Media Schedule for NAIAS 2018

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Well its that time again where we get all dressed up to go to North American International Auto Show. Its going to be cold, and not because of the weather either. This years schedule looked thin, I mean short. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have a lot to write about. Since the internet has turned into the place to showcase new products, the show might as well be virtual. Take a look below and you will see what I’m talking about

 

A New Way to Lease

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Subscription Service as the new leasing option for Volvo

Volvo recently announced that it is offering a subscription based service for owners. Basically for the low price of around $600 dollars you have access to a 2019 Volvo XC40. With a 2 year commitment, your vehicle comes with insurance and maintenance, the driver responsibility will just be to pay the taxea, registration, and gas. Now I wonder how this would work in Michigan, where the insurance rates are among the highest in the country. I’m curious to know if this would be reflected in the price. Just because it starts at $600 doesn’t mean it will end there. Hopefully will learn more about the concept in the weeks to come.

View From the 2017 Los Angeles Show

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Nissan Titan (Star Wars Edition)

Nissan introduced the customized Nissan Titan following the Star Wars theme from the Rogues last year. From marketing this is becoming a recurrent theme especially when it appears that there isn’t a shortage of Star Wars movies. Living in Michigan, this is the most appropriate look for this time of year. I wish that would have been shown in Detroit.

The new Nissan Kick is another story. The 2018 compact SUV is short on the concept of utility. More suited as a crossover the lack of all wheel drive as an option will make the potential customer look elsewhere if all purpose utility is a must.

Mercedes Benz CLS

Mercedes Benz introduced the new CLS. The popular 4-door coupe has always been a sleek offering from Mercedes. The new CLS boasts the new 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine with about 360hp

View From the 2017 Los Angeles Show – Part 2

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto show Global

Subaru Ascent

The new 2019 Subaru Ascent is a 3-row offering, which is a switch from the traditional small offering from Subaru. Incredibly large from what Subaru customers come to expect, Subaru is riding the wave of increased growth in sales from it product line. The look of this is extremely refined compared to some of the other 3-row SUV/Crossover products from other manufacturers.

Volvo XC

Volvo introduced the new XC40, this should pair well the new subscription service that is being offered next year. The compact SUV will be loaded with safety features that Volvo customers have grown to appreciate. The all-wheel drive vehicle offers 2-tone paint along with white painted wheels, and other neat features such as convenience hooks in the interior for things like carry-out food or groceries.

 

 

Highlights from L. A. Auto Show

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

New 2018 Jeep Wrangler

The new Jeep was unveiled at the L.A. Auto show. Even through pre-show internet buzz (the owners’ manual, with pictures, made it online) caused a brief stir among enthusiasts, the 2018 Jeep wrangler was a hit. It shows to be a creative blend of Jeep tradition and technology. New powertrains including those shared with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio reduce weight without sacrificing performance. With a smaller turning radius and the use of lighter weight materials is an additional plus to the Jeep fan base. The Wrangler has also improved the driver experience with the process of removing door and roofs from the Wrangler for the open air effect, Interior enhancements show the Jeep Wrangler to be more user friendly and less utilitarian.

Welcome to L.A.–2017

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

The Los Angeles Auto Show is upon us again. The show brings us offerings from Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and others. The new challenge for the LA show will be the paradigm shift that the automotive world is seeing with the growth of autonomous vehicles, alternative energy propulsion, and new technology, AutoMobility is coming to L.A. Expect to see 3D printed technology on display as well as new manufacturing technology. Let the Show Begin.

A view from Frankfurt

Featured

By Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Two words “Borgward Isabella” the concept 4 door coupe was unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show. The 4-door coupe electric car concept is stirring some automotive emotions as the idea of such a car could possibly hit the German market in the future.

Design Director Anders Warming, is inviting us to enjoy the surface entertainment that this car delivers. Ironically enough this looks like something that Warming would design, I have spent some time working with him in past and understanding his design philosophy, the Isabella Concept interior and exterior captures that.

Are The Auto Shows The Next Thing to Hit The Internet?

Featured

By Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Last week, Auto Week magazine reported that at least 8 auto manufacturers have pulled out of the Frankfurt Auto show next month. For some this is a beginning to an end of the auto show circuit as we know it, but it may be a sign of the changing times of media reporting of new automotive products. It’s nothing new, this trend has been evolving for the last couple of years, but now it seems everyone including the media is starting to take notice.

Automakers are trying to leverage the bang for the buck. We started noticing the trend years ago when luxury brands such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Aston martin, and even Porsche, stop showing up and the (NAIAS) North American International Auto Show. Typically, back then, if there wasn’t a new product to unveil for that year or the market wasn’t as beneficial to the automaker, they would just skip the show.

Now that the automotive market has become more saturated and competitive, and automakers are leveraging virtual press releases through the internet, we are seeing more and more no-shows at the auto shows. The true winners in this new scenario have become the automakers. The reveals are more stand-alone than in the typical auto show schedule where there is a press conference every 15 minutes and the new product is a good as the next venue that is serving alcohol, expresso, and pastries after their press conference.

Because of the integration of technology, the (CES) Consumer Electronics Show has taken away some of the shine from NAIAS at the beginning of each year. Alternative venues and events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. is attracting auto makers, as the Texas State Fair is becoming popular for its market. The virtual press conference with multimedia press releases have leveraged the reach of the internet and social media to create the 15 minutes of fame on any given day, without having to share the day with any other auto maker.

