VW/Google SmileDrive app tries to put fun into your drive

SmileDrive screen

SmileDrive screen

BY GERRY MILES

Do we really want need a happy automotive app?

VW of American and Google think so.
The two have launched an Android-device enabled app alleged to promote fun and more smiles on every trip. Hey, I didn’t write that, they did. In its beta version, SmileDrive™ is ready for download exclusively in the Google Play store (www.play.google.com/store).“A lot of time is spent in the car today, whether it is for the daily commute to work or setting off with friends and family on a weekend camping trip,” said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing at Volkswagen of America. “We wanted to provide a way for consumers to add a little more flare to their road trips and a way to share the good times in their VW’s with their friends.”

SmileDrive connects to a user’s car—any kind of car—through Bluetooth® wireless technology, and runs in the background to track data for both everyday commutes and road trips. After a drive is complete, the app uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and with “virtual stickers,” for unique accomplishments.

The app has re-imagined the classic “PunchDub” game, allowing people to collect “punches” each time they see a V-Dub, using the app. Drivers cannot interact with the app, or get notifications, while the car is in motion.
Roadtrips using SmileDrive can be catalogued via photos, maps, status updates on to what is called a Smilecast: think Facebook for a VW trip with a VW app and you’re on the right page. The travels are collected on a single URL that be later be shared with friends or family.SmileDrive was conceived as part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on reimagining brand experiences for the connected world. “We’re exploring how brands can connect to consumers through a whole range of digital tools, whether that’s through ads, mobile apps, or experiences,” said Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead at Google.

SmileDrive Features

SmileDrive: Where's My Car

SmileDrive: Where’s My Car

• Seamless Sharing – The app is linked to the user’s Google+ account and friends can be invited to follow these trips online, commenting on photos and posts along the way. Everything recorded is shareable, should the user choose.

• Smilecast – Friends can either be invited to join along in the car via Google+, or watch the journey on the web. At the end of the trip, the driver receives a brief video compiling the highlights of their trip, which can then be shared with friends and family.

• Stickers – Users can earn fun, virtual bumper stickers when they unlock special achievements, such as the “Night Owl” sticker for late night drives. These can be shared on any social network.

• Punches
 – Users can play a re-imagined version of the classic “PunchDub” game. When two Volkswagen SmileDrive users encounter each other en route, the app will register a “virtual punch”.

• Smile Score – At the end of each drive, SmileDrive calculates the number of points earned while on the road. Points are a function of the number of punches, stickers earned, traffic conditions, weather, and more.

• Find My Car – By logging the vehicle’s last position, SmileDrive can help users find their car via Google Maps, and receive corresponding walking directions when available.

• Bluetooth® wireless technology – Through pairing the app with the car, drives are automatically recorded when the user starts and stops the vehicle. If the car doesn’t have Bluetooth technology, the app can be manually started and stopped before driving begins.

The app requires compatible Android device. Standard data rates apply.

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Madden NFL 25 to feature GMC vehicles

The 2014 GMC Sierra Denali in-game of EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 coming August 27.

The 2014 GMC Sierra Denali in-game of EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 coming August 27.

First-ever vehicle integration in football video game’s 25 years

Feature 2014 GMC Sierra pickup, Yukon, Acadia, Terrain

BY GERRY MILES

 On the eve of NFL training camps opening up, GMC, already the the Official Vehicle of the NFL, scored a coup and a marketing touchdown to become the official vehicle of EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25.  The 25th anniversary edition of the popular video game goes on sale  Aug. 27.

Fans will have the opportunity to complete a hand-picked GMC Collection of Professional Grade players, which can be found through the purchase of Madden Ultimate Team packs.

Various GMC vehicles will appear at various points during the game, including after a Super Bowl victory when the MVP receives a vehicle as part taking top honors.

GMC will become the official vehicle of EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 coming August 27.

The GMC Official Vehicle of the NFL logo, vehicle imagery and other branding will be displayed on scoreboards and in the advertising around select stadiums.

During the NFL season, GMC selects a “Never Say Never Moment of the Week,” the moment that best demonstrates a combination of impressive athletic performance, intelligence and preparation. Each moment will be made available to replay in-game at regular intervals throughout the season. Replays require an Internet connection and an Origin Account required to play. Account creators must be at least 13 years old.

