This past weekend was the New England International Auto Show in Boston, with this year featuring a Pagani Huayra, Porsche 918, Lamborghini Aventador SV, Bugatti Veyron, the completely re-designed Aston Martin Vantage, and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS!
Here’s the video from Thursday’s Press Day, where we got to take an exclusive look inside the GT2 RS and check out some of the brand new cars that are arriving in dealership showrooms this year!
Look forward to reviews coming this year on some of the cars in this video. The Toyota Camry XSE was very impressive, as it’s two-toned exterior and red interior certainly grabbed attention. Also the all new Buick Regal TourX made it’s Boston debut, which comes with 250 hp standard.
Huge thank you to Muzi Ford in Needham, Massachusetts for allowing me to take a look at the 2017 Ford Focus RS. The RS is the ultimate year round vehicle for car enthusiasts, as it’s performance and AWD drivetrain lets the driver have fun on the road, the track, and in the winter.
Here’s the full review of the Focus RS. Also, visit Muzi Ford’s website to check out their extensive Ford inventory!
In 2017, car buyers have plenty of options to choose from. They can purchase a sedan, crossover, full sized SUV, or hatchback, but it gets even more difficult when you narrow it down to a specific category within the automotive market. For luxury sedans, consumers can go with BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Lexus, Acura, and Jaguar, but for the person who wants a compromise between safety, luxury, and performance, the Volvo S60 is the ideal car that suits the needs of many Americans.
Monday I got to spend time with a 2018 S60 T5 Dynamic, courtesy of Volvo Village in Danvers, Massachusetts. If you’re familiar with the second generation S60, you know that over time its appearance has become more aggressive and sporty. Starting with the 2017 model year, the Dynamic trim was introduced, and with that brought a slight change as the 2018 I got to review had the 18″ Tucan Diamond Cut Black Alloy wheels that come standard.
Volvo has integrated sporty qualities to compliment the luxurious aspect on the S60 by providing sport seats standard that will literally hug you while you’re driving. Combined with the fact that they’re leather and heated, no matter what time of year or the weather, your experience behind the wheel will be an enjoyable and comfortable one. Adding on to the luxury appeal for the interior, you get a Harman/Kardon premium sound system, a navigation system, dual zone climate control, and a leather wrapped steering wheel.
Passengers in the back will be greeted with very comfortable and supportive bench seats that will keep them in place, and give them good leg room. They’ll have rear cup holders that fold down from the center seat, along with a storage compartment that can fit smartphones and other small items.
When it comes to Volvo, safety is the number one priority. Blind Spot Information System, Brake assist, Rear Park Assist Sensors, Rear Park Assist Camera, and anti-whiplash front head restraints highlight the safety features on the S60.
For performance, you’ll get a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with 240 hp and 258 lb feet of torque. An 8 speed automatic transmission w/Geartronic comes standard, but paddle shifters are optional. When it comes to fuel economy, you can expect to receive 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Volvo also offers two drivetrain variants on the S60, FWD and AWD, with front wheel drive getting slightly better gas mileage.
The S60 I got to review was the base AWD trim with the heated front seats and steering wheel package. One of the options that Volvo offers include: the $1000 Sports Package that gets you paddle shifters, sports chassis, electric power steering personalization, and 19″ Portia Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels. The Technology and Vision packages offer additional safety features, such as Collision Warning w/ Full Auto Brake & Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Queue Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, and Driver Alert Control to name a few.
Overall the 2018 Volvo S60 T5 Dynamic is a great daily driver. You get safety, luxury, and performance, along with AWD as an option. The MSRP of the S60 I reviewed is $41k, but the front wheel drive variants start around $34k. It’s reasonably priced, making the S60 a serious competitor to the BMW 3 Series and others in its class. Volvo has made strides against their German counterparts over the past few years, and with their resurgence in the luxury market, Volvo can no longer be overlooked.
There’s three car events this month at Larz Anderson Auto Museum.
At Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, there’s Bass Pro Shops Cruise Night on Thursday nights from 4-8pm. This is a bi-weekly event that usually gets a turnout between 1000 and 2000 cars. Here are the two upcoming cruise nights.
As always, I’ll continue to update this article if any large car events pop up within the next few days and weeks.
On May 13th, Aston Martin of New England held an open house/Cars & Coffee event at their dealership in Waltham, Massachusetts to help kick off the beginning of car season in Massachusetts. While I was there, I spent about an hour filming inside their showroom to create a video that would bring an appreciation to the craftsmanship and design of the cars made by the British automaker, along with the handful of German cars also on display. It was the best and most rewarding hour I’ve spent at a car event in a very long time.
