Chicks and hot cars go together; Ruby Davis devised website for women and buying cars

  SupercarFocus.com144_zpsisqkc91eThe Female Power Behind the Wheel of the World’s Rarest Porsche 

BY GERRY MILES

Yes, hot cars and hot women have long been featured next to each other.

And even writing the above words makes me weary that someone will accuse me of not being “PC” and a sexist and more as the crazy world spins out of control.

However the following story came to be about Ruby Davis and accompanied by these fetching pictures of  this most attractive woman CEO and the car.

Ms. Davis, the CEO of ChickDriven has a penchant for luxury sports cars and showcasing them to the world. Davis recently had the pleasure of sliding behind the wheel of a 1994 Porsche 964 Turbo S Package Car, one of the world’s rarest Porsches…being one of but 17 ever produced.

With women fearing the car-buying experience and yet having a strong influence on what car is to be bought, Davis founded, and self-funded ChickDriven.com dubbed America’s #1 car website for women.

To create engaging content that can be appreciated by both women and men, Davis often test drives some of the world’s most luxurious and sporty cars — like Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces — and offers women insight to make them feel confident in the car world.

“I focus on producing a lot of video content that is fun and incorporates fashion and cars, which both men and women can enjoy. I take the jargon out of car buying and make it light-hearted and fun, something refreshing that the car industry needs. Cars are treated as such serious objects but to me, they’re accessories — you get to choose the color, trim and everything else, so why not have fun with it,” says Davis.

As America’s #1 car website for women, ChickDriven.com is dedicated to helping women navigate the often confusing and overwhelming experience of car buying. ChickDriven is leading the way with honest, informative car reviews, advice about auto financing and insurance, and other helpful tools to choose the right car.

chickdriven.com CEO Ruby Davis

chickdriven.com CEO Ruby Davis

After her own intimidating experiences by pushy car salesmen, Davis committed to creating a helpful resource with a trustworthy voice that would empower women navigating the car market.  Self-funding the business, ChickDriven.com is dedicated to helping women searching for their next vehicle to navigate efficiently the tricky and often intimidating car-buying process.

ChickDriven.com offers content, reviews and partnership opportunities; the site is also an effective way for automotive manufacturers to capture the attention of the all-important female market. ChickDriven’s advertising solutions include customized content creation to ensure that marketers’ messages are relevant and resonant with its audience.

 

Rolls-Royce gets ‘edgy’ with Bespoke ‘Black Badge’

“Black Badge is an attitude to life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that appeals to those people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. They are driven by a restless spirit. They play hard and they change the world. Technically and aesthetically Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding.

P90211831_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-

“Black Badge is an attitude to life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that appeals to those people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. They are driven by a restless spirit. They play hard and they change the world. Technically and aesthetically Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most commanding presence on the super-luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

 

BY GERRY MILES

Batman battled the Black Knight.

You could order a Model T in any variant if liked black.

The Rolling Stones had a famous song entitled, “Paint it Black.”

Carling Beer used to have a Black Label edition.

Cadillac employed Led Zepplin tunes to show they were edgy and not producing your grandpa’s motorized sofa any more. Until recently, they seem to have got it.

And now this: Rolls-Royce has its Black Badge, appealing to people who are risk-takers, disruptors, elusive and defiant.

Is this a borrowed offering from a Steve Jobs ad for Apple?

It’ll be hard to get the notion washed out of the gray matter than a Rolls is fitting for a trip to secure more Grey Poupon than a high-speed dash down the Merritt Parkway or hitting triple digits across the midwest’s open roads.

Rolls-Royce is edgy? Really?

Isn’t that like saying Mister Rogers called kids lazy, dumb and stupid to make a point he wasn’t all that nice? I just don’t know.

Maybe this is that fuzzy math that Ross Perot was talking about. Or is it common core where you add sideways?

Introduction

Sir Malcolm Campbell, Howard Hughes, Keith Moon, Yves Saint Laurent, Muhammad Ali and our own Charles Rolls to name a few. Young gentlemen in a hurry, driven by their restless spirits to change the world in their own way. Untrammelled by social convention, these disruptors lived life on the edge, believing the ultimate power to be self-empowerment, pushing every boundary to realise their personal vision. Glamorous and daring, they lived fast, worked hard and played hard.

