The all-new Cadillac ELR electric luxury coupe shared the “Green” carpet with dozens of eco-aware celebrities who attended the annual Global Green USA Pre Oscar® Party this week, and we’ve got a slideshow of dozens of those celebrities posing with Cadillac’s luxurious -- and eco-friendly -- sport coupe.
Global Green USA is an organization dedicated to fighting climate change, and each year their event is considered to be THE green event of Oscar Week! This year, General Motors continued its “Green Carpet” tradition by showcasing the Cadillac ELR at this high-profile event which brings together a wide array of eco-celebrities (many of whom drive electric and hybrid vehicles) to raise funds and awareness for environmental issues and to inspire their fans to drive electric cars.
Let’s face it, women are buying more vehicles than ever and while many appreciate the look of hot bodies and taut muscles, we also care about what’s underneath a pretty face. There’s plenty of opportunity to experience both at the Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in America.
The special reveals for the motoring press have now finished and it’s show time for consumers to get up-close-and-personal with a captivating collection of all-new releases, charismatic concepts, and carry-over-but-updated production models for the upcoming year. In addition to the flashy exteriors in charming colors and under-the-hood ‘might and muscle,’ you’ll find some of the world’s latest and greatest technologies that range from audio, communication, and comfort upgrades to innovative safety features, designed to keep you and your family coddled and protected in your modern-day cocoon.
Front Page News: The Volvo Car Group is undertaking an $11 billion strategy to boost the Swedish automaker’s position in the global marketplace.
New for 2014: The Swedish company just revealed a trio of 2015 Volvo 60-series models with the new Drive-E powertrains. The trio consists of the V60 station wagon, S60 sedan, and XC60 crossover.
The skinny? In what's noted as the largest refresh in the company’s history, the four-cylinder lightweight, low-emission engines were developed in Sweden and will be implemented on each new model that Volvo rolls out in the near future.
Advertisers shelled out millions of dollars to promote their products and services during Super Bowl® XLVIII, using everything from adorable puppies to famous celebrities to keep you watching and entertained during the commercial breaks, when you might normally run off to the bathroom or kitchen.
Automakers spent their fair share to grab the attention of car shoppers, with more than a dozen commercials from companies like Ford, Toyota, Honda and Smart promoting eco and family friendly vehicles to Cadillac, Jaguar, Maserati, and even Kia promoting their luxurious and exotic choices.
“It takes three years to take a vehicle to market,” explained Sheryl Connelly, Global Consumer Trends and Futuring at Ford. ”What most of us don't know is that one of the tools we use to bring it to market is micro-trends.”
“What’s a micro-trend?” we asked. Connelly explained that they have a shorter life than big trends and serve as a more accurate way of determining how people think, act, feel and …spend.
For instance, did you know that worldwide, the average cell phone user checks their phone 150 times a day?
How about this? 62% of adults globally agree that, when people react positively to things they share on social media, they feel better about themselves.
These are just a couple of the hundreds of insights that Ford researched to create the 2nd annual edition of 10 Trends for 2014.
You may ask: what does this have to do with cars? Everything from the way they are designed marketed and priced to (more obviously) the technology.
To follow, five of Ford’s future micro-trends: 1. Female Frontier: On a global basis, women are changing the dialogue around gender roles. With increasing prominence in politics and the work force, women are even changing the rules of marriage and having children. 66% of men and women agree that the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. As Obama said in his recent State of the Union speech, “When women succeed, America succeeds.”
Insights: Take a look around Ford’s corporate structure and you will find women ruling in areas including; technology, marketing, strategy, design and engineering. Ford understands how important it is to have women behind the building of new vehicles. After all, women are over 85% of the buying decisions for cars in the US.
2. Micro-moments: The ADD of wanting to do it all in less time. Media snacking is the word for packing in as much as we can in 24 hours. From two minutes in the grocery store checkout to five minutes between meetings, downtime is disappearing.
