Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

Fiat – “Engineered for a lower impact on the environment”

Fiat Crash

Clever. And infinitely more rewarding than the typical “we’re ‘green'” advertising. (Not sure the agency responsible). via Autoblog

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Thoughts on the death of Pontiac

It seems strange to mourn the loss of a brand. Especially one whose products I don’t purchase. But, I have a bit of a nostalgic soft spot for Pontiac. My dad has driven one my entire life.

Pontiac was always supposed to be General Motor’s “performance” division (or as the old slogan read “driving excitement”). Funny thing is, in the past few years it was hard to tell. Models like the Montana, the G3 and G5 (not to mention the oft-made-fun-of Aztec) were anything but exciting. The most interesting models coming out of GM recently all seemed to go to Saturn. The Sky and Aura exhibited more exciting body styling than anything issued by Pontiac. Or course it’s not like that fact has been a saving grace for Saturn.

Is the downfall of Pontiac due solely to losing focus on the brands “excitement” roots? I don’t know definitely, but I’d bet heavily that the answer is “yes”.

Although, in general, I’ve had issues with the build quality of GM’s for at least the past decade (specifically Saturn, Chevy and Pontiac; the divisions I’ve had personal experience with). The materials of GM vehicle interiors always struck me as sub-par. The plastics had a thin, flimsy feel and the center console controls seemed cheap. All these criticisms are based on comparisons with my own 2002 Volkswagen Golf GLS.

I really wanted to like Pontiac. But I understand “wanting” doesn’t translate into sales. I just hope that someday, someone is able to resurrect the brand. I absolutely love that arrowhead logomark. Delicious.

The names have been changed to protect…

Earlier this year, Ford announced that the (recently deceased) Taurus was making a comeback. The relatively poor-selling Five Hundred and Freestyle will be renamed Taurus and Taurus X (respectively) for the 2008 vehicle season.

I find this news interesting for a couple of reasons: First (and I have yet to find any record of this) I recall reading an article when the Five Hundred and Freestyle were originally released which discussed the efforts that Ford took in their design and feature set. As I recall, quite a bit of consumer testing was done to build vehicles specifically tailored to target demographics—the Five Hundred for retirement-age men and the Freestyle as an alternative for the Soccer Mom.

The second reason this news strikes me as interesting is the corporate mentality of the decision. Ford is banking on the memory of the Taurus name to overcome any shortcomings these vehicles currently have. I find it highly unlikely that sales of the Five Hundred and Freestyle are slow due to the way these two vehicles have been named.

With all of the pressure that Ford is seeing from competitors overseas, they need to work on offering products that reach the hearts, minds and wallets of the American consumer. The Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle were designed by consumer research. Renaming them won’t magically fix any issues the buying public has with the vehicles.

How does that saying go? “A rose by any other name…”