AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
More and more car buyers are turning to social media to get the information they need, so at the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) convention in Orlando, the best marketers on the social web were recognized and awarded.
Diesel is quickly becoming a new option for car makers looking to have powerful, yet fuel friendly engines. Mercedes and BMW’s AMG and M, in house tuning divisions have announced future diesel vehicles catered for performance driving, and it looks like the SRT brand will be offering its own in the future.
Social media is a great way to keep in contact with friends, family and share baby photos with one another, but it can also be used for finding a favorable car dealership. Thats according to a new study released just on the eve of Facebook’s IPO.
The Smart fortwo can fit in some pretty small places, but can it fit in a 140-character Twitter post? It certainly can, as seen on the Smart Argentina twitter page.
An advertisement made up of 455 individual tweets shows the Smart strolling downtown in a neat looking virtual flip book. Apart from the ASCII art, the ad looks like something you’d see on TV, complete with a neat 360-degree showcase of the fortwo.
The twitter account states (in Spanish) “It fits in any space. Why not in 140 characters? Smart Fortwo…a big idea for the city.”
We wonder if other companies will pick up on this innovative style of advertising.
Check it out in the video below.
Discuss this story with other Smart fans at Smart Car of America.
Imagine ranting online about how much you want do drive a car — and having it come true. For one lucky fan last year, and now more to come, that dream will be a reality.
Audi just announced the relaunch of its #WantAnR8 campaign, which boils down to a contest where R8 fans can tweet about their longing for the chance at having one delivered to them. While the car won’t actually be theirs, the eight winners will be able to choose between taking the car to a track or having it theirs to drive for a day.
Audi will choose two winner after each of the four contest periods, beginning March 20 and running through October 28. Those winners will be chosen by a judging panel and graded on specific criteria. Creativity and originality are worth 34 percent, quality of the conversation that grows from the tweet is worth 33 percent and use and quality of multimedia in the tweet count for, as you hopefully can guess, 33 percent.
Full details on the contest are available on the Audi site.
In the days leading up to the super bowl, Twitter users were spammed by a whole army of Toyota’s verified Twitter accounts. Users who tweeted anything in regards to the big game, especially with hashtags of #Giants, or #Patriots, were sent a reply by one of Toyota’s Camry Effect Accounts, informing that person about the contest. Even unsuspecting Twitter users were spammed; those who never even mentioned the Super Bowl.
Eventually, after many complaints, all but one of the Camry Effect accounts were suspended, and the remaining account was then switched to Private, making last night’s tweets only available to those that Toyota allow.
Later, Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s social media manager commented on the situation. “We apologize to anyone in the Twitter-verse who received an unwanted @reply over the past few days. We were excited to share the message of our Camry Effect campaign in a new way and it was never our intention to displease anyone. We’ve certainly learned from this experience and have suspended the accounts effective immediately to avoid any additional issues.”
Toyota is taking the blame, although it’s not entirely clear the automaker was in full control. Toyota employs the services of ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, which in turn sub-contracts some of its work to social media marketing agency known as American Pop. A representative of American Pop has contacted AutoGuide to distance itself from the campaign, however, with Gipson Bachman, the Director of Digital Strategy commenting that, “our company was
not responsible for the tweets you received from Toyota’s efforts…”
Toyota will be launching a “Shazam Campaign” similar to that of The Camry Effect with the 2013 Lexus GS. The idea is that while watching TV, viewers can use the Shazam app on their mobile phone to gain extra TV content, media on the Lexus GS, and a chance to win “a custom travel package.” Hopefully, there will be less reliance on spamming twitter this time around.
Automakers have seen the benefits that social media can have on its brands, and as a result, are spending more time (and money) cultivating a presence on these online channels. And this effort is paying off – especially for Nissan. Nissan North America has been interacting with fans of its brands through social media and building a loyal brand following.
Nissan is seeing increased fan interaction on the big three social media venues: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Nissan ranked #8 on list of Top 15 Brands on Twitter for 2011 (as indexed by HootSuite), joining other famous brands such as Apple and Nike. Boasting more than 75,000 Twitter followers across various Nissan brand accounts, the automaker is following the lead of automakers that like to tweet. Take Lexus – the luxury brand is rated the most active tweeter when it comes to automakers, conversing with 288,000 followers… not too shabby.
Nissan is also making great strides with its Facebook account. The company has passed the 500,000 likes count, thanks it part to the all-new Pathfinder Concept reveal that can be accessed by liking Nissan’s Facebook page. Nissan still has a way to go before catching up with BMW’s Facebook page, which boasts over 7,000,000 fans.
Considering how popular online videos are, it’s no surprise that Nissan is having increased success on YouTube. The Nissan channel views have jumped to 10,000,000, thanks to frequent and updated video content.
Is this a case of another Twitter account hacker or just Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk having a Charlie Sheen moment? Either way, there were some strange tweets coming from Musk’s account a few days ago.
On December 30, the Twitterverse was treated to Musk’s 140 character musings on Catherine the Great. What’s so strange about that, you may ask. Well, he focused on the rumor that the Russian empress was crushed to death while having sex with a horse (which isn’t true, according to Psychology Today).
