Sedan Man

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Very few sedans are being produced by auto makers now days. It is sad that they are slowly going extinct. While I don’t drive one now, which I understand adds to why they aren’t being made, I had three in the past that I loved. Not only that but my dream car is a sedan and I have a list of sedans I’d like to own.

My dream car is a second generation Cadillac CTS-V. I remember an advertisement calling it a “tuxedo with jet pack.” I have always thought of myself in that way and I believe that car fits me and my personality. I’d take any generation of a CTS-V, and if possible, I’d like to own one each of the three generations. And, while the CTS-V did come in a coupe form in the second generation, I want the sedan.

Another sedan I’d like to own is a Ford Taurus SHO. I got to ride in a fourth generation SHO that my coworker had. It was a great car. It is a big, sort of bulky car, but the SHO nameplate is iconic. I would be happy with any generation, but the fourth generation would be preferable. Then again, if I could have one of each, I’d go with that too.

The newest one to join the list is an Alpha Romeo Julia. It looks great, it sounds amazing, and to me, seems to be an all around worthy sedan. Since it is a little bit of FCA with some Italian flare, I would imagine reliability is not fantastic. That is hard to because since it is new, deprecation will tank these cars new. But, I am a fan of used cars, so I would probably take the risk.

Oddly enough, I have three cars from GM, Ford, and FCA on this list, which wasn’t quite intentional, but it’s funny to notice. I do know that most of these…if not all, are performance sedans. My honorable mention list is long and I wouldn’t mind owning any of the following sedans. A Dodge Charger, Pontiac G8, Chevy SS, Jaguar XE, Maserati Quattroporte, BMW M5 and the M3 sedan, Lexus IS F, Porsche Panamera, oh man, a Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 sedan, at this point I’ll even go with a Toyota Avalon TRD, just to name a few. Goodness, the list can go on and on. A good rule of thumb is, if it is a performance sedan, I like it and it is on my list.

Add me and I’ll add to your ads

Chevrolet Goes Social At SXSW

When it comes to getting younguns interested in its vehicles, General Motors hasn’t been as aggressive as some of its competitors in exploiting Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and other social media services. That may change over the next week and a half, however, as Chevrolet schleps to the heart of Texas for Austin’s annual South By Southwest Festival (SXSW).

If you’ve ever attended SXSW, you know it’s the perfect place to cross paths with tech-savvy members of Generations X and Y. People from around the globe come to hear new music, see indie films, and listen to Silicon Valley innovators speak about new developments on the web and in technology. These are the people who tweet and post status updates every five seconds — the exact sort of people GM needs to recruit if it wants to generate interest in its products the same way that Ford has driven interest in the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

According to a press release, Chevrolet will evaluate a total of three social media technologies at SXSW. Perhaps the least interesting of those is the use of Quick Response (QR) codes. QR codes are those squiggly squares you’ve probably glimpsed in magazine ads and on some labels in hip grocery stores (see left). At SXSW, Chevrolet will slap QR codes on display models of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, Volt, and Cruze; festival attendees will be able to take pics of those labels, upload them to a QR database, and download additional info about the vehicles. Which sounds fine, but QR technology has been around for several years, and it doesn’t seem to be catching on. True, it’s a nifty idea, but we expect another start-up to come along any day now to offer a similar service that’s easier to use. Until that time, we’ll read the brochure.

Item #2 is Chevy’s partnership with Gowalla, a geolocational social media service like FourSquare, or, if that means nothing to you, like Twitter merged with Google Maps (which is, apparently, Twitter 2.0). Gowalla users will receive welcome messages from Chevy when they “check in” to the service, and some will receive coupons for free transport around town in Chevy’s fleet of vehicles. Sounds slightly dull to us, but few at TCC have caught the geolocation bug — even though everyone swears that it’s the next big thing.

