------- 805 ---------------- 2
Mitsubishi ------------------- 778 ---------------- 2
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
"A typical car buyer trusts others' advice rather than any traditional advertising.
Hence, the Word of Mouth is the forgotten most powerful publicity tool that an automobile manufacturer may explore and employ to advertise its products as well as to promote its dealer showrooms."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
December 6, 2009
Volvo Ocean Race: Legs 9 & 10: From Marstrand to Stockholm, From Stockholm to St Petersburg
• The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 was the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it took in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports over nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier ocean yacht race for professional racing crews.
Photo: Telefonica Black, skippered by Fernando Echavarri (ESP) finish first on leg 10 in St Petersburg. © Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: Telefonica Black, skippered by Fernando Echavarri (ESP) finish first on leg 10 in St Petersburg. © jiang yongtao / Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: A Swedish Navy ship accelerates on front of Green Dragon at the start of leg 10 from Stockholm to St Petersburg. © Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: Spinnakers up for the downwind leg of the in-port race in Stockholm. © Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing at dawn on leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm. © Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: Delta lloyd passes the finish in IJmuiden --- It took skipper Bouwe Bekking just 5 hours 23 minutes and 18 seconds to sail the Delya Lloyd 105 miles from Lowestoft to IJmuiden. © Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: The fleet get under way at the start of leg 10 from Stockholm to St Petersburg. © Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) at the start of leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm. © Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing.
Photo: Ericsson 3 chasing Telefonica Black at dawn, as the fleet pass the Orsund Bridge on the way to Stockholm. © Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.
Volvo Ocean Race was run for the first time in 2001-02.
During the nine months of the 2008-09 Volvo, which started in Alicante, Spain and concluded in St. Petersburg, Russia, the teams sailed over 37,000 nautical miles of the world's most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm.
Each of the seven entries had a sailing team of 11 professional crew, and the race required their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they raced day and night for more than 30 days at a time on some of the legs. They each took on different jobs onboard the boat. About two sailors in each team had medical training. Also, each team consisted of a sailor trained as a sailmaker, a sailor trained as an engineer, and a sailor trained as a media specialist.
During the race the crews experience life at the extreme: no fresh food is taken onboard and they go through temperature variations from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius.
December 2, 2009
Los Angeles International Auto Show: Porsche Boxster Spyder Makes World Debut
Photo: Porsche Launched the New Boxster Spyder to World Media in Los Angeles.
Today, at a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Porsche took the wraps off one of its most nimble and sportiest mid-engine cars: the 2011 Boxster Spyder.
• Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., is the exclusive importer of Porsche vehicles for the United States. It is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing.h.c. F. Porsche AG.
Photos: Porsche rolled out its new Boxster Spyder for the first time at a press conference at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. Helping usher in the sports car for this world debut was Austria's freestyle rock drummer Alfred Vogel. (Porsche Cars North America, Inc., Axel Koester)
"The new Boxster Spyder looks distinctly different from its Boxster siblings," said Klaus Berning, Porsche's executive board member responsible for worldwide sales and marketing, speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show press conference today. "Our designers borrowed from the rich history of our mid-engine sports and race cars of the '50s, but under the skin it has our most advanced technology so that its performance matches the Spyder's looks, making it the quintessential purist Porsche."
"When equipped with Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission and the Sports Chrono Package, the new Spyder, using Launch Control, accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Top track speed is 166 mph -- with the roof open."
Weighing only 2,811 lbs. and delivering 320 horsepower, it goes on sale in February 2010 and will join the Boxster and Boxster S that made their world debut here last year.
November 26, 2009
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games: Panasonic to Deliver Full Lineup of HD Equipment
Photo: Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Mascots Quatchi, Sumi and Miga (© VANOC/COVAN).
Photo: Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Whistler Olympic Park (© VANOC/COVAN).
Photo: Panasonic to Deliver Full Lineup of HD Equipment to Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Panasonic Corporation, the Official Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Audio and Visual Equipment category for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, announced it is providing a full lineup of High-Definition (HD) equipment to support the broadcast of the Olympic Games; delivering the largest supply of AV equipment for any Winter Games in the company's history.
