BMW's The Urban Driving Experience Challenge

, , ,

BMW teamed up with Local Motors, an online community dedicated to mobility solutions, to crowdsource the search for new mobility trends and solutions that could be integrated in BMW and Mini vehicles in 2025.

Here is the intro trailer emphasizing BMW’s leadership role when it comes to automotive innovations:

Here the design brief video from BMW:

Learn more about the competition here:

The submission phase has just ended, now it is the crowd’s turn to vote for the most innovative and promising submissions until 23 October 2012. The winner will be announced 31 October 2012.

Sounds like an interesting competition and from a first glance at the submissions more than 400 ideas and concepts have been entered. Quite a good result in my eyes. I do not know how and where this competition was advertised (I only read abot it in an automotive blog) but looking at 400 submissions the right audience was reached via adequate channels and platforms.

Take a look at the submissions now and register to vote.

Will the Alfa return to the U.S.?

, ,


Fiat which took over Chrysler is considering the introduction of its premium brand Alfa-Romeo in the U.S.
As far as I can tell, Alfa-Romeo has a pretty good reputation in the States. People associate the vehicles with sportiness, passion, European technology and Italian passion. The fact that many sophisticated Americans are familiar with the brand is due to the fact that it was possible to purchase Alfa-Romeos until 1995 in the U.S.
Given the success of German premium brands such as the Mini, the small MiTo could definately meet some demand. However, Alfa-Romeo will definately remain a niche model as is the case in European markets such as Germany. A lot will thus depend on the cost aspect of selling this brand in the U.S.

Here is an article with further background information on the issue:

Name the Volt – GM asking the consumer to name the colors

, , , ,

After developing and marketing what promises to be the world’s first mass-produced extended-range EV, the folks at GM are too tired to come up with names for all the paint colors, so they’re asking for your help.

Apparently not satisfied with “kinda silvery and greenish” as a description of the exterior color of the pre-production Chevy Volt shown above, the General is asking for help from the general public to officially name the color for press and marketing materials. You can enter — and eventually vote — at

The three top vote-getters win a trip to the L.A. Auto Show, while first prize gets their own addition to GM’s paint codes and the chance to drive a pre-production Volt. Props to anyone who submits “Autopia Emerald.”

We’ve always driven home whatever color is on the lot — or whatever color our mom chose before she handed the car down to us. Still, for some buyers, color matters. According to GM’s Global Color and Trim guru Chris Webb, 39 percent of consumers “will walk out of a dealership and purchase from another brand altogether if they can’t get a vehicle in the color they desire.”

While the Volt looks good in the various shades of gray and black that the public has seen so far, we can’t imagine anyone turning down a car as eagerly anticipated as the Volt because they don’t like how the paint looks. Heck, we bet it would sell in Mary Kay pink with profane graffiti covering the hood. The Volt is about what is — and what isn’t — under the hood, not what’s covering the exterior.

Name the Volt’s Color, Win a Prize

Posted using ShareThis

GM's 60day campaign – revisited

, ,

The following article has been published by BusinessWeek Automotive Blog

GM’s 60-day guarantee seems to be working

Posted by: David Welch on October 14

General Motors encountered plenty of skepticism when the company launched a 60-day buy back guarantee on its new cars in September. Some critics said it wouldn’t get many shoppers to dealerships. One dealer told me that the program would only entice joy riders who want to take a Corvette for a month and bring it back, free of charge.

But so far, the program appears to be working. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters today that consideration is up 15%. That means that 15% more people are giving its cars a look., which tracks web traffic and vehicle consideration, confirmed Lutz’s figure saying it comes form the website’s own research.

And the joy riders? Lutz said that of the 150,000 vehicles sold at retail during the program, only a few hundred even opted to take the 60-day guarantee. And of those buyers, only one returned his car. It was a Corvette. But Lutz said the buyer decided he didn’t want the bother of a manual transmission. So he returned his ‘Vette for one with an automatic.


Ford focusing on consumer generated advertising (to increase authenticity?)

, ,

The following article has been posted by David Kiley on BusinessWeek’s „The Auto Beat“ and deals with Fords renewed focus on its 2007 „Drive One“ campaign where they invited consumers to try their cars and share their experiences with the rest of the country.

Advertising: Ford Turns Back To Owners To Tell Its Story

Posted by: David Kiley on October 08

Ford Motor Co. is sticking with its “Drive One” ad campaign launched in 2007, but infusing a little more emotion into the effort. But don’t expect to see people gushing on camera about their Ford.

The automaker is at an interesting crossroads. It clearly has momentum in the marketplace after being the only one of the three Detroit automakers to escape Chapter 11 and government bailout in 2009. Sales of Ford cars and trucks have fallen by 21% to 1.058 million units in the first nine months of 2009, but the brand’s market share rose to 13.5% from 12.5%. The Ford brand’s drop was less than the nation’s top-selling Toyota brand’s 26% drop in sales.

But there is a feeling inside the company that, despite the terrible economy and resulting calamity in the auto industry, Ford’s time is now.

For the past year, the company has been focused on pitching very rational messaging: fuel economy, quality, technology like its Sync telematics system. Ford’s top marketing executive Jim Farley says the strategy has been to keep giving the public rational reasons they need to consider, care about and buy a Ford.