The most interesting technology that Chevrolet will trot out at SXSW is something called Chevrolet iReveal. It’s an app, but as far as we can tell, it’s not on iTunes yet. That might mean it’s Android-only (which would be stupid, given the SXSW crowd’s love of Steve Jobs), or GM could be waiting to drop it until the festival begins this Friday (which would be less stupid, but still annoying, since it’s mentioned in the GM press release). Either way, we’re unable to give the app a test-drive, but according to the release, iReveal will “unlock three-dimensional models of Chevrolet vehicles. The application will provide key specifics of the vehicles, and insert the virtual image of the car over the actual streetscape viewed through the smart phone camera lens.” That sounds pretty sweet.

Of course, apart from Gowalla, none of these are what we’d call social media services — and frankly, even the Gowalla link-up sounds a bit weak. However, if the technologies prove successful, there are some social media implications down the line. We look forward to seeing them implemented. Soon.

Chevrolet to learn about the best practices for connecting with customers in a digital age

DETROIT, March 9 /PRNewswire/ — On March 12, Chevrolet will launch three social-media applications at South by Southwest, as a pilot test of emerging technologies that will help Chevrolet connect with consumers. During the interactive, music and film conferences and festivals, Chevrolet will have an opportunity to introduce more than 185,000 attendees to products like the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. As one of the preeminent interactive conferences, South by Southwest also provides an opportunity for Chevrolet to learn what attendees feel are the best practices and emerging technologies in social media.

“Social media is a powerful tool in a digital world where people can get news instantly on their smart phone, watch television shows on streaming video, and communicate with friends on social-networking sites,” says Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. “For Chevrolet, South by Southwest provides an invaluable opportunity to learn how best to communicate with customers in by leveraging these technologies.”

Accordingly, Chevrolet will focus on integrating technologies and events at South by Southwest, creating opportunities to talk with, and learn from, attendees.

Evaluating Emerging Technologies

Chevrolet will evaluate three emerging technologies during the conference, including location-based social networking, quick response codes, and augmented reality.

  • For location-based social networking, Chevrolet has partnered with Austin-based Gowalla. From their smart phones, Gowalla users can “check in” to let friends and followers know where they are at a given moment. Gowalla users inAustin will receive a welcome message from Chevrolet, while a select number will receive icons redeemable for transportation in a dedicated fleet of Chevrolet vehicles, or information at Chevrolet lounges around the city.
  • Chevrolet will use Quick Response (QR) codes to introduce attendees to the key features of vehicles including the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. When photographed using a camera phone, the QR codes will launch a dedicated microsite with key features of the vehicle. For example, a QR code on the hood will take attendees to a micro-site to learn more about the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine in the Cruze, which is expected to deliver class-leading 40 miles per gallon.
  • For augmented reality, Chevrolet is one of the first automotive companies to use the emerging technology in a mobile application. Users who download the Chevrolet iReveal application, available in Beta form, will be able to unlock three-dimensional models of Chevrolet vehicles. The application will provide key specifics of the vehicles, and insert the virtual image of the car over the actual streetscape viewed through the smart phone camera lens.

“The potential of these technologies is incredible,” says Christopher Barger, Director of Global Communications and Technology for GM. “Imagine using Quick Response Codes to download the price and options for a vehicle on a dealer lot right to your cell phone. Or, imagine using augmented reality to virtually preview different colors of the Camaro in your own driveway. We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with mobile technologies and social media applications.”

By Richard Read from TheCar Connection—Read the article here

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I found this article and was highly amused. Honestly, I don’t think any of the car companies, or the advertising agencies who work for them, have utilized social networking and interactive communication to anywhere near a fraction of its potential. I am a journalism student at Regent University (yes I realize that traditional journalism is a dying art, but at Regent, we are looking at the future of journalism. Check it out here!) and I am part of that generation in which car companies should be seeking, yet they are not getting through very well. They must utilize this area! MUST!