Media event budgets are looking at a substantial cost savings. The displays are getting smaller, brands are targeting competition instead of being housed under one umbrella. The web-based press conferences have reduced the amount of money spent on actual travel and set-up. Limiting product exposure to relevant markets allows automakers to get more mileage from the core product to the core customers. Not only that, the extra space allows little known brands or technologies become part of the show as well. This past show at NAIAS was a notable example of leveraging, with a more technology focused show.

Peugeot, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Jeep, Infinity, Nissan, and DS will not be at the Frankfurt show, I’m not losing any sleep over that. What makes me restless is that the complexion of the auto show circuit is changing, largely in part as to how we receive information and respond to it. Our habits are starting to change when it comes to access to information. I’m still restless at autonomous vehicles, A.I, data collection, and just the loss of interaction among human beings. Virtual press conferences take the place of one on one interviews, product interaction and touch. Technology tells us what to do and speaks our mind. The price of convenience, the cost of market share, what happens if the auto show goes away? The answer may well be, see you at the next electronics or special interest venue or maybe YouTube.

Happy Anniversary to the Lincoln Navigator

Featured

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

     This year we celebrate the release of the Lincoln Navigator. Heralded as the largest luxury SUV at its debut, it sent Cadillac into a design tail spin just to rebadge a GMC Yukon Denali. Of course, Cadillac claims the Escalade was designed in a under 10 months, but anybody with good design sense could see that GM and Cadillac clearly were caught with their pants down and was forced to rebadge a GMC.

     At the time, the Lincoln Navigator was released, I was working for Ford. In 2000, GM design had an opportunity to redesign the Escalade, and then I was working for GM in Cadillac. All I can say is that product cycle for the Cadillac was the beginning of the of the end of the large luxury segment dominance of Lincoln and the Navigator.
     Ford spent so much money structural architecture and sheet metal sharing between the Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition, and F-series pick-ups, the Navigator began to grow long in the tooth. Ford began to place resources in other truck programs such as the Ford Excursion, F-350 series, Explorers, Sport-Tracs because they were proving to be profit builders. In the meantime, General Motors was creating a very strong iconic product portfolio that would be one of the face of Cadillac. General Motors was focusing on brand identity and product placement among its crowded and sometimes redundant portfolio, but Cadillac was coming in on its own terms. In the meantime, Ford was looking at putting products in every incremental segment while trying to create new ones, all at the whim of marketing, while slowly and unintentionally, letting Lincoln slip away.
     In 2002, the all-new Cadillac Escalade debuted, and literally snatched the luxury full size SUV crown from Lincoln. It was weird watching it all unfold. I had worked on the new Escalade and the old Navigator, and I knew Ford’s product cycle for the Navigator was weak, even with the minor enhancements, it wasn’t going to be enough to keep Cadillac from coming at Lincoln. Furthermore, Cadillac had a whole new portfolio of products to back up the brand, and Lincoln was losing its footing fast.
     Fast forward. hip-hop music, celebrity influencers, and athlete endorsements favored Cadillac. Virtually reference came to benefit Cadillac and passively promoted Cadillac as the premiere brand in the eyes of the customers. Lincoln’s mid-cycle enhancements could not keep up with the new updates from Cadillac. The Lincoln Navigator had always looked heavy and over-bodied, while the Cadillac Escalade was getting more and more athletic looking. The Navigator’s front ends kept getting uglier with more chrome and bars as Lincoln was searching for its new identity. Interior enhancements didn’t pacify the dated exterior. Design management shake-ups, and even recruiting and hiring former Cadillac design management could not resuscitate Lincoln. For almost 20 years Cadillac has dominated the large luxury SUV market.
     Next year may be different. Lincoln has changed its branding strategy which has become popular among car enthusiasts. With the return of the Continental, Lincoln is finally beginning to make sure the product line looks consistent. The Lincoln Motor Company looks as though it is poised for a hostile takeover with the new Navigator. Let’s hope the 20th anniversary leads to 20 more years of fierce competition between Cadillac and Lincoln once again.

My New Car Experience-Part II, The New Chevy Cruze

Featured

By Jenny Haddo, Auto Sow Global

We’re back again with another installment of the Adventures of Jenny’s Cruze. It has now been a couple of months since I’ve had my Chevy Cruze and I love it more every day. It makes me feel safer with every drive. Even though it has only been a couple months, it feels like I parted with my Saturn a year ago.

Some great features the Chevy Cruze has that my Saturn did not are mostly technological. I love Apple CarPlay. My Saturn had a CD player which was great since I was a CD buyer, but after a while I would get sick of the same CDs, even the ones I made. With Apple CarPlay I can stream my music from Pandora, or any other application for music. I can even put on podcasts if I choose to. With hands free calling, when someone calls me I just have to hit answer on the dashboard, and when I’m talking I don’t have to raise my voice for the other person to hear me. OnStar gives me messages once in a while regarding my service with them and provides directions when I need them. My screen tells me when there is ice on the road and when to take caution.

I was super pumped to have Wi-Fi in my car for the first month, but it was only free for the first month. The ride and handling on the Chevy Cruze is very smooth compared to my Saturn. The Chevy Cruze doesn’t sound clunky when I drive like I did with my Saturn. By clunky I mean when you’re driving on a bumpy road and you feel like your car will fall apart at any second, and you can hear everything that is wrong with your worn-down vehicle. I feel a lot more confident driving on bumpy Michigan roads in my Chevy Cruze.