P90211832_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Today’s generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers are just as uncompromising and unapologetic in their choice of living and lifestyle as their predecessors. They follow the road less travelled, live the unconventional life, darkly obsessed by their own pursuits and accomplishments from which they derive a pure adrenaline rush.

Their life is their entertainment, and they live it on their own terms.

And when the day is done, and the battle is won, these supremely confident people engage with the night, they go where it leads, and take all it has to offer as their just reward.

As demanding in their lifestyle as they are in their life pursuits, these highly-driven people insist on great substance from any symbol of their lifestyle. More and more, such individuals wish to demonstrate their success through a symbiosis between their life’s work and their chosen brands.

Over the last years, many such individuals have gravitated towards the revitalised Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as the brand most appropriate to encapsulate their truly individual lifestyles, much as their celebrated predecessors did in days past.

Always pushing their own boundaries, they have asked Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to do the same. Excited by the infinite possibilities that its Bespoke approach offers, they have asked the marque “to produce a Rolls-Royce like no other, a Rolls-Royce that not only appeals to, and projects, our sensibilities, but is fundamentally different – like us.”

The result is Black Badge.

An alter-ego for a new breed of customer

Rolls-Royce Black Badge speaks to the darker, more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic of these customers. As a truly Bespoke response to their desires, the interplay of brand and customer has had a transformative effect on the appearance and substance of Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith. The result is Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge.

“Today, I am announcing that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will create a permanent Bespoke series of motor cars for a group of young, driven, self-made people that will make a bold and edgy lifestyle statement about their lives,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “In an unprecedented collaboration with these new customers, Rolls-Royce has confidently created ‘Black Badge’, the ultimate in pure luxury style and engineering substance. Technically and aesthetically ‘Black Badge’ is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost; darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most powerful presence on the luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”

Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars commented, “In creating Black Badge, we were conscious of satisfying the different demands of these new customers. Not only did they demand an alternative image for themselves, they demanded authentic Rolls-Royce engineering substance to underpin it. As a result, the Black Badge Spirit manifests itself through a series of carefully considered design elements which together express a darker luxury sophistication. New material accents and tonalities are combined to accommodate the tastes of those fast-moving customers who adopt a strident approach to life’s finer challenges.”

The substantive transformation of an iconTogether with the Parthenon Grille, the famous Double R logo and the Spirit of Ecstasy are the very embodiment of the Rolls-Royce brand. However, these treasured symbols of the marque have been willing to change their identity in appropriate circumstances before.

For example, in 1933, in a move that signalled the truly Bespoke nature of the company from an early stage, Sir Henry Royce himself changed the Double R badge from the traditional Red-on-Silver to Black-on-Silver to ensure it would not clash with the paintwork colour choice of high-profile customers including the then Prince of Wales.

The iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine has, over the years, also gone through a number of iterations both in design and materials used. She has been large and standing, kneeling and inclined forward to indicate higher performance; she has been made of gold, silver, crystal and stainless steel, and has been bejewelled, lit and uplit.

Now the Spirit of Ecstasy and the iconic Double R lead the way once more as Rolls-Royce enters the alternative reality of ‘Black Badge’. On the surface of it, both Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge go through a very similar transformation.

The transformation begins with the ‘Flying Lady’ who changes neither in design, posture nor material, but in colour to represent the owner’s dark obsession. She mutates into a high-gloss black vamp, proudly scything through the night-time cityscape. The transformation pervades the other iconic symbols of the Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge. The Double R badge on the prow, flanks and aft of every Black Badge motor car invert to become silver on black, whilst chrome surfaces such as the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes, turn dark.

The power of Black Badge communicates itself into the ground through new composite carbon fibre and lightweight alloy wheels unique to each Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge commissioned. Developed by Rolls-Royce over four years, the new wheels feature 22 layers of carbon fibre laid in three axes, and folded back on themselves at the outer edges of the wheel rim to provide 44 layers of strength. Further strength is added via the 3D forged, aircraft-grade, aluminium hub which is bonded to the rim using aerospace strength titanium fasteners.