Through cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver (OBSV), Panasonic will supply its HD video equipment to the competition venues and broadcasting locations, making the Vancouver Games the first Olympic Winter Games to be broadcast completely in HD format.
Following Beijing 2008, all international video signals for the 2010 Winter Games will be produced and distributed in HD format from the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) to rights-holding broadcasters around the world. In addition, the HD video signals will also be used for the first time for display on the LED Large Screen Display Systems in the competition venues and BC Place Stadium where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will take place; making the 2010 Winter Games the first "HD Olympic Winter Games" with all the Olympic videos to be delivered completely in HD.
In addition, Panasonic will support a safe and secure Olympic operation by providing high-quality picture and high-sensitivity surveillance camera systems for the indoor and outdoor Olympic facilities, the surrounding areas and highways.
Sources: Panasonic Corporation; Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
"Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will take place in February 2010. Relevant consumer-oriented businesses targeting audiences in participating countries (especially those in North America) may timely explore this advertising opportunity."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
November 19, 2009
Bridget Moynahan is the Newest Spokesmodel for Garnier Nutritioniste
Moynahan will be the face of the Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift product collection.
Global skincare company Garnier Nutritioniste is introducing actress Bridget Moynahan as the latest spokesmodel for the brand. Moynahan will appear in print and TV campaigns for the brand's top-selling Ultra-Lift skincare collection, set to debut July 2010.
Moynahan joins an impressive roster of Garnier spokesmodels, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Bar Rafaeli and Alana de la Garza.
"We are thrilled to partner with the beautiful Bridget Moynahan," says Maybelline New York-Garnier President David Greenberg. "Her class, grace and accessibility make her a model representative of the Garnier brand. Most importantly, she exhibits a likeable, healthy beauty that speaks to our consumer in such a positive way."
Moynahan is an all-American girl raised in the East Coast town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Before earning international recognition in films and TV, she had a successful modeling career, appearing on the covers of numerous magazines including Glamour, Vogue, Elle and Self. Moynahan has since appeared in a number of major films, such as Serendipity, The Sum of All Fears, The Recruit, I, Robot, and Lord of War. She is the star of the upcoming 2010 film Ramona and Beezus and is currently shooting the film Battle: Los Angeles.
November 12, 2009
Volkswagen Group of America Invests $125 Million for New Dealer Storefronts in New York City
Flagship Audi and Volkswagen dealerships reinforce commitment to U.S. market.
Photo: Volkswagen Group of America Invests $125 Million for New Dealer Storefronts in New York City.
• Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. announced today that it is investing in flagship Audi and Volkswagen dealerships in New York City, as part of its strategic plan to grow business in the U.S. market.
The $125 million deal is for the 265,000 square-foot building formerly housing Potamkin General Motors. The building is strategically sited in the highest traffic area of 11th Ave., making it a convenient location for Volkswagen and Audi customers.
• Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, the world's third largest automaker and the largest carmaker in Europe. It houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen.
"As Volkswagen and Audi move forward on our aggressive plan to increase sales in the U.S., there is no better place to demonstrate our commitment than in Manhattan -- a town synonymous for bold actions and big thinking," said Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "New York has always been a leading market for the Volkswagen and Audi brands, and these new store fronts will serve to strengthen our business even more. We are proud to be investing in the New York economy, excited to showcase our brands and look forward to seeing more Volkswagens and Audis on the streets of New York."
The new dealerships will showcase Volkswagen and Audi's new showroom concepts, known respectively as "white frame" and "terminal." The dealerships will be part of one of the largest dealers in the area, the Open Road Auto Group. The Group will target to begin selling vehicles in early 2010.
Source: Volkswagen Group of America
AN AUTOMAKER SHOULD MAKE A POTENTIAL CAR BUYER POSITIVELY LOOK UPON ITS MARKETING.
Should an Automaker make a potential car buyer look upon its marketing as that from an Established, Confident Car Company that believes that its products are very much in demand and that trusts that when someone buys its new car, he or she is already in love with it?
Or, Should an Automaker make a potential car buyer look upon its marketing as that from a Struggling, Jittery Car Company that believes that its products are not in demand and that is why it is forcing the consumers to become artificially interested in them by saying, "If you buy a new car from us and you don't love it, you can bring it back within a specified time, and we we'll refund your money, though, of course, we would do it after a frightening refunding process you would never dare to undergo!"?