Starting off, I want to say thanks to the people at Aston Martin of New England for allowing me to film in their showroom as the event was coming to a close and everyone started to leave. Being the only person surrounded by Aston Martins, vintage Porsche 911’s, and a new Lotus Evora 400, I was able to take in British automotive heritage. Aston Martins are more than just cars used by James Bond for over 40 years, they’re at the pinnacle of British luxury, design, and performance. These beautiful cars symbolize the very best of the automotive industry, bringing a sense of class, sophistication, and properness that only the British could offer.
The center of attention in the Aston Martin showroom is without a doubt the 1988 Vantage V8 Zagato, a car priced at $795k, and across the room near the window, the all new DB11. Two prime examples of Aston Martin staying true to their heritage. The time spent in that room made me appreciate the automaker even more, as for the first time in a dealership, I was able to film and understand why cars like Aston Martins are at the center of many people’s dreams. Instead of looking at a picture on the internet or watching a YouTube video, I was seeing and experiencing these cars through my own eyes, that can only be truly appreciated if you’re in complete solitude.
So without further ado, here’s the video from the Aston Martin of New England’s showroom. I hope you enjoy!
It’s finally here, the all new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The fourth model the Italian automaker has brought to the United States in the past decade to reintroduce the brand to the New World. In true Italian style, Alfa Romeo has made it’s presence known even before walking through the door, as the Giulia hasn’t hit showrooms yet, but will very soon. The Stelvio introduces Alfa to the SUV market, and they’ve swung for the fences at their first at bat.
With the unveiling of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the generation of immediate buzz in the automotive world has been deafening, as the Italian SUV is set to be the fastest in its class at the Nurburgring. With a Ferrari powered V6 engine producing 505 horsepower, no one up to this point has produced a faster SUV, not including the Tesla Model X which is electric. Better yet, the Stelvio is capable of a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C. Not even Porsche can boast that it produces the fastest SUV, as the Macan and Cayenne have met their match.
More importantly than the performance is the styling. Alfa designed the Stelvio similar to the Giulia, which will only make it more attractive to new buyers. One of the biggest concerns with early renders of the Stelvio was it’s face, as it took on the appearance of the Giulietta. While the initial styling was up to par, had Alfa Romeo stuck with the design, it’s possible that early receptions wouldn’t have been positive.
Together, the Giulia and Stelvio give Alfa a chance to compete and even stand out in a very crowded market for both crossovers and small sports sedans. Also contrary to where the luxury market is heading, Alfa is promoting driving experience and performance while the Germans are fixated on driver assisting technologies. Right now, the Italians have an opportunity to change the landscape in the current automotive market, and reintroduce driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel. Needless to say, the Giulia and Stelvio’s appearances are distinct, and brings a new breath of fresh air into a very stale luxury performance segment.
The Stelvio is expected to hit showrooms sometime next year, and we can only hope that there are no delays, as Alfa Romeo pushed back the Giulia’s arrival to the US market multiple times. Over the next few months we should get a better idea of the true performance and craftsmanship, when car reviewers get behind the wheel.
The future looks bright for Alfa Romeo heading into 2017. The only dark clouds that linger is the reliability of the Giulia and Stelvio. If the Italians can hit a home run with these two models, not only will that ensure their survival in the US, but we’ll get bigger and better vehicles from the brand that understands what being a true car enthusiast is all about.
What lacks from most automotive advertisements is emotion, passion, and a connection between the driver-to-be and the car. Vehicles are often more than just objects to people. For some, cars are a means of transportation, going from one destination to another, but for others, vehicles are a way of life. Some of you may ask, “How can there be such a relationship where the driver is completely engaged with the car?” Certain brands have built and engineered cars that make the driver feel as if they’re one with the car they own, and feeling very connected to the road through the twists and turns on a back country road. These machines grasp the imagination and excitement of drivers and kids of all ages.
Porsche’s commercial, presumably from 2005, pulls at the heartstrings of car enthusiasts. At one point or another in a person’s life, they looked out the window daydreaming of the sports car they’d own when they got older. No doubt that the Porsche 911 was on a poster in kids’ bedrooms, as even today, the 911 is an exotic car many only dream of owning. In a commercial that is primarily music with very limited dialogue, the kid is drawn in by the Porsche’s presence as it passes his school. He’s so captivated that immediately after school he rides his bike to the nearest Porsche dealership just to get a close up look at the new 911.
When he’s allowed to sit in the cabin, his emotions can easily be felt by the viewers. Even today as adults, we space out when we finally get to touch the car that’s been at the center of our dreams for years, or for one split second, we see ourselves driving it. Porsche’s commercial hits all the right notes that no doubt motivated people to buy the car immediately, or work harder to obtain their aspirations of owning a 911.
While there are a few funny moments when the kid asks for the salesman’s business card, or when he says he’ll see him again in 20 years, it still ties into the message, which is the connection to the car itself. Emotion and feeling are often the greatest motivators in life, yet car commercials of today don’t express what the consumer is feeling. Instead, it’s marketing the features of the car, or the add-ons that can be seen on most models in 2016, that’s taken precedence over what the consumer desires.