Black Badge will bring the color black to new levels of intensity. The multiple layers of paint and lacquer that go into creating Black Badge Black are repeatedly hand polished – the most exacting painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color. The result is the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car surface.

However, as Bespoke is Rolls-Royce, clients will of course be able to specify whatever color they wish for the exterior color and interior leather color of their Ghost Black Badge or Wraith Black Badge.

Within Black Badge’s cabin: Advanced aerospace luxury materials and a sign of limitless possibilities await

P90211826_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Possibilities become limitless inside the Black Badge cabin as it is suffused with a darker re-interpretation of pure luxury, inspired by Rolls-Royce’s advanced materials and aerospace heritage.

The centrepiece of the Black Badge cabin is the aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing – material often seen on the surfaces of stealth aircraft. This futuristic material has been reinterpreted at Goodwood to become the world’s most innovative new super-luxury material.

To create this beautiful and innovative material, threads of aircraft grade aluminium just 0.014mm in diameter are painstakingly woven together before being bonded with carbon fibre. This surface material then has six coats of lacquer applied, is left to cure for 72 hours, after which it is hand-polished to a mirror finish.

In addition to the creation of this luxury material, the air vents on the dash and in the rear of Black Badge motor cars have been darkened through the use of Physical Vapour Deposition. This surfacing method is one of the few ways to colour metal whilst ensuring that the parts will neither discolour nor tarnish over time or through repeated use.

Set into the cars’ fascia is a newly created Black Badge clock whose hands are tipped in orange and whose face is adorned by the ‘Unlimited’ rating infinity logo that previously appeared in the celebrated Phantom Drophead ‘Waterspeed’, created in 2014 to celebrate the daring of world speed record champion Sir Malcolm Campbell. In common with Campbell, the Black Badge owner’s attitude to apparent limits is to challenge or ignore them, a trait celebrated by the ‘Unlimited’ logo.

The ‘Unlimited’ infinity logo is also embroidered on the Black Badge’s upholstery as black leather combines with vibrant colours of Tailored Purple in Ghost Black Badge and Cobalto Blue in Wraith Black Badge, delivering a more edgy feel to the cabin.

The final touch? The moody light cast from the black starlight headliner, and reflected around the cabin from the polished fascia, to create a darkly atmospheric ambiance.

P90211821_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Rolls-Royce engineering and technological refinements: The underlying substance of Black Badge delivered in subtly different ways

Each of the motor cars that host the Black Badge spirit are very different Rolls-Royces – unlike any Rolls-Royce before.

Launched in 2009 and refreshed in 2014, Ghost is no ordinary power – the most contemporary interpretation of a Rolls-Royce ‘limousine’ which attracts those wealth-creating entrepreneurs who like to drive as much as be driven. Introduced in 2013, Wraith is the ultimate gentleman’s Gran Turismo, a true driver’s car.

How to imbue these two fantastic motor cars with the spirit of Black Badge in an authentic manner without diminishing their original essence?

“Black Badge was a fascinating challenge for Rolls-Royce’s engineers. We were already dealing with pinnacle motor cars, referred to as the best cars in the world,” comments Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Engineering excellence and technology leadership have resided at the very heart of the Rolls-Royce brand for the past 112 years. Black Badge Rolls-Royces are no exception – indeed they carry this tradition forward. It was vital to us that the aesthetic appeal and promise of Black Badge Ghost and Black Badge Wraith be underpinned by superlative engineering. The cars could not be the same as each other while at the same time, they had to offer their owners something subtly yet substantively different from the host cars, delivering a more spirited and exhilarating drive but in a truly Rolls-Royce manner.”

In Ghost Black Badge it is important to ensure rear compartment passengers’ comfort by maintaining Rolls-Royce’s renowned ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Rolls-Royce engineers used the flexibility of the 6.6 litre V12 engine to make Ghost Black Badge a little more menacing. Subtle engine output modifications see power increase by 40hp (30kw) to 603hp (450kw) and torque by 60Nm (840Nm) compared to current Ghost, whilst upgrades to the 8-speed automatic transmission give Ghost Black Badge an added sense of urgency in how it delivers its power.