As Ford’s own research shows, too few people associate the feelings of “cool” and “savvy” with the purchase of a Ford. It has to change that, and accelerate its efforts, if it is going to fully take advantage of the present weakness of GM, Chrysler and even Toyota.

The slogan, “Drive One,” has been met with a mostly tepid reaction from the public. It ties into CEO Alan Mulally’s mantra that he has driven into the company—“One Ford.” That refers to the idea every employee must embrace that it is one worldwide company and brand, not a portfolio of companies the way it used to be: Ford North America, Ford Europe, Ford Asia-Pacific, Jaguar/Land Rover, Volvo.

But there hasn’t been a lot of blood flowing to the campaign, or the slogan itself.

The new push on “Drive One” includes several interesting pieces. First, the automaker will begin this week running what will eventually become at least 45 15-second ads on TV and the Net which show real people engaging and talking about some aspect of a Ford. These ads will be overlaid the usual packet of 30 and 60 second ads for models, as well as dealer advertising.

The look, energy and voice of these 15 second ads seem just right. Ford has momentum both in sales and perception, and these very honest and engaging ads come off as breathing some new wind into the sails.

The article can be found at:

Some IAA 2009 Impressions

Today is Saturday and thus weekend. Me and some colleagues from Syzygy decided to visit the IAA in Fraknfurt today to get a hands-on impression of what’s new in the automotive industry. Working on automobile accounts, this visit was mandatory. On my way to the fair I wondered what the must-sees of this year were. And although firm in the automotive sector, there was no groundbreaking innovation I could think of. Maybe I might find out at site…

We got to the Messe Frankfurt quite early which made the visit of the Mercedes-Benz exhibition fairly pleasant. Not too many people. I will drop a few lines to the brands we visited:
-Mercedes: smaller than in previous years due to the fact that they did not use an entire level. The E-Class T-model and the B-Class F-Cell were among the major attractions. not to forget the SLS in red. As always, there was a good light show, a big screen but no ‚runwalk‘ this time. Interactive surface table were rather boring. Except for the one by Smart which was really quick.

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse T-Modell 2009

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse T-Modell 2009

Mercedes-Benz in der Festhalle

Mercedes-Benz in der Festhalle

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

-VW had all its cars displayed which barely leaves space for entertainment. All Cars were in white just as the Audis. Bmw did the same two years ago. As to the cars: the Multivan got a new more mean looking front. The Golf Variant was there with a minor facelift. The star may probably have been the new Polo which might cannibalize big brother Golf.
2009er VW Polo

2009er VW Polo

The Phaeton was praised as luxury car but no one really cared if you ask me.
-Seat: also present in the same hall as the rest of the VW family. Some sporty vehicles such as the Cupra versions and the new Exeo / former AF4. But in my eyes those Seats often look somewhat tiny when the tires are too small.
-Skoda: Nice Yetis running around.
Skoda Yeti auf der IAA 2009

Skoda Yeti auf der IAA 2009

The Yeti attracted young families as did the other affordable Skodas.
-Fiat: nice playful exhibition. Similar to sister Lancia which other than Fiat used more darker colors to support a touch of premium.


-Alfa-Romeo: a comparably large exhibition for this niche brand. All vehicles in alfa romeo red and the construction resembling children construction kits. Great job!
Alfa-Romeo Messestand

Alfa-Romeo Messestand

-Ferrari: much too crowded to get a peak at the new Ferrari
-Maserati: see above
-Hyundai: Hello ladies! I must admit, i have no clue whether the small Hyundai was a show car or regular model but the hostess presenting it surely received more looks than the car. In general, the exhibition was fairly big and loud. Sales in Europe are on the rise…
Hyundai mit deutlich größerem Auftritt 2009

Hyundai mit deutlich größerem Auftritt 2009

-Porsche: packed…
-Opel: new dynamics at Opel! Aside from the current turmoil about the future of Opel, the exhibition was well populated. The new Insignia Sports Tourer OPC was presented as well as the new Opel Astra. Big hopes lie on this car. From my point of view, it comes with modern design, efficient engines and decent quality. We’ll see how it performs vs. the Golf VI.
Opel Astra

Opel Astra

-BMW: Well well well! I did not believe when I read it, but BMW did in fact increase its budget for the 2009 IAA. No longer situated in the Agora, BMW Group’s brands BMW, Mini, and RR were now displayed in probably the newest building of the Frankfurt fair. Like a carrera round course, BMWs were driving on the first level while the vehicles were presented on the ground level.
BMW Messestand

BMW Messestand

The new Active Hybrid X6 and 7series were displayed as well as the new X1. In the center of attention was the new Efficient Dynamics show car.
BMW Efficient Dynamics Studie

BMW Efficient Dynamics Studie

BMW also presented BMW Performance, a new special equipment line which can be ordered aside from the M packages.
Mini, still the most fashionable of auto brands brought along its own DJs to celebrate its anniversary. Giant letters in black and white decorated the Mini area. The attraction here: the Mini Coupe show car! And simply the ambiente that also sets the Mini drivers apart from they rest: it is premium, it is stylish it is different.
Mini Messestand

Mini Messestand

BMW Sabbatical Program

Sabbatical at BMW is no innovation.
For more than 15 years, BMW has been offering its employees the opportunity to get the necessary distraction from the job. Time to recuperate, to get some time away from the complex medium called brand and to find to oneself. The result: new motivation, new joy at work and thus a more efficient employee.

Here is a link to a brief video at Video