GMC's “Never Say Never Moment of the Week” can be downloaded and re-enacted in EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 coming August 27.

GMC’s “Never Say Never Moment of the Week” can be downloaded and re-enacted in EA SPORTS Madden NFL 25 coming August 27.

From now until August 1, an online sweepstakes will give Madden NFL fans a chance to win tickets to EA SPORTS Tiburon studio in Orlando, Fla., to meet the programmers and test the game before it’s released. The winners will be driven around town in the all-new 2014 GMC Sierra full-size pickup. Contest details are at www.GMCMadden.com/NFL.

“GMC’s association with professional football is rooted in the common bonds of strength and determination,” said Sandra Moore, director of GMC Advertising and Sales Promotions. “Our new Madden integration allows us to show that we’re a technologically savvy brand as well.”

GMC vehicles today are designed primarily in the digital space using advanced computer-aided design programs. The brand’s designers provided EA SPORTS with files used to design real vehicles to develop those seen in the game.

Many GMC model with a rear seat entertainment system, using integrated audio/video ports,  can connect a video game system to play Madden NFL 25 while riding in one of the vehicles featured in the game.

Dodge dishes on 2 Dart special edition packages

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

  • New Dart SXT and Limited model “Special Edition” Packages and new Rallye
  • Appearance Group make ordering popular class-exclusive Dart features a snap
  • New Dart SXT Special Edition package includes a black cross-hair grille, projector fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth and class-exclusive features, including dark-tinted projector headlamps, LED racetrack tail lamps, integrated dual exhaust and front passenger seat in-seat storage for a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $595
  • New Rallye Appearance Group lets buyers customize their Dart SXT Special Edition and includes a unique dark front fascia, Rallye badge and class-exclusive 17-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels for a U.S. MSRP of $395
  • New Dart Limited Special Edition package adds a power sunroof, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic temperature control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and class-exclusive features, including LED racetrack tail lamps, premium Nappa leather seats and Garmin Navigation on the 8.4-inch touch screen for a U.S. MSRP of just $1,810
  • Dart continues to build awareness – it has recorded five consecutive month-over-month sales records to date
  • Dart attracts the youngest demographic in the compact car segment; 60 percent of buyers are new to the Chrysler Group
  • Dodge Dart tops compact car segment in total quality, according to Strategic Vision Total Quality Index
BY GERRY MILES
I’ve not been a fan of “special editions” in the past because they usually add a few different seat cloth selections, three different hubcaps, a spoiler on the trunk (now called the rear deck lid), a few more spiffs on the instrument panel and a higher price tag. Sometimes car makers did create a more fun to drive, kick in the pants ride for the extra greenbacks they pulled from your wallet. Other times, it was simply perfume on a slow-selling pig.
Dodge has announced what appears to be a clear departure from past history with three models of its 2013 Dart with two special edition packages and one Rallye Appearance Group.
More importantly, the prices of these packages are quite reasonable and the listing of equipment is extensive and real. It seems that Dodge has gone out of its way to truly add value to a customer’s purchase.

“These new Dodge Dart Special Edition packages show how we’re listening to our customers,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “Since we launched the all-new Dart last June, we’ve been able to see how customers are ordering their Darts, and as a result, we have simplified our offerings to meet their requests – allowing us to offer them an even better value in the process.”

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition

The Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition features all the standard equipment on the SXT model, including a 2.0-liter 160 hp, Tigershark 4-cylinder engine, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, power mirrors, air conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seat, four-wheel independent suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels, unsurpassed 10 standard airbags and much more.

The $595 Special Edition package adds a black crosshair grille, dark tinted projector headlamps, projector fog lamps, LED racetrack tail lamps, integrated dual exhaust, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, front-passenger seat in-seat storage, remote start (with automatic transmission), USB port, rearview auto-dimming mirror with microphone, overhead console with sunglass holder, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, trip computer, vehicle information center, tire pressure monitoring display, active grille shutters and underbody aerodynamic treatment.

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition with the Rallye Appearance

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition with the Rallye Appearance Group

Along with the SXT Special Edition, Dodge Dart customers can also order the new SXT “Rallye Appearance Group,” which includes a unique black front fascia, Rallye badge and class-exclusive 17-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels for a U.S. MSRP of just $395.