All I have to say is that in order to reach an audience, you should probably listen to them (and I mean listen. If something sounds absurd, don’t write it off, it just might be the next big thing) and you should have someone on your “team” who knows one, or is one perhaps. Yes, younger people don’t have experience, but they have the knowledge of what works with their peers and what doesn’t.

For any car company that might read this, I am putting out an offer to help you. I am a passionate car enthusiast and I am a college student, learning, living, and knowing how to reach my peers. Contact me through replying on this forum.

Cadillac…no longer caught up

So… I read today that Cadillac is attempting to distance itself from GM.

THANK GOODNESS!

For some reason I believe that Cadillac has been misunderstood by the general public for the past 10 years and even more so in the past 3.

If you look at the sheer price, power, performance, and luxury offered by the Cadillac vehicles, no other vehicle really compares…at least what you get compared to what you give for it.

Cadillac’s are not just old peoples cars, and they are not just gangsta whips. I feel that those associations are fair, and that it adds to the diversity of America, but there is an image, more like an aura around Cadillac’s, that screams Americas finest.  

I think that the GM image has hurt Cadillac. Maybe more in a small way, but still, it has done some damage none the less and especially since taking government loans. I do realize that it is not all happy feelings, as they have not completely cut ties, and they are still supplied by all things GM. But still, I see this as a glimmer of hope that maybe, one day soon, Cadillac will be a free, privately owned car company, competing on the world class stage, and winning!

With all this in mind, I urge you to stand up and support Cadillac and help it gain some independence. While that seems almost oxymoronish due to the present circumstances, every little bit helps!

A Corvette Conceptualized

 

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.

Will We Answer The Call?

What do you think of when you think of the automptive world? What thoughts do you hold concerning American vehicles VS. Asian vehicles? Well I say it is about time we started approaching the subject head on.

The year is 2009. The Global econony is struggling to get back on its feet as corporations scavenge for whats left of the automotive market. People today more than ever are looking for wise investments that serve their purpose and their wallet as they try to aquire a new vehicle. But where to start? Should they listen and take advantage of the incentives offered by our government. CASH FOR CLUNKERS! GET MONEY BACK FOR A NEW VEHICLE!! There it is! In bold letters proclaiming the mighty deal that our governement was willing to offer. But the question is, how did America benefit? Two stories to be told. One man used his cash to buy another car under the required amount of MPG number that the government requested, and the other man used his money to buy a reliable imported car form the asian market. Wait…were they supposed to spend their money on the 2009 malibu or the late 2010 production of the volt? Oh well. NEWS UPDATE: KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD.

We as American car enthusiasts have the ability to speak out more than ever. With the downsizing of the markets and the cut of production and cost we will see the American automotive world catering more towards public ratings and the voices of the spectators. The marketing teams will now be working overtime as they search to find standing ground in a very unbalanced market. American automaking hasn’t stood a chance against the low prices and the high production standards of the imported vehicles that over run our dealerships. So what do we do about it? Give incentives to support the asian market even more? No, we raise production standards and increase practical vehicles that will sell to a larger audience. GM has made a good start with hybrid technology and MPG numbers so why not expand now when it is critical for America to be back and known it the automotive market?

Many would cringe at my words due to the idea of putting more money into an already barely surviving market. But my thought is that without a loss at first the companies wont be around long enough to see a profit. Americans will have to be won over by preformance, reliabilty, and practicality of American vehicles or we will continue to remain under the shadow of the asian automotive market.

This has been Josh sub-blogging for Brentton. Let us know what you think in the reply box down below. It is time for car enthusiasts to answer the call. How will we shape the future of the American market?