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
October 21, 2009
Tokyo Motor Show: Honda CR-Z Concept 2009 Makes World Debut
• Stylish hybrid coupe will arrive in North America in 2010 as 2-seat model.
Honda today debuted CR-Z Concept 2009, the second concept version of the stylish, sporty hybrid coupe, at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. While the vehicle displayed at the show is a global concept with a rear seat, the production version that will be introduced to North America in the second half of 2010 will be packaged as a sporty, 2-seat hybrid that provides a personal driving experience for North American customers.
"The Honda CR-Z will expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles and reinforce the fun-to-drive values associated with the Honda brand," said Erik Berkman, vice president of Automobile Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Beyond great styling and features, CR-Z will bring new levels of engagement and fun to customers interested a small car or a hybrid vehicle."
The production version of the Honda CR-Z will make its world debut at the January 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
September 20, 2009
German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel officially opens the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. AutoWeek Editors Honor the Best.
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and Jean-Marc Gales, PSA (PSA Peugeot CitroÃ«n, France).
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dr. Petra Roth, Mayor of the city of Frankfurt at the inauguration.
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of Board, BMW and Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and Bernhard Mattes, Management Chairman, Ford.
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Ferdinand Piech, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, VW, Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management, VW (Volkswagen Group).
Photo: 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany at the stand of VW (Volkswagen Group}.
• The AutoWeek Editors' Choice Awards recognize Best in Show, Best Concept, Most Significant and Most Fun.
Photo: A model at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The AutoWeek editorial staff has announced its 2009 Frankfurt motor show Editors' Choice Award winners.
AutoWeek editors have been walking the show floors in Detroit, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo, selecting winners in four categories: Best in Show, Best Concept, Most Significant and Most Fun.
The 2009 AutoWeek Editors' Choice Award winners for the Best of Frankfurt are:
• BEST IN SHOW: Ferrari 458 Italia
It is rare when there are more than a few in the race for this coveted title, but that was the case at Frankfurt when no fewer than eight manufacturers had vehicles in the final. When the scrapping was over, Ferrari's 458 Italia triumphed. The 458 wears voluptuous, organic shapes tied together with technical and efficient lines. No matter when you see this car in the future -- in five years or 50 years from now on a concours lawn -- it will always be the one that debuted at Frankfurt in 2009.
Other Finalists Considered: Maserati GranCabrio, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce Ghost, Lamborghini Reventon Spyder, Audi R8 Spyder.
• BEST CONCEPT: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics
Maybe the most pure concept car at this year's Frankfurt show, BMW's glimpse into the performance sedan of the future uses technology, and design cues, that we'll see in production BMWs in the near future. Powered by a three-cylinder turbodiesel with a hybrid synchronous motor on the front axle and a full-hybrid system at the rear, this 2+2-seater also reveals some hints as to the exterior design features we'll see on future BMW passenger cars. With a top speed of 155 mph, this car shows that the future emphasis on fuel efficiency can offer a lot of fun as well.
Other Finalists Considered: Peugeot BB1, Citroen REVOLTe, Volkswagen E Up.
Photo: Volkswagen E Up in Frankfurt.
• MOST SIGNIFICANT: Renault EV family of four production electric cars
To think about which manufacturer was making the greatest impact and statement with their exhibit, it had to fall to Renault (and by default, though not exhibiting, its Nissan sister company.) With no fewer than four vehicles destined to come to market in three short years, Renault is putting an electrified stake in the ground and showing the rest of the world that while it might not be all in with this bet, it is not leaving much on the table.
Other Finalists Considered: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, Jaguar XJ, Opel Astra, Saab 9-5, Ford Grand C-Max.
• MOST FUN: Porsche 911 Turbo
As is the case with all of the categories this year, a number of strong contenders vied for the title of Most Fun. When the smoke cleared, the new Porsche 911 Turbo came out on top as the one car whose keys we all wanted for a spirited ride. Surely it would brighten the sourest disposition. How can anyone argue with a choice like this?
Other Finalists Considered: Maserati GranCabrio, Peugeot BB1, Mini Roadster, Mazda Superlight, Volkswagen Golf R, Alfa-Romeo Mito Cloverleaf and Lamborghini Reventon Spyder.