The already well-equipped Dodge Dart Limited features a starting U.S. MSRP of just $19,995. For an additional U.S. MSRP of $1,810, the Dart “Limited Special Edition” package bundles the most popular premium features for a U.S. MSRP of $21,805.

The 2013 Dodge Dart Limited is packed with a slew of standard features, including the standard equipment of the SXT model plus unique bright grille, bright door handles, projector fog lamps, power heated mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, Floating Island Bezel, ParkView rear back-up camera, 7-inch full-color TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LED reconfigurable instrument cluster display, premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio control and speed control, accent stitching on the instrument panel, power 10-way driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, driver and front passenger seatback pockets, overhead console with sunglass holder, front passenger in-seat storage, illuminated front cupholders, illuminated vanity mirrors, temperature and compass gauge, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console, speed sensitive power locks, power front windows with one-touch up/down, ambient LED interior lighting, automatic headlamps, active grille shutters, underbody aerodynamic treatment, tire pressure monitoring display and Limited badge.

2013 Dodge Dart Limited Special Edition

2013 Dodge Dart Limited Special Edition

The Dart Limited Special Edition package adds premium Nappa Leather seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power sunroof, racetrack LED taillamps, Sirius/XM Satellite radio, Sirius/XM Travel Link, Uconnect 8.4-inch touch screen with Garmin navigation, dual-zone automatic temperature control, remote start and universal garage door opener.

About Dodge Dart
The 2013 Dodge Dart redefines performance with an agile, fun-to-drive experience, compliments of its Alfa Romeo roots. It crafted with high-quality materials and loaded with state-of-the-art technology and class-leading safety features. The new Dart GT model builds on that foundation and offers attributes compact car buyers appreciate such as a 2.4L engine with 184 horsepower, a sport-tuned suspension, available hyper black 18-inch aluminum wheels, along with class-exclusive features like an 8.4-inch Uconnect Touchscreen media center and LED racetrack taillamps. The Dart provides drivers with the ultimate combination of power, efficiency, technology and style, all for a starting U.S. MSRP of just $15,995. The Dart is one of Kelley Blue Book KBB.com’s “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000.”

Follow Dodge and Chrysler Group LLC news and video on:
Chrysler Connect blog: http://blog.chryslergroupllc.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/chrysler
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/pentastarvideo
Streetfire: http://members.streetfire.net/profile/ChryslerVideo.htm
Dodge: http://www.dodge.com

Meguiar’s Sponsors Photo Contest for In-Game Vehicle Shots

2013_Scion_FRS_HZN_001
BY GERRY MILES
Xbox 360 game players who want a free, excuse me, FREE download of the Meguiars Scion FR-S can get a free download of the car for anyone who already owns Forza Horizon or Forza Motorsports 4 players who have purchased the August Playseat car pack.

The real, gleaming yellow Meguiar’s Scion FR-S was designed in partnership with Scion and debuted at the 2012 SEMA Show and was digitally recreated inside the two Forza franchises by  Turn 10 Studios.

Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studios, makers of the Forza Motorsport franchise for the Xbox 360, created the digital likeness of the real-world, Meguiar’s Inc., modified Scion FR-S.

The real Meguiar’s Scion FR-S was designed in partnership with Scion and debuted at the 2012 SEMA Show and was digitally recreated inside the two Forza franchises by Turn 10 Studios.

“The Forza Motorsport games encourage players to customize cars to reflect their individuality, and both the real and digital versions of the Meguiar’s FR-S stand out from the pack,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “Bringing the FR-S into the Forza franchise is a great match of Scion customization and a vehicle that is a lot of fun to drive inside the game and out.”

To encourage players to share photos of their digital FR-S cars on the track, Meguiar’s is sponsoring a Forza Horizon photo contest that ends on May 17, 2013. Winners will have chances to win prizes from Meguiar’s and Xbox 360 by taking snapshots of the FR-S within the game. A “Rivals Mode” race events was created in both games to give players a chance to test out their new cars in competition.

To enter the Forza Horizon Photo Contest, visit http://forzamotorsport.net/en-US/news.aspxfor more information.