You can read all of the interesting tweets after the jump. What do you think of Musk’s musings? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below. And follow us on Twitter – although we don’t tweet about barnyard romance, we still have some pretty interesting stuff to talk about.
[Source: Business Insider]
How’s this for putting a breast… er, we mean foot… in your mouth? NASCAR race car driver Kasey Kahne is furiously back peddling after making some objectionable remarks on Twitter about breast feeding.
The comments were made on Twitter after Kahne saw a woman breastfeeding her child in a supermarket. At first, he tweeted: “Just walking through supermarket. See a mom breastfeeding little kid. Took second look because I was obviously seeing things. I wasn’t!” A minute or so later, he added: “One boob put away one boob hanging!!! #nasty” and “I don’t feel like shopping any more or eating.” Those last two were quickly deleted shortly after he posted them, but not before others saw and were appalled with what he wrote.
After being swamped with thousands of comments on his site, he issued an apology on Facebook a few hours later, saying: “I apologize. It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breast feeding children. In all honestly, I was surprised by what I saw in a grocery store. I shared that reaction with my fans on Twitter. It obviously wasn’t the correct approach, and, after reading your feedback, I now have a better understanding of why my posts upset some of you.” He also apologized on Twitter to a woman who had objected to his breast feeding comment, whom he called “a dumb bitch” – it’s unclear whether or not he made this remark because he was surprised that someone had something bad to say about him.
His racing-team sponsors Great Clips weren’t amused by his comments, and hours before his apology was made, the hair salon chain tweeted two women Kahne had blasted online: “Our apologies for this. Please know that response was uncalled for & does not reflect our organization.”
We’re wondering if Kahne is going to go the Ashton Kutcher route and hire someone to make sure his tweets aren’t too offensive.
[Source: Toronto Star]
German automakers like BMW and Audi aren’t shy about tooting their own horn when it comes to Facebook followers. BMW has long lead the pack and currently lists almost seven million fans on the “social network”.
But Facebook isn’t the only social media in town and increasingly Twitter is attracting new users. Here’s it’s not the Germans that lead the way, though Audi has a strong presence with 174,000 followers. Nor is it mainstream automakers with companies like Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford tallying 46,000; 69,000 and 95,000 followers respectively. Rather, the automaker most active in the 140 character or less format is luxury brand Lexus, with over 288,000 followers.
To find out why that is, AutoGuide spoke with Lexus Prestige Communications Manager, Nancy Hubbell. “Lexus is committed to engaging with our fans,” she says. “We tweet regularly, respond to tweets and do things like trivia contests and live tweets from special events.”
Experts will tell you the key to success in social media is interaction. A one-way stream of information won’t do much for your brand. “Perhaps the most important thing that happens through Twitter is that we solve any customer issues that may arise,” says Hubbell, who explains that Lexus has a dedicated team of customer service reps who’s job it is to track down problems and solve them. “Lexus believes in exceeding customers’ expectations and, to do that, we need to be where they are,” continues Hubbell, “Now, more than even, that’s on social media sites.”
Easily the most original of Lexus’ social media activities is tied into a more face-to-face social interaction program where Lexus hosts a dinner party at a customer’s house. “Lexus’ Coventant says we will treat each customer as a guest in our home,” Says Hubbell. “With these dinners we treat customers as guests in THEIR homes.” Lexus brings in a “top-notch chef” and all the party requirements, and just asks that the individual takes care of inviting the guests. Lexus General Manager Mark Templin acts as host and Hubbell comes along, live-tweeting the evening – with discussion often revolving around Lexus products, or cars in general. Hubbell starts the online portion of the evening with a “Bon Appetweet” tweet, “then I relay the conversation at the dinner and reply to people who tweet back, so we get an online conversation going.”
Chevrolet is using social media as a “sampling source”, so if you’ve got some pull on social media hubs, you could be sampling the Chevy Sonic for three days.
Working with Klout, a company that rates and ranks a person’s “social influence,” Chevrolet is trying out a new kind of sampling program for people with social media influence. This could be bloggers or Twitter-savvy individuals who have a Klout score of at least 35 (scores range from zero to 100 and measure a person’s social influence). These people will then have the chance to “sample” the 2012 Sonic for three days. The program, which started in November and runs through December 14, has already generated quite a buzz, with complimentary blog posts and about 2,000 tweets so far. People who test drive the car can say whatever they would like about the car, whether it be positive, negative, or nothing at all.
“It’s effective for getting out the message,” said Cristi Vazquez, a Chevrolet spokeswoman in Detroit. “One of the things we’ve found is that the best way to get people to change their perception about our company is to get them behind the wheel.”
For this sampling program, 139 test drives will be offered in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco, with about four or five Sonics available in each city.
[Source: Automotive News]
New car reviews are often carefully crafted pieces of prose. They’re well thought out with plenty of reflection by the author about the vehicle’s relevance, its target audience and how it stacks up against segment rivals. What they lack, however, is a sense of authenticity that comes from unfiltered opinion and reaction. Where you can get that, in 140 characters of less, is Twitter.