• AutoWeek magazine is a fortnightly automotive-enthusiast publication based out of Detroit, Michigan, and is one of nearly 30 titles published by Crain Communications Inc.
Sources: AutoWeek, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)
September 17, 2009
'May the Best Car Win' Marketing Campaign from GM
• GM Launches 60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee.
• 60-day Satisfaction Guarantee covers 2009 and 2010 Model Year vehicles.
• Covers all vehicles sold by Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
• Program runs Sept. 14 through Nov. 30.
• Offer covers 2009 and 2010 Model Year Chevys, Buicks, GMCs and Cadillacs (except medium duty trucks).
• Customers (one per household) can return their vehicle between 31 and 60 days with less than 4,000 miles.
Photo: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V.
Photo: 2009 Buick Lucerne CXL Special Edition.
General Motors has announced that it will offer a Satisfaction Guarantee to eligible buyers of new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. The guarantee allows customers to return their vehicle to their dealer between 31 and 60 days of purchase and receive a refund of the purchase price for the vehicle.
The announcement is part of a larger "May the Best Car Win" marketing campaign.
• GM says that it is demonstrating its confidence in its vehicles when compared head-to-head with the most competitive vehicles in each vehicle segment.
Photo: 2009 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ.
Photo: 2010 GMC Terrain SLE.
"We think if consumers give us a fair chance and look at the facts on the things that matter most to them, like design, fuel economy, warranty and safety, our vehicles are the best choices - that's what makes an offer like this possible," said Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman, Marketing and Communications. "The Cadillac SRX and CTS Wagon, the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, for instance, are all outstanding new products. This new marketing effort should help us communicate these facts to consumers.
"We know that we'll need to work very hard to get people's attention and encourage them to give Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC a try. We think the 'May the Best Car Win' campaign and the Satisfaction Guarantee offer should help re-instill confidence in the excellence of our products. We're putting our money down that if people buy one of our vehicles and don't absolutely love it, we'll take it back. We will stand behind them both in the short-term and over the long haul," Lutz said.
Source: General Motors Company
"This Sunday, General Motors launched a new marketing campaign, 'May the Best Car Win,' and will offer car buyers a 60-day money-back guarantee. Perhaps a more fitting slogan is 'Taxpayers, You Lose.'
Normally a strategy like this would be a bold move to compete in the marketplace - one that consumers and shareholders ultimately decide to reward or punish. Unfortunately, with this 60 percent government-owned company, taxpayers don't have the option of 'pulling out' of GM and putting their investments elsewhere; unless, of course, they'd like to be prosecuted by the IRS and spend a few years in jail. As a pro-market organization, we would applaud GM's gutsy approach - if only GM hadn't rigged the market in the first place.
Given that rigged market, it's no wonder GM can afford to offer money-back guarantees. After all, it's got $50 billion in bailout money. And it's probably not going to pay it back, according to a report last week from a Congressional Oversight Panel.
Since the federal government owns 60 percent of GM, maybe it ought to consider offering a money-back guarantee to the taxpayers as well. Instead, with this money-back guarantee GM continues to flaunt the enormous taxpayer investment in it.
According to the State of New York Banking Department, a new car loses up to 20 percent of its value the second it drives off a dealer's lot. Should taxpayers be footing this bill for GM's Zipcar-like incentive program?
If GM has money to burn on this type of program, perhaps it doesn't really need the $50 billion it received from the Treasury."
-- NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION, 108 North Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314, USA.
Money-Back Guarantee from a Car Manufacturer?
Italian Jewelry Designer Roberto Coin Selects Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns as the Face of the Company
Leading Italian jewelry designer Roberto Coin has signed on with advocate, entrepreneur and model Christy Turlington Burns for a second time to shoot his upcoming advertising campaign for 2009-2010. Turlington Burns has graced the covers of over 1,000 top fashion magazines.
For 2009-2010, the Roberto Coin campaign will support CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. According to Roberto Coin, Chairman & Co-Founder of Roberto Coin Inc., "Our previous campaign with Christy was so successful and widely received. We are so pleased to be working with her again. We are proud to be in partnership with an organization such as CARE for all their extraordinary work they have done to empower women worldwide through education, healthcare, increased economic opportunities and human rights."