Insights: Innovations like Kickstarter ( fundraising), Groupons (deals on everything) and Rent the Runway (leasing designer clothes for as little as $20), are changing the business model. Just six years after launching Ford SYNC, the company has delivered more than 10 million vehicles equipped with the hands-free, voice-activated command system. Among other things, the SYNC system controls mobile phones, digital music players, reads your incoming text messages and can provide audio versions of favorite articles from a host of magazines and newspapers.
3. Old School: Romanticizing how things used to be, we find comfort and connection in brands, craftsmanship, products and experiences that evoke nostalgia. People are looking back to find meaning. 82% of Americans agree that vintage products have more character than new products.
Insights: The Ford Mustang hits 50 in 2014! Since the pony’s reveal in 1964, over 9 million Mustangs have been sold. From the racetrack to movies, music and toys, this popular car has become a noted part of pop culture. The nostalgic Mustang has created such a passionate following that more than 600 Mustang enthusiast clubs exist globally.
4. Sustainability Blues: While going green may protect 30% of the earth’s surface, the other 70% is water. The world is starting to pay more attention to water. For example, Levi launched their Water
Insights: For over a decade, Ford has been committed to decreasing its water footprint by applying water-saving initiatives globally. The company has reduced water usage in everything from cooling towers to parts washing and paint operations, resulting in a 62 percent reduction in global water consumption. This has also saved 10.6 gallons of H2O – that’s enough to fill 16.000 Olympic pools!
5. Fomo/Jomo: The fear of missing out and the joy of missing out: We have unlimited choice of when, where and how we spend our time. Car technologies for connectivity obviously help us stay connected but, truthfully, are we getting too addicted?
Insights: Phantom vibration: We are so accustomed to waiting for vibration (ring-xiety) that it has become a reality. Nearly 90 percent of college grads in a 2012 US study said they felt phantom vibrations. Cell phone stacking (yes, piling your mobiles on the table) is becoming a way to help people ensure an environment free of distraction when they socialize at bars and restaurants. The gig—the first person to pick up their phone picks up the tab for the table!
To keep up with Ford’s Trends on twitter visit #fordtrends
A media ride and drive event in Memphis several years ago left me with some free time in the afternoon before heading to the airport to return home. My colleague and I were wondering how to pass a few hours, when he suggested we visit the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Martin Luther King, Jr. which now houses the National Civil Rights Museum. It was an eye-opening afternoon for me: I was raised in Hawthorne, California, in the 1970s, and grew up with the understanding that all us kids were the same -- even though I was a white girl and I was the minority among my own diverse peer group.
More than 40 years ago, on April 4, 1968, the Lorraine Motel was a small minority-owned business in the south end of downtown Memphis. The motel's owner, Walter Lane Bailey preserved two rooms of his hotel as a shrine to Dr. King as well as to his wife, Lorraine, who died of a brain hemorrhage several hours after King was shot. Ultimately, the hotel closed down, and group of prominent Memphians, concerned that the historic site would be destroyed through neglect and indifference, formed the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation to save the Lorraine.
With support from the City of Memphis, Shelby County, the State of Tennessee, as well as many local banks, businesses, and community members, the National Civil Rights Museum opened its doors to visitors on September 29, 1991, and now houses a 12,800-square-foot exhibit titled "Exploring the Legacy." It also connects to the Main Street Rooming House across the street where James Earl Ray allegedly fired the fatal shot resulting in the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Each year, the National Civil Rights Museum provides a memorial program on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, with an entire day of programs and activities to inspire new generations of leaders to service.
On this day each year, I'm challenged to consider how this holiday is relevant to a woman's automotive site, and I'm reminded of what things were like for black people during the 1960s. I didn't live through the Civil Rights era, so my understanding of racisim and segregation is guided largely by what I learned in history classes, by what I experienced during the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, and by considering the moving exhibits at the museum.
The civil rights laws of the 1