Recently AutoGuide.com Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood (@ColumWood) had on-loan a Nissan Leaf electric car as a press tester. If you’re a follower then you already know this as he tweeted incessantly on the car. For everyone else, we thought a journalistic experiment might help, compiling all the relevant tweets into a diary of sorts, documenting life with an electric car and running here, on the much more conventional medium of a News Blog.
See below for a look at what really goes on before a review is published and follow @ColumWood for immediate reaction on the latest car news.
It really pays off to be connected into social media. And if you’re connected to Yokohama Tire Corporation, you could win a tablet computer.
During the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, the Yokohama Tire Corporation will be hosting a social media and digital express. For this contest, Yokohama will use Facebook and Twitter to give away a variety of prizes over the course of the 12-day show, including a tablet computer every day.
“This year, we really wanted to focus on providing education about tires in an interactive, engaging manner”, said Alan Holtschneider, Yokohama manager, advertising, promotions & events. “Each day, visitors to Yokohama’s exhibit in the West Hall lobby will find a wide array of things to do while getting a chance to win some items such as Yokohama gear and the world’s most popular tablet computer.”
For Yokohama’s Twitpic Contest, a winner will be picked to win a tablet every day of the LA Auto Show (November 16-27). To enter, you need to take a picture anywhere inside the Yokohama LA Auto Show booth and tweet your photo. One lucky winner will be randomly selected at the end of the day.
The Wankel engine lives! Although recent reports have suggested otherwise, a tweet from Mazda’s PR department was posted in Japanese for their followers indicating a new generation rotary engine is in the works, and thus confirming a previous report stating that SkyActiv senior exec Kiyoshi Fujiwara is continuing development on the Wankel.
Details on the rotary engine are still limited, but fans are not complaining. Although known for its incredible power output from its tiny displacement, a rotary engine’s inherent design burns a lot of fuel, contradicting the current eco-conscious trend across the automotive industry.
To stay relevant, the rotary engine must become more efficient. As Kiyoshi Fujiwara’s involvement suggests, much of Mazda’s rotary development depend on Mazda’s new Skyactiv technologies. Skyactiv innovations that can be applied on the rotary include the lightening of components, minimizing engine friction, engine temperature management, and optimizing compression ratio. Mazda is confident that the sum of these efforts will produce a new rotary that delivers Mazda’s driver-centric Zoom Zoom philosophy while addressing the current demands for fuel efficiency. Arigato, Mazda!
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
When the sedan was unveiled, Toyota found that the word “Camry” had been acquired on social media service Twitter by rival Nissan North America. Anyone searching the Camry on Twitter during the launch, would receive a tweet regarding product news from Nissan.
Nissan took advantage of the fact that it knew Toyota would launch the Camry with special attention to Twitter. Nissan discovered that the key word Camry had not been locked up so it purchased what Twitter terms a “Promoted Tweet” allowing the automaker to acquire a selection of search terms for 24 hours that included “Camry”, “Toyota Camry” and “mid-sized car”.”Toyota blew it,” crowed one Nissan manager. “They simply didn’t protect their intellectual property.”
Nissan has become increasingly competitive especially against Toyota. U.S sales of the Altima are up more than 18 percent through July, compared to Toyota’s 8 percent Camry fall. The decline was primarily a result of inventory issues stemming from the March 11 earthquake. The Camry has been America’s top selling passenger car for 13 of the past 14 years. The Camry vastly outsells the Altima, but Nissan has been making up ground in recent years.
Check out our full review of the Camry here!
GALLERY: Toyota Camry
[Source: Automotive News]
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator David Strickland explained last week that he will challenge unsafe infotainment technology that is distracting drivers.
“I’m just putting everyone on notice. A car is not a mobile device,” Strickland said. “I’m not in the business of helping people tweet better. I’m not in the business of helping people post on Facebook better.”
Strickland feels that some in-car infotainment is designed to help drivers and automakers diagnose mechanical problems, however he said that there is a major difference between helping drivers and distracting drivers.
“It’s OK not to be connected when you’re operating a car,” Strickland said. “I’m not going to dispute that people want these services. They do.”
Strickland is adamant about cracking down on distracted drivers. He feels that wireless providers and software developers should minimize driver distraction and it should remain a top priority.
[Source: egm Car Tech]
What would you like to see happen in the future? That’s the question posted by Smart on Twitter, and they used the resulting answers to decorate a car.
In 140 characters or less, Smart asked people on Twitter what their view of the future was and had illustrator Johanna Basford pen them on a white Smart ForTwo. And there were some pretty interesting ideas out there, Among them were dog-walking robots, hover beds, commuter roller coasters and walking teapot that follows you and gives you a drink.
The concept was challenging, considering that both Twitter and the ForTwo are pretty compact in size. Both had to be taken into consideration when Basford had to draw the tweets.
“I had to try and imagine how [the inventions] might work, then really quickly sketch that out,” she said. “There’s not much time for procrastination. I like the challenge of thinking on the spot and coming up with a simple, yet clear way to draw things.
You can watch the process on video after the jump.