CARE fights root causes of poverty in the world's poorest communities. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. In nearly 70 countries, women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve education, health and economic opportunity.
"At Roberto Coin, we believe that a cause related campaign has much more impact than straight consumer advertising," said Peter Webster, President & Co-Founder. "This campaign recognizes both the work of Christy Turlington Burns and that of CARE."
The campaign was shot by photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, whose past credits include advertising campaigns for Gucci, Givenchy, Chloe, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and editorial spreads for the pages of American, French, and Italian Vogue, W, and the New York Times.
The advertisements will appear in October 2009 fashion publications that include Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, and Town & Country.
Roberto Coin's jewelry designs include his signature Appassionata Collection. According to Coin, his designs have also been worn by celebrities such as Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, Brooke Shields, Jennie Garth, Jenna Fischer, Demi Moore, Melissa Etheridge, and Jennifer Hudson.
The company, Roberto Coin, is headquartered in Vicenza, Italy.
September 4, 2009
Climate Change: Helena Christensen Witnesses its Impacts in Peru
Photo: Model and photographer Helena Christensen traveled to Peru with humanitarian organization Oxfam to document the impacts of climate change on poor people ahead of an important global conference on climate. Photo Credit: Jason Mcdonald/Oxfam.
Model and photographer Helena Christensen traveled with international humanitarian organization Oxfam to her mother's native country to witness and document the dramatic effects that climate change is having on poor people today in Peru.
"The impacts of climate change are extremely severe in the areas we visited," said Christensen in Peru today. "The farmers we met and talked to are already living very hard lives, and are now being forced to adapt to the effects of the rapidly changing climate."
Christensen has documented the trip with a series of photographs that will be exhibited in New York, Washington, London and at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December. A short film of the expedition, captured by award-winning Director Richard Bullock, will also be shown.
"One of the women I spoke to, Elizabeth Ayma, told me that because rainfall are less frequent now and impossible to predict due to the climate changes, this is having a huge effect on crop production," said Christensen. "As a result, her family has less food to eat and less produce to sell, resulting in her not being able to afford her children's school fees. The lack of nutritional vegetables also affects her family's health."
"Climate change in Peru is already devastating and we welcome Helena's commitment to show this to the rest of the world. Peru is on the frontline of climate change, along with other developing countries, which have played little part in causing the problem," said Frank Boeren, Oxfam's coordinator in Peru. "It is crucial that rich leaders do the right thing at Copenhagen so that we can begin to stop run away climate change and protect vulnerable people around the world."
"We are at a critical tipping point. We need to put pressure on our governments in order for them to take the necessary, radical steps that are needed. There's no time left, it is absolutely imperative to act now," said Christensen.
Source: Oxfam America
September 2, 2009
Virtuoso Violinist Itzhak Perlman and New York Philharmonic to Join Rotary's Effort to End Polio
Rotary International is joining violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and the New York Philharmonic, led by Philharmonic Assistant Conductor Daniel Boico, to present the Concert to End Polio. It will be a benefit performance supporting the global effort to eradicate this disabling childhood disease.
The Concert to End Polio will take place on Wednesday, December 2, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City. Program information will be announced at a later date.
Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. The Orchestra is also renowned around the globe, having appeared in 425 cities in 59 countries on five continents.
Polio eradication resonates strongly with Mr. Perlman, who contracted the disease at age four and overcame serious physical challenges to become one of the world's most celebrated musicians. In this historic, one-night-only performance -- his first with the New York Philharmonic in four years -- Mr. Perlman will help Rotary in its effort to raise $200 million to match a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All of the resulting $555 million will fund critical eradication activities in developing countries where polio still threatens children.
Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Since then, ending polio has been Rotary's top priority, and tremendous progress has been made.
Rotary is an international humanitarian service organization made up of more than 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas, with a total membership of 1.2 million business, professional and community leaders.
Source: Rotary International
August 31, 2009
Babolat Welcomes Back Kim Clijsters to Her First Grand Slam Since 2007
Photo: Kim Clijsters with her Babolat tennis racquet at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Clijsters is preparing for her first Grand Slam tournament since coming out of retirement. The US Open starts Monday, August 31.