Intuitive Throttle Response, delivered by computerised smart electronics, carefully hones the response of the transmission. Beyond 25% throttle, the transmission transforms its character, holding gears for longer and shifting between 200rpm and 500rpm later, dependant on gear. Additionally, initiating a downshift requires 20% less heft on the throttle, making Ghost Black Badge react more quickly to driver inputs. Under braking conditions the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, providing the extra security of added engine braking thereby delivering a more spirited drive.

Suspension and steering changes, including the addition of new drive shafts, have ensured that Ghost Black Badge continues to deliver the most luxurious ride, with just that little bit of extra driver focus.

P90211820_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Wraith Black Badge was a completely different proposition.

Already the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the world at 623 hp, Wraith has always been the most driver-focused car in Rolls-Royce’s model range.

By combining an extra wave of torque (+70Nm) with the already existing high power output, a completely redesigned air-suspension set up, new drive shafts and uprated 8-speed transmission, Rolls-Royce has produced an even more driver-focused, agile Wraith, while at the same time preserving the intrinsic elements of the effortless Rolls-Royce Magic Carpet Ride.

Upgrades to the 8-speed automatic transmission injects a level of added urgency in how Wraith Black Badge delivers its power.

Intuitive Throttle Response also comes to Black Badge Wraith. From 25% throttle, the transmission holds gears for longer, shifting gear between 300rpm and 500rpm higher in the rev range, dependent on gear. Wraith Black Badge also revs all the way to 6,000rpm before each gear change when the throttle senses that it is at 80-100% open. This gives a more direct throttle response feeling during spirited driving with peak power available more of the time. In addition, with the Intuitive Throttle in its mid-range (c. 70% to 80%), the gearbox is instructed to adopt a faster shift pattern.

During deceleration or braking, the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, providing the extra security of added engine braking thereby delivering a more spirited drive.

The result is a tauter and slightly more physical driving-focus with significantly increased handling capability, a high degree of steering feedback and more neutral cornering characteristics. With its speed dependent steering adjustment, the car delivers a greater sense of security, even at high speeds as the weight of the steering adjusts to the speed of the car.

Always conscious of the safety of its owners and other users of the road, Rolls-Royce has also upgraded the brakes of both Black Badge models, increasing the diameter of the front brake discs by one inch for a swifter and more direct brake pedal response. As a final safety enhancement, Wraith Black Badge has been equipped with automatic LED headlights ensuring optimum night vision while scything through the dark.

#blackbadge

Kelley Blue Book names 2016 Best Family Cars

KBB.com Conduct Extensive Tests, Determine Vehicles that Best Fit Family Needs;
All-New Car Seat Section Details How Rear-Facing & Forward-Facing Child Seats Fit 

IRVINE, Calif.  – The vehicles deemed the 16 Best Family Cars of 2016 were announced today by Kelley Blue Book, http://www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. After extensive testing and evaluation, with a keen focus on safety, comfort, convenience, spaciousness for both passengers and cargo, and fit of various rear-facing and forward-facing child safety car seats, the KBB.com expert editors recommend their choices for a diverse group of vehicles that best meet the needs of today’s modern families.

“For two weeks’ time we drove, lived-with, folded-down-seats-of, paired-phones-to and installed-baby-seats-in each and every one of the contenders,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst of Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “We loaded cargo, contorted ourselves into third rows, watched movies on rear-seat screens, toted rowing teams to marinas – in short, we did everything that you and your family might do with a vehicle day-to-day. And we did all this with a certain sense of what a family needs and wants, since many of our testers are simultaneously parents of kids ranging from mid-twenties to newborn. So this wasn’t just a cursory exercise, but instead it drew heavily upon our family-car experiences, needs and wants.”

After extensively testing two dozen Best Family Cars finalists, the KBB.com editors decided upon a list of 16 vehicles that they feel are befitting the title Kelley Blue Book Best Family Cars of 2016. While 16 might seem like a high number, the goal is that these vehicles can be divided into logical subsets that will make each family’s new-car shopping much easier. The list contains three minivans, six sedans, three two-row crossover/SUVs and four three-row SUVs.