                                                                                                                                                               -Josh

In the time of XTS

After a stunning debut of the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept, the brand has fully emerged itself into my daily talk of world changing automobiles (it had been before, this car just helped it brew over), and more importantly, American iconic automobiles. While some reviews were mixed about the unveiling of the XTS,

“And yesterday Cadillac pulled the wraps of a concept car of heroic proportions; this is the XTS”                                      John McElroy- Autoline Detroit

 “The XTS is easily more elegant than the new A8 from Audi and the 7 Series from BMW in the flesh, and its interior is equal to if not better than any mainstream premium luxury car in the world today. It’s that good.”                                Peter DeLorenzo- The Autoextremist

“We also thought the XTS was significantly better looking in person than in the preview pictures that broke last night.” Jonny Lieberman- Autoblog

“We can’t quite say that we like it — it’s a bit too large and a lot too bland — but it looks significantly better in person than it does in pictures.”                                                                                                                                                                                         Sam Smith- Jalopnik

I say it is a phenomenal step for Cadillac. This vehicle, along with the CTS-V sedan and coupe, are going to put America back on the world stage for superior automobiles. The XTS is not a vehicle that will replace the old peoples generation of vehicles, like the STS and DTS. No, honestly, the times are changing, and the younger generation is beginning to take note on what a fine automobile is. I am 21, and I find the XTS awfully appealing, and why not? It’s American for one. Two, it’s got an aura about it, screaming large and in charge, and what young adult now days doesn’t want to have that space, that object that tells their peers that they are a force to be reckoned with? Three, it’s a car that has the best of both worlds. While I am not a huge hybrid fan, putting it in this car doesn’t phase me. I want this car to get the fuel economy, it’s HUGE! If I want a car for performance, I’ll go buy the CTS-V! But that’s not the goal of the XTS and I’m ok with that. Still, it has power. More than my 1998 Regal, and any power more than that is a step up for me.

I tend to agree with McElroy and DeLorenzo. The Cadillac XTS is a look into the future of what fine American automobiles will be and who will buy them. Once GM decides to build it, then it will be what fine American automobiles are. I wouldn’t want to wait till I’m 50 to own this thing. It appeals to me now and I’d get it if I could!

We The People…who own cars

Dear Car Companies,

We the people realize that you design and build cars for a living. We highly appreciate your talent and dedication to your craft because without you, about 98 percent of us would still be walking to the Seven Eleven down the block.

We recognize that you have been in this business a long time and have a built some pretty incredible machines. However, times are changing and we would like to tell you something. May we ask you for your attention for just a moment.

You have done pretty well thus far feeding us vehicles that we think we need. Actually, it is more like vehicles you think we need. However, you would be lying to yourself if you think you are giving us what we want.

As a person myself, I am taking the role of ambassador to relay important information. I will give you things that we the people are looking for in a car. We want vehicles with incredibly, let me rephrase that, RIDICULOUSLY good gas mileage. But you can’t just give us that, because up until this point, the ones that have done so, have looked like crap. Sorry.

We want the cars to look good, like something you’d buy at Tiffany’s, not the jewelry center at as Wal-Mart. Cheap imitation isn’t going to cut it anymore. We are smart, and can pick out the imposter a mile away. I promise, if you can deliver, we will pay.

A third thing we want is practicality. Don’t give us a seven passenger vehicle if really the only people who could fit in the back seats are children. If you say seven adults comfortably, prove it. Pick-up trucks, vans, cars; get people to drive them to tell you what is practical so you don’t have to guess. If you are right the first time, you don’t have to come up with some lame excuse for a cheap imposter vehicle.

Lastly, we want performance. There are only 24 hours in a day, so the fastest way we can get to 60 miles an hour, or more, is important. A smooth ride and great handling are critical because roads and traffic are terrible now days and we have to be able to dodge a bump, or take one, and the car has to last. Here’s an idea. Start with a race car, add the previous elements of gas mileage, looks, and practicality, and still end up with a race car. Done, walk away.

And, as a side note, don’t name these wonderful machines absurd names. Really think about what it is you have created and name it appropriately. If you have any questions, consult us. You can reach us on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or any other online social network known to man. But listen to what we are saying back to you, seriously. We can easily start walking to the Seven Eleven down the street.

Sincerely,

We the People