Babolat, leading manufacturer of tennis racquets, welcomed tennis star Kim Clijsters to New York City for the U.S. Open. Just days before her first Grand Slam appearance since 2007, Clijsters posed for pictures with Eric Babolat, president and CEO of Babolat, at the iconic Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
With the picturesque Manhattan skyline as the backdrop, Eric Babolat personally welcomed Clijsters back to professional tennis. "We have been working together since 1999 when Kim was only 16 years-old. She's a player with outstanding athletic and personal qualities. Our relationship is based on mutual trust. We are very glad to be with her for her comeback on the Tour," said Eric Babolat.
Today, Kim Clijsters will make her first Grand Slam appearance since pausing her professional career to devote time to her family. According to Babolat, Clijsters is returning with her familiar Babolat Pure Drive racquet in hand, strung with Babolat's VS Natural Gut.
Clijsters expressed that "Babolat has always supported me during my career. When I made the decision to go back to competition, there was no question for me, it would be with Babolat. It's great to feel the sensation of my Pure Drive again!"
Photo: Dinara Safina (RUSSIA, #1 WTA)
Photo: Andy Roddick (USA, #5 ATP)
Inventor of tennis racquet strings 134 years ago in Lyon, France, Babolat is among the world leaders in tennis racquets. Today, the brand includes a complete tennis offering for competition and club players alike: racquets, strings, shoes, bags, and accessories. Babolat equips 20% of the top 100 players in the ATP and WTA including Rafael Nadal (Spain, #3 ATP), Andy Roddick (USA, #5 ATP) and Dinara Safina (RUSSIA, #1 WTA).
September 13, 2009
Kim Clijsters Wins U.S. Open Women's Title
Kim Clijsters of Belgium, who won the U.S. Open women's title in 2005 before taking a sabbatical from tennis, defeated Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 7-5, 6-3, in the women's final on Sunday night (September 13, 2009) to reclaim the title.
August 28, 2009
Ford Taurus 100-City Tour
Photo: Mark Fields, Executive Vice President, Ford Motor Company Showcases 2010 Ford Taurus at New York Stop of 100-City Tour.
Mark Fields, executive vice president and president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company, is in New York Friday, August 28, to showcase the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus for one stop of the company's 100-City Taurus Tour.
Mr. Fields kicks off the Taurus publicity tour in New York by giving a speech at the New York Press Club at in the Associated Press Conference Center.
"The new Taurus sets the pace for Ford's growing new car launch momentum," said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. "This sedan completely redefines expectations of what Taurus stands for - and helps further define what Ford is capable of delivering - quality, fuel-efficient vehicles featuring the latest technologies and head-turning design."
Mr. Fields is responsible for all operations involved in the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.
Source: Ford Motor Company
On Eve of The US Open, Tennis Icon Maria Sharapova Debuts Signature Fashion Collection by Cole Haan in New York City
Photo: Maria Sharapova unveils her new advertising campaign for Cole Haan.
Just days before taking the court for the US Open Championships, tennis star Maria Sharapova unveiled her Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan collection of handbags and footwear - at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Fans, tourists, and onlookers burst into cheers as Sharapova was introduced by celebrity MC Quddus on a specially constructed stage where Maria unveiled her new advertising campaign for Cole Haan.
"Everyone loves Maria. It's great to be working with her and adding a new dimension to Cole Haan's history," states Jim Seuss, Chief Executive Officer.
"It's my hope that other young women will embrace the spirit of the collection; it's fun, chic, fashionable and most importantly, able to take you from day to night," says Sharapova.
The Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan footwear collection, featuring Nike Air technology, includes a ballet flat, an ankle-wrapped stiletto, a flat over-the-knee boot, an ankle bootie and a strappy platform sandal.
Cole Haan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc., is a style and luxury brand offering handcrafted men's and women's footwear, accessories and outerwear.
Source: Cole Haan
July 23, 2009
APPEAL OF NEWLY LAUNCHED CAR MODELS HAS IMPROVED: J.D. POWER
Industry's top study measuring customer satisfaction in design, content, and vehicle performance.
Photo: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3.
The automotive industry achieves a three-year high in appeal for new and redesigned models, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
In 2009, the APEAL score for all-new and redesigned models averages 790 on a 1,000-point scale--11 points higher than in 2008 and 15 points higher than the 2009 score for carryover models. In addition, seven all-new and redesigned models rank highest in their respective segments, including the Dodge Challenger, Ford F-150 (in a tie), Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen CC and Volkswagen Tiguan.