Kelley Blue Book’s 16 Best Family Cars of 2016

Vehicle Type  Year    Make       Model        Model’s Best Family Car Highlights

Sedan           2016    Honda    Civic         All-around great car, KBB.com’s Overall Best Buy of 2016, generous standard equipment, loads of safety features, cool new redesign.

Sedan          2016     Honda    Accord       Roomy, high-quality interior, added style and safety from recent refresh, solid drivetrain, good economy.

Sedan         2016      Kia         Optima       KBB.com’s Midsize Car Best Buy of 2016, stylish, feature-packed, family friendly.

Sedan         2016     Chevrolet Malibu       All-new redesign, additional safety and efficiency, comfortable and accommodating interior makes it easy to stay connected.

Sedan         2016     Chevrolet Impala       Roomy cabin and trunk, technologically sophisticated, contemporary looks, multiple drivetrain choices.

Sedan         2016     Hyundai  Sonata       Value pricing and class-leading warranty combined with solid resale value and refinement all can take on class leaders.

2Row Crossover/SUV

2016   Honda      HR-V           All-new nameplate in hot segment, surprisingly roomy second row, great for a small family in the city.

2016     Honda      CR-V            Versatile, enjoyable and practical, makes excellent use of space, one of the roomiest small SUVs available, enviable resale value.

2016     Subaru      Outback       Outstanding room for both passengers and cargo, benefits of both wagon and SUV, excellent AWD and capable off-roading abilities provide peace of mind.

Minivan

2016      Kia           Sedona           Style and function, modern interior, impressive available safety features at affordable price, less bulky feel compared to other minivans.

2016       Honda     Odyssey          Unparalleled combination of flexibility, seating, on-road dynamics/features, Wide Mode easily fits three car seats across 2d row.

2016      Toyota       Sienna             Versatile, flexible, capable, only minivan to offer optional AWD, high resale value and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for minivans.

3-Row Crossover/SUV

2016      Nissan       Pathfinder        Available around-view monitor, no child seat hassle with EZ Flex & Glide system, pitch-perfect on the road.

2016       Toyota        Highlander       Solid combination of comfort, quality, space and convenience features, unsurpassed level of powertrain choice.

2016        Honda        Pilot                Totally redesigned, “the family-friendliest midsize SUV in existence,” sophisticated suite of available driving technologies, all-star accommodations.

2016         Chevrolet     Tahoe             Truck-based SUV w/ towing/off-roading capabilities, recent redesign, various connectivity features, carries up to 9 people and gear.

In addition, all-new for the 2016 KBB.com Best Family Cars list, this year the editors took specific notes about how three different types of child safety car seats (a rear-facing infant seat, a convertible seat that can be installed either rear-facing or forward-facing, as well as a forward-facing booster seat) fit specifically into each of the vehicles on this year’s list. This section details helpful information for parents who have children of car-seat age (which typically is from birth through the elementary school years), including ease of installation, how leg room and passenger fit is affected in each vehicle when using various types of car seats, and more.

The KBB.com editors extensively tested 24 potential Best Family Cars contenders for 2016 over a two-week period. Runners-up for this year’s KBB.com Best Family Cars list included the 2016 Ford F-150, 2016 Ford Explorer, 2016 Hyundai Tucson, 2016 Kia Soul, 2016 Ram 1500, 2016 Subaru Crosstrek, 2016 Toyota Avalon and 2016 Toyota Camry.

Vehicle’s perception of reliability influence new car shopping: JD Power Auto Avoider Study

bug-used-car Consumers Likely Reacting to Negative Publicity about Recalls and Tech Failures

BY GERRY MILES

Okay, it “may” be a cliche that perception is reality, but new data is proving that it does matter and where retailers will hurt the most: in the showroom.

For the first time in nearly a decade, concerns about reliability have increased as a reason shoppers avoid certain models, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Avoider StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 13th year, examines the reasons consumers purchase, reject and avoid models in the marketplace when shopping for a new vehicle. The 2016 study measures shopping behavior among new-vehicle buyers who purchased during 2015.

