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It's an Automotive Vanity Extravaganza
The folks at Kelley Blue Book have released their annual Brand Image Awards. The study, now in its seventh year, honors automakers for excelling in certain areas. Categories include things like best performance brand, most refined brand and most trusted brand. Overall there are 13 winners and the results may surprise or even appall you. You’ll need to read on to find out.
But first, according to KBB this isn’t some shady survey conducted by annoying telephone marketers; awards are actually the result of “extensive research gathered throughout the year.” Shoppers using the company’s website contribute to the results; in fact more than 12,000 of them participated, and here’s what the people have to say.
Not too long ago, a beauty contest in the sub-$20k segment would seem like a competition for the most attractive bar of soap. But now, Kia‘s current line-up will make you look twice.
Men’s lifestyle and fashion magazine Esquire has announced the Kia Optima as the “Most Gorgeous Car Under $20K.” Editors were especially impressed by the South Korean automaker’s “clean and inspiring” design. Moreover, numerous other automotive publications have made positive comparisons of its exterior to the more upscale Audi.
VP of Kia America marketing & communication Michael Sprague says, “Esquire defines and shapes men’s style and fashion in today’s contemporary culture, and this recognition further validates Optima’s tremendous value proposition with its unmatched combination of world-class design, advanced technology, and fun-to-drive performance. The stunning design and value of the Optima has significantly increased awareness, perception and consideration for the Kia brand…”
More than just a pretty face, the 2011 Optima is available with luxury and technology including a satnav/audio system with Sirius XM radio and live traffic, Bluetooth capability, USB and auxiliary input, and steering wheel integrated voice controls.
The Optima is available with an economic 2.4 liter four cylinder producing 200 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder producing 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the Optima Hybrid provides the 2.4 liter combined with an electric motor, combining for 206 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. Prices begin at $19,200.
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima
This week, a news report was released by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, proclaiming Audi as the number one luxury brand for best total cost of ownership.
The data confirmed that Audi yields the lowest average Total Cost of Ownership for the initial five-year ownership period, beating all other luxury brands. The Total Cost of Ownership breaks down the typical ownership costs for a particular vehicle, including depreciation, expected fuel, repair, maintenance and insurance costs. Audi’s success has been driven largely by the A3 2.oT and A4 2.0T models, due to their minimal depreciation and industry-leading fuel economy.
he 2.0-liter TFSI engine produces 211-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine combines Audi’s valvelift system, variable valve timing and TFSI direct injection for increased power and efficiency. The German automaker has already sold more than 1.3 million of these engines, and is one of the most acclaimed powerplants of the last decade.
The New England Motor Press Association has voted and presented the ‘Official Winter Vehicle of New England Award’ to the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
During the winter, a side by side test compared 4×4 SUVs in winter conditions and found the Grand Cherokee to exceed expectations. Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Product Marketing, accepted the award and felt that the Grand Cherokee combines three different aspects better than the competition. He felt the Jeep excelled in luxury, fuel economy, and four wheel drive capability. John Paul, NEMPA Winter Vehicle Awards team leader said, “It handles everything mother nature can put in its way.”
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in several trim levels including the base Laredo E for $37,995, the Laredo X for $42,995, the Limited for 46,995 and the Overland for 49,995. A 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine is standard with 290-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is also available as an option.
Gallery: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Check out the video after the jump!
Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2011 Infiniti EX35 a “Top Safety Pick” rating. This rating was given to the Infiniti based on the car achieving the Institute’s highest rating of “Good” in front, rear and side impact protections. The car also has to be equipped with electronic stability control, and earn a good rating in roof strength.
“Infiniti is proud to receive another Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. “Like all Infiniti vehicles, the 2011 Infiniti EX35 luxury crossover is designed to offer owners a strong sense of peace of mind, whether from its exhilarating driving performance, engaging interior environment, advanced technology or long list of standard safety features.”
The EX35 comes with standard with safety features such as the Infiniti Advanced Bag System with dual stage, dual-threshold front air bags and seat belt and occupant classification sensors and roof-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear occupant head protection. The Infiniti also comes with seat-mounted driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags and front-seat Active Head Restraints.
Other standard equipment includes LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control System. Optional advanced technologies include: Lane Departure Prevention system, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning.
The Cadillac Escalade was ranked first among all models in the AutoPacific’s 2011 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards as well as topping the Luxury SUV segment for the fourth consecutive year. 68,000 owners of new cars and light trucks completed a survey in the U.S selecting the Escalade as the top choice.
“It’s especially gratifying to be honored by AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards because they’re chosen by owners,” said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing. “Escalade’s consistent strong showing in these awards is a testament to its ability to deliver what customers want in a luxury vehicle.”
The cars and trucks were tested in areas such as comfort, safety and overall purchase/lease experience. The market research and consulting firm AutoPacific publishes a variety of studies annually within the automotive industry.
The Cadillac Escalade features a 6.2-liter V8 producing 403-hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. Pricing for the Escalade ranges from $63,455 to $85, 175.
[Source: GM News]
Subaru of America has won the top automotive Webby Award and the Gold IAAA Award for their ‘mediocrity’ advertising campaign, which lampooned traditional mid-size sedans. Subaru played off the abudnance of bland sedans in the market place. Subaru’s campaign portrays a dull and unexceptional fictional vehicle: the 2011 Mediocrity, displayed in dull beige. hue . The bland vehicle is then contrasted to the vibrant Subaru Legacy with its 2.5-litre Boxer engine and standard all-wheel drive, which, according to Subaru, is quite the opposite of ‘mediocre’.
The campaign’s digital focus was highlighted by a fully interactive website, as well as a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a Twitter feed and a Flickr presence. Their win was chosen from almost 10,000 entries from all 50 U.S states and more than 60 countries worldwide. The Mediocrity campaign as well as substantial television advertising has increased Subaru awareness, contributing to record sales for the brand in both 2010 and the first quarter of 2011.
Check out the video after the jump!