Car Companies Now Target New Tech Features

Apple, Google and Tesla have added new features to the everyday car that allow it to stand out to target consumer.

Targeting techies is an important marketing strategy for automakers, according to a study released today by J.D. Power.

The company’s 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report — Summer edition found that 30 percent of new-vehicle drivers cited their vehicle’s latest technology as a reason for purchasing.

J.D. Power has released the report twice a year since 1987, but this is the first time respondents were asked about technology features as a reason for purchase.

Among luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 43 percent said cutting-edge technology features influenced their purchase. Lincoln, Infiniti, Cadillac and Audi drivers had the highest proportions of respondents who cited technology features as a reason for purchasing.

Among non luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 28 percent were looking for the latest technology. Mazda, Buick and Chrysler drivers were the most interested in technology when deciding on a vehicle.

“Targeting these technology seekers with the right messaging is critical to using marketing dollars effectively to reach consumers who will actually buy new vehicles because of technology,” Arianne Walker, J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive media and marketing, said in a statement today.

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New 3D Printing Shop by Ford Designs Molds of F150’s

Ford has created a first for automotive shops with their new 3D store. Customers are now able to create their own 3D models of the classic F150 trucks. You are able to customize the truck to your desire or choose of the thousand other models already created.

Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site, which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.

According to a news release the company sent me: “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV road trip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.

According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.

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What To Do If Your Car Knocks, Ticks Or Squeals

Each tick, knock, grind or screech that your car makes is its way of telling you that something is wrong. By ignoring these noises, simple issues can begin to grow. Find out what each sound means so that you can fix it quickly.

 

You hear a high-pitched squeal that stops when you shut off your engine: Readjust or replace the belt. These belts should have about half an inch of play and shouldn’t be frayed, cracked, or glazed on the underside.

 

You hear a continuous high-pitched sound that may continue after the engines shut off: Check the radiator pressure cap. The rubber gasket may be worn.

 

Something ticks rhythmically while your engine idles: Shut off the engine, wait ten minutes for the engine to cool and the oil to settle, and then check the oil level. If you have enough oil, have a mechanic check the valve adjustment.

If you hear a loud tapping or knocking sound in your engine, pull to the side of the road and call for road service. The source may be a loose rocker arm or carbon buildup inside the engine, but if it’s a loose bearing or a faulty piston, it can destroy the engine.

Mild knocking or “pinging” may be the result of using fuel with the wrong octane rating.

 

You hear the engine running after you turn off the ignition: Your engine is dieseling. This condition only happens to cars with carburetors. It is usually caused by an idle speed that’s set too high or excessive carbon in the combustion chamber.

 

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Decrease in the Fuel Economy Means Better Prices at Dealerships

The insanely low gas prices seemed like a miracle to everybody this winter, however the gift continues far beyond the gas station. What many drivers don’t realize is that the price of gas, the cost of a new car and the deals you receive with it actually go hand in hand.

Since the price of gas was so low car drivers everywhere are saving on gallons a day, which means they have more money saved to invest in a new car. Car dealerships and makers receive more money per purchase due to the bigger budget, which usually means a bigger and more expensive car and invest that money in better deals, lower discounts and larger incentives on future purchases.

Of course dealers and carmakers do not always put every penny of their new-found riches into the deal-making side of the business. They also look to book healthier profits.

But with more money sloshing around in the system, notes auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, it is fair to expect a new wave of offers and enticements in the Canadian light vehicle marketplace. We are seeing this now.

There’s more to this story, too. Lower pump prices are acting as an economic windfall for the average car owner. DesRosiers estimates that the typical Canadian uses about 1,820 liter18s of fuel a year. A 30-cent drop at the pump puts $546 into the pocket of every driver – and nation-wide amounts to a $13 billion economic stimulus.

What we have here is a country of enriched drivers being chased by an army of dealers and manufacturers with more money to spend on incentives.

Read the full story here.

The New and Improved Volt

The Volt was considered a great vehicle for those who want to”go green” and still maintain some style.  General Motors will show the next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in at the Detroit auto show in January, Chevy’s top marketer said today.

Tim Mahoney, Chevy’s global chief marketing officer, disclosed the plans at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. He also revealed a teaser photo that showed the redesigned 2016 Volt’s rear badge and a more sculpted decklid.

The next-gen Volt is expected to arrive in showrooms sometime in late 2015. GM will add a third seat in the rear and downsize to a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, from the current 1.4-liter four-cylinder, sources have told Automotive News.

GM has sold more than 65,000 Volts since it went on sale in December 2010, making it the top selling U.S. plug-in car, GM said in a statement today.

Still, sales volumes have fallen short of the company’s initial expectations. Former CEO Dan Akerson had initially projected production of 60,000 Volts in 2012 alone.

This year through July, GM sold 10,635 Volts, down 9 percent from a year earlier. Sales dipped 2 percent last year, to 23,094.

GM said nearly 70 percent of buyers who trade in another vehicle for a Volt are coming out of non-GM brands, which is a high conquest rate. The majority of those trade-ins are Toyota Prius hybrids, GM said.

The Volt is powered by energy from its 435-pound battery pack for an estimated range of 38 miles. Once the charge is depleted, the gasoline-powered engine kicks on to power the electric drivetrain.  With this next generation keep the Volt on top?

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Auto Recyclers Looking to National Program for EOLV’s

Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) is calling for a national approach to the environmental management of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) in Canada.

In a submission to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, ARC notes that although ELV processors are subject to a number of provincial and federal requirements, ELV management practices are highly variable.

“The lack of common processing standards for ELVs is significant,” the ARC submission states. “While used parts and scrap metal values are driving high recycling rates, ELVs also include a number of substances of concerns that incur costs when properly removed.

Read the full article here.