Owning a car should be fun, especially when consumers buy exactly what they wanted. A Porsche 911 is the car that enthusiasts want because it hugs the road, offers performance and luxury, and gives the owner many years of smiles and memories. These feelings haven’t died as some have suggested, including the Washington Post which had an article saying car culture is shrinking in the United States. Enthusiasts beg to differ as car shows and events are growing at a rapid rate across the country. Car enthusiasm isn’t dying, it’s being awoken.
Luxury car manufacturers are experiencing high volumes in sales, and for those who aren’t, it’s time to start reviving the emotion, joy, and excitement that once drew customers toward the brand. Instead of trying to be funny, or marketing your cars for what they aren’t, be real. Consumers are human beings with emotions, and their buying decisions are made through those emotions. Start appealing to the younger generations, get them excited for the vehicles you offer.
By not bringing your cars to life, you become like every other high volume seller. Bring back the emotion and appeal that has a lasting impact on consumers, and you’ll begin to see a loyal following that will continue to buy from your brand. Only then will you find the voice that speaks up amongst the rest on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In the previous article of this mini-series where we take a look at Youtube marketing by car manufacturers, Hyundai was the center of attention, as their 15 second adverts gave no reason to consumers as to why they should buy a vehicle from the Korean automaker. Toyota now finds themselves in the BostonAutoBlog spotlight, magnifying Hyundai’s bland marketing campaign, by going one step further in advertising technology or features that all or most car manufacturers offer in today’s market. Toyota has always had a loyal following, but if their goal is to increase sales, they’re missing big in their recent onslaught of 15 second videos.
Before we analyze the video above; is this the state the automotive market is in right now, marketing pre-existing features that any car company offers? In this 15 second clip, LED headlights are the main focus, with the spokesman saying, “How do you make Camry’s headlights stand out even more? Skip ahead a few hours”. It sounds like a punchline to a corny joke, one which won’t break the ice if you’re at a table surrounded by strangers.
Most cars come with LED headlights or you can order them to modify the current car you own. Toyota’s LED’s can’t even hold a candle to three year old used Audis or BMWs which would be in the same price range as a new Camry. Worst of all, as a consumer, why would I be attracted to a Camry after watching this quick ad? Yes, by now we should all know Toyota’s reliability record, but there’s no need to start marketing features that buyers wouldn’t find relevant.
The corny jokes don’t end there, it continues with yet another quick ad. At this point, you have to wonder if the same marketing firm that worked with Hyundai, moved onto Toyota a few months later. Toyota’s are not known for their handling, and as someone who has driven a Rav4 in the past, you don’t feel very connected to the road. If great handling is the focus of the commercial, there needs to be actual footage, and not a guy playing with a toy car who then places it in the driveway.
While 15 second clips on Youtube are the norm for automakers now, less information about the vehicle being marketed is presented. Even though there’s a risk of viewers pressing the skip ad button, it would be better to extend these ads to 30 seconds to offer potential buyers selling points as to why they should buy a Rav4 or a Toyota Camry.
The last video worth highlighting, might just be the worst of them all. People who buy a Toyota Prius purchase them for one reason, it’s environmentally friendly. Toyota has been marketing the Prius like a race car, or during the Super Bowl, a getaway car. It’s time to go back to their roots and advertise the Prius for what it is. It’s not “agile”, it’s not “fun”, and it certainly doesn’t need racing decals as the car doesn’t deserve racing credentials.
What’s lacking in this commercial? Fuel efficiency. Isn’t that why people buy a Prius? What YouTube marketing has done is take common sense and a well thought out commercial out of the equation. There’s no selling points, no facts about what the car can do, no demonstration as to why it’s “agile”, and there are no legitimate reasons as to why I, or anyone else should buy one.
Hyundai and Toyota have made the ads that popup before watching a video cringe-worthy. These two manufacturers can offer better in terms of marketing to the masses, as their cars speak for themselves. Both their reliability ratings and customer satisfaction should be the main focal points of these ads, not the technology or features within the cars.
If Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, GM, Mazda, Kia, and Honda are watching, they should take notes. Hyundai and Toyota have left the door open for better YouTube advertising that grabs consumers’ attention, thoroughly goes over what their cars offer in terms of reliability, safety, and performance, and not worry about the technology within the vehicles. What is truly lacking in the automotive market is passion, emotion, and excitement.
We should get excited when we see your commercials. There should be a desire to want to drive and buy your vehicles. Every time your vehicle passes us by on the street, our first thought should be that great commercial you marketed that created an emotional connection. It’s time to start marketing your cars as if you love them as much as the consumer. Without passion, you become a Toyota who is trying to crack corny jokes, or Hyundai who is in an identity crisis as they’re not sure whether to brand themselves as a company that offers luxury vehicles, or a company that has reasonably priced cars for the middle class.