"Most automakers are on track in terms of designing new models that are highly appealing," said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "The greater challenge for manufacturers lies in creating models that launch with both strong appeal and high quality, which ultimately lead to improved sales through greater customer loyalty and advocacy."
"Throughout the years, vehicle models achieving high APEAL scores have been shown to benefit from faster sales, less need for cash incentives and higher profit margins on each vehicle sold."
The average APEAL score for all models in 2009 has improved considerably to 779 from 770 in 2008, driven primarily by increased owner satisfaction with fuel economy. This higher satisfaction comes from three main sources. First, fuel prices have decreased significantly during the past year, which has reduced owner concerns about gas mileage. Second, owners are switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles--in 2009, more than one-half of all vehicles included in the study are powered by four-cylinder engines, compared with just 39 percent in 2008. Third, automakers are designing models to be more fuel efficient than their predecessors.
Photo: BMW X6M at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
"Although lower fuel prices and the switch to smaller vehicles have undoubtedly helped, there are also many individual vehicles that have made strong improvements in fuel economy ratings," said Sargent. "For example, the Ford F-150, Cadillac Escalade, Volkswagen Jetta and redesigned Dodge Ram have all made major strides in owner satisfaction with fuel economy through the introduction of more efficient powertrains."
In 2009, domestic brands comprise the four most-improved nameplates. Dodge posts the largest improvement, followed by Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac, respectively. In addition, the three most-improved models are from domestic manufacturers, including the Dodge Ram, Buick Lucerne and Ford F-150.
"Consumers have a great array of appealing vehicles to choose from by both domestic and import brands," said Sargent.
The overall gap in APEAL scores between domestic and import models has narrowed considerably during the past several years and is just five index points in 2009, compared with 15 points in 2008 and 27 points in 2007. Among premium models, import nameplates retain a slight edge, while among non-premium models, domestic brands have a similar edge.
Photo: All-New 2009 Audi Q5 Crossover Vehicle.
Photo: Hyundai all-new 2010 Genesis Coupe.
Volkswagen captures four segment-level awards--more than any other vehicle nameplate in 2009--for the CC, GTI, Passat and Tiguan. Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan each garner two awards. Ford receives model-level awards for the F-150 (in a tie) and Flex. Honda models receiving awards are the Odyssey (for a fifth consecutive year) and Ridgeline (for a fifth consecutive year). Mercedes-Benz earns awards for the S-Class (for a third consecutive year) and SLK-Class. The S-Class achieves the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry. Nissan receives awards for the Armada and Maxima.
Also receiving awards are the Chevrolet Avalanche (for a second consecutive year), in a tie; Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Genesis, MINI Cooper (for a second consecutive year); Porsche Cayenne (for a second consecutive year); and smart fortwo.
Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate in APEAL for a fifth consecutive year.
The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 90 vehicle attributes. The 2009 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2009 from more than 80,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2009 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the recently released J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.
Photo: Members of the Maxima launch team hold the banner as the first all-new 2009 Nissan Maxima rolls off the line at the Nissan Vehicle Assembly Plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
2009 APEAL Nameplate Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Porsche ------ 869
Jaguar ------ 859
Cadillac ------ 852
Audi ------ 846
BMW ------ 844
Mercedes-Benz ------ 841
Lexus ------ 837
Infiniti ------ 828
Land Rover ------ 822
Lincoln ------ 820
Acura ------ 818
MINI ------ 817
Volkswagen ------ 807
Buick ------ 801
Volvo ------ 793
Ford ------ 785
Dodge ------ 784
GMC ------ 784
Saturn ------ 779
Industry Average ------ 779
Honda ------ 778
Mazda ------ 778
HUMMER ------ 773
Scion ------ 772
Pontiac ------ 769
Nissan ------ 768
Mitsubishi ------ 767
Smart ------ 767
Chevrolet ------ 764
Hyundai ------ 763
Mercury ------ 763
Chrysler ------ 757
Toyota ------ 756
SAAB ------ 754
Kia ------ 748
Subaru ------ 738
Jeep ------ 727
Suzuki ------ 715
• Top Models per Segment
Highest Ranked: smart fortwo
Highest Ranked: MINI Cooper
Compact Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen GTI
Compact Premium Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Entry Premium Vehicle
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen CC
Midsize Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Dodge Challenger
Midsize Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Genesis
BMW 5 Series
Large Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen Passat
Highest Ranked: Nissan Maxima
Photo: Y'Anna Crowley, winner of BET's 'Sunday Best' Competition in front of the 2009 Lincoln MKS, Lincoln's Flagship Luxury Sedan.