B0G7Y4 Car dealership forecourt Miami Florida USA

Vehicle reliability has become a top consideration in deciding which vehicle to buy. This year, 55% of new-vehicle buyers cite reliability as a leading purchase reason—the third-most frequently cited reason after exterior and interior styling—vs. 51% in the 2015 study. Notably, as recently as 2013, vehicle reliability was mentioned by just 48% of new-vehicle buyers as a reason for purchasing. Reliability has also become a greater reason shoppers do not consider―or avoid―other models (17% in 2016 vs. 14% last year).

“Though vehicle reliability and durability have improved significantly over the years, they remain a vital consideration for consumers,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, quality practice, J.D. Power. “With so many auto recalls in the news and challenges with the introduction of new technology, consumers are even more attuned to the expected reliability of new vehicles. This impacts which models consumers avoid and which ones they ultimately purchase. Bad news can tarnish an automaker’s reputation in an instant, yet, can take years to build back up. Automakers need to convince consumers of the true reliability of their vehicles so it is not a reason to avoid selecting a particular model.”

According to Sargent, “concerns with vehicle reliability can also have a ripple effect on other aspects of vehicle consideration and ownership.” Study findings show that buyers who avoid models for reliability reasons tend to also have concerns regarding resale value, cost of maintenance and even safety.

As gas prices remain low, fuel economy has become a less frequently cited reason consumers select their new vehicle (51% vs. 55% last year). In fact, gas mileage has reached a five-year low as a reason to purchase a specific model. It is also cited less frequently as a reason to reject other models that were considered.

More than half (54%) of new-vehicle owners who replaced a vehicle buy the same brand or a brand within the same corporation, while 46% bought a vehicle from a different corporation entirely. Both premium and non-premium brand replacers say the top reason for not repurchasing the same brand is they “simply wanted to try something different.”

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“This is a major challenge for auto marketers,” said Sargent. “In the auto industry, building consumer trust, loyalty and advocacy is paramount to ongoing success. However, there are so many great vehicles available to consumers that merely satisfying your customers is simply the cost of entry. To truly succeed, automakers must keep their exterior and interior designs fresh, ensure competitive performance and fuel economy levels, offer an array of advanced technology and achieve an excellent reputation for vehicle reliability.”

Following are some of the key findings of the 2016 study:

  •  Top Reasons Shoppers Buy/Avoid a Vehicle: Exterior styling is the top reason shoppers buy a particular model (59%). It is also the top reason to avoid a particular vehicle (31%), followed by the vehicle costs too much and interior styling (18% each).
  • Perception of Reliability Weighs Heavily on Purchase Decision: Despite industry-wide efforts to improve reliability, the fact that reliability emerges as a key driver of purchase and avoidance underscores the importance of customer sentiment and perception in an environment of highly publicized recalls.
  • Car Buyers Doing Less Window Shopping: Since 2012, new-vehicle buyers are considering fewer models and shopping fewer dealers. On average, buyers physically shop only three models, one of which they buy.
  • Domestic Brands vs. European and Asian Brands: There remains a significant disconnect between perception and reality regarding the reliability of domestic brands compared with European and Asian brands. Avoidance of domestic models due to reliability concerns (24%) is nearly twice that of European (13%) and Asian (12%) models. In reality, the actual reliability of most domestic models is competitive with that of their import competitors.

The 2016 U.S. Auto Avoider Study is based on responses from nearly 26,500 owners who registered a new vehicle in April and May 2015. The study was fielded between July and September 2015.

Auto industry drives most intimate brand relationships

The four highest ranking automotive brands are: BMW, Toyota, Harley-Davidson and GMC.

NEW YORK — Four out of the top 10 most intimate brands are in the automotive industry, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2015 Report, which examines ultimate brand relationships.

“Automotive is the highest ranking industry across all three of our markets, the U.S., Mexico and the UAE. That’s pretty suggestive of the strong bonds people have with their cars and the ability of this category to connect with consumers,” stated Mario Natarelli, MBLM’s managing partner. “Car brands are more than one of our most significant purchases. They represent our sensibilities and our status in life. As important as these values are to consumers, fulfillment of the brand (how well it exceeds expectations, delivers superior service, quality and efficacy) remains a top factor. Recent experiences by brands like Volkswagen will likely have profound effects on the bonds with their consumers.”