Results from the study show the Ford brand improving by 17 points and moving up six rank positions among nameplates from last year. The Lincoln brand improved by 18 points and climbed two spots in the survey from a year ago. Mercury improved by eight points and Volvo's score increased by two points.
The Ford Flex and F-150, both segment leaders, scored better than the segment average in every category, performing especially well in fuel efficiency and exterior styling. Ford's new F-150 improved 52 points from last year and scored 16 points better than all redesigned trucks in this survey.
"Ford's quality rankings continue to climb consistently year after year and we intend to keep the momentum going to become the best in the industry," said Bennie Fowler, group vice president, Global Quality. "To do so, we're raising the stakes and redefining what it means to deliver a quality product by giving consumers more than just defect-free cars and trucks; we're exceeding their expectations with features they would expect to find only in high-priced luxury lines."
APEAL asks customers what they like about the performance, execution and layout of their new vehicle after the first three months it is in service. Customer's rate their level of "gratification" on a variety of vehicle attributes, including safety, fuel economy, cargo space and roominess, exterior styling and price.
Photo: 2010 Ford Fusion.
"At Ford, we are accelerating the development of vehicles customers will fall in love with at first sight and grow even fonder of over time," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "To deliver on that promise, our goal is nothing less than product excellence in design, feature content, safety and quality--all at an exceptional value."
Ford explains that since "gratification" is difficult to define and even harder to measure, Ford looked for new ways to understand how customers define it. Researchers combed through surveys, looked at historical trends and studied customer satisfaction rates. They spoke with people who recommended Ford to their friends, and to those who dismissed the brand out of hand. By discovering what makes customers feel good about their cars, Ford was able to develop a unique set of criteria that came to be known as product DNA.
"This strict set of guidelines is designed and built into every vehicle for a consistent feel and sound that is unmistakably Ford. Every Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicle, from sub compact cars to full size crossovers, is designed to evoke a positive emotional response from its owner."
This "emotional engineering", which focuses on the senses of sight, sound and touch, is helping Ford deliver vehicles that are satisfying to own and drive.
To ensure the company's quality criteria are met, Ford says it formed a Global Craftsmanship team of engineers who examine how harmoniously the vehicle is put together. "Like assembling a puzzle, the team analyzes every inch of the vehicle to check for gaps, mismatches or inconsistencies of all of the parts individually and as a whole. Their work is divided into four interior and exterior vehicle review categories: visual quality; touch and feel quality; sound quality, and illumination harmony."
Photo: 2010 Volvo XC60.
To add structure to its DNA strategy and increase customer satisfaction, Ford put its quality criteria into three categories:
• Basic quality - the fundamental reliability of a vehicle.
• Performance quality - includes attributes such as fuel economy and quietness.
• Excitement quality - those unexpected convenience features that surprise and delight the customers.
While continuing to improve on basic quality and performance quality, Ford has increased its focus on excitement quality - the parts of the vehicle that surprise and delight. According to Ford, "Excitement quality includes features ranging from seats specially designed for comfort, materials and surfaces that look good and feel right, interiors with ambiance and paint that flows like liquid across the vehicle's surface."
"When applying the three categories, it's never about either/or; it's all three," said Kuzak. "We're still consumed with basic quality, but we're now also very focused on providing appeal and excitement."
"Creature comforts, good fuel economy, elegance, style, durability and quality craftsmanship, all come together to complete the ownership experience." says Ford.
Sources: J.D. Power and Associates and Ford Motor Company.
"FORD ADVERTISING: Now, when the advertising of its domestic competitors is low-key (they have just emerged from bankruptcy), Ford Motor Company is in an advantageous position to strike in North America and consolidate its nameplates and brands."
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