In the auto industry, the top 10 is rounded out by:

  • Jeep
  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Chrysler
  • Honda

“With all the dramatic evolution in this category enhanced by technology and from trends like car sharing and autonomous driving, intimate brands will win in the long term,” added Natarelli.

This year’s report contains one of the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 52,000 brand evaluations across nine industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

Lego scale modeling goes big time

legoscale_sample_137BY GERRY MILES

If you’ve ever had to pick up the many pieces of Legos after a failed project you well know the burden and number of them that are staggering yet enable fertile minds to create real-life like renditions of landmarks, planes, trains and automobiles.

A book due out in September, “The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling” showcases intricate models of real vehicles that Lego fans have built.

In The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling (No Starch Press, $29.95, 204pp., Sept. 2015), authors Dennis Glaasker and Dennis Bosman, two veteran builders who have been scale modeling with LEGO since the 1970s, are releasing a stunning coffee table book for the legions of Lego fans everywhere.

legoscale_sample_060For the first time, 24 of the most talented LEGO scale modelers, who showcase models like the Tyr Viking, a four-foot-long ship constructed from more than 20,000 LEGO elements; a Caterpillar bulldozer complete with two motors; locomotives with lights, horns, operable doors, and smoke effects; United States military aircraft; a five-foot-long Peterbilt 379 and MAC end dump trailer; popular Toyota, Ford, and Volkswagen vehicles; Ferrari and Renault Formula 1 race cars; and Harley Davidson classic motorcycles and custom choppers show off their creations.

“What I love about LEGO scale modeling is that it’s so complex, you can always be improving your work,” explains Glaasker. “By choosing new subjects, and with LEGO’s continuous introduction of new pieces, there are always new challenges ahead; it’s an endless medium for exploration.”

According to No Starch Press founder Bill Pollock, “As we continue to develop art-quality books for serious LEGO fans, I’m excited to release this new book that, for the first time ever, highlights and unites the work of these incredible builders.”

legoscale_sample_018The Art of LEGO Scale Modeling will be available in bookstores everywhere this September.

Lexus unveils Hoverboard

The Lexus Overboard

The Lexus Hoverboard

BY GERRY MILES

With apologies to Marty McFly in “Back to the Future,” the hoverboard is here.

The Lexus Hoverboard that is.

What was pure sci-fi in the movie industry has come to life after Lexus has revealed a successful testing phase which took place in Cubelles, Barcelona.
MarkTemplin, Executive Vice President at Lexus International said: “Embarking on this project, we set out to push the boundaries of technology, design and innovation to make the impossible possible. With this project we call ‘SLIDE’, we collaborated with partners who share our passion for creating enjoyment out of motion. Even through combining our technology and expertise, we discovered making ahoverboard isn’t an easy process. We’ve experienced the highs and lows and have overcome a few challenges, but through mutual determination we have created a demonstration of our philosophy in design and technology to create Amazing in Motion.”The Lexus Hoverboard project began 18 months ago through a collaboration with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who specialize in magnetic levitation technology. Following extensive testing with pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran, in Dresden, Germany, the team were determined to push the hoverboard to its limits and conduct further tests within dynamic surroundings.”I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience,” said pro skateboarder and hoverboard test rider Ross McGouran.Since the Lexus Hoverboard was unveiled in June, testing has been carried out in a specially constructed hoverpark, combining elements from skate culture with technology within its architecture. Up to 200 meters of magnetic track was transported to Barcelona from the Dresden facility to lay beneath the hoverpark surface in order to create the dynamic test, offering Lexus the opportunity to demonstrate tricks no skateboard could ever perform, like travelling across water. Lexus has captured the final ride footage and released it as a film led by award winning director Henry-Alex Rubin.

The Lexus Hoverboard technology features two “cryostats”—reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets. Dr. Oliver de Haas, evico CEO, said: “The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track—essentially keeping the board hovering. This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board.”

The Lexus Hoverboard film called “SLIDE” features the high performance GS F and is part of the fourth project in the Lexus “Amazing in Motion” campaign series that showcases creativity and innovation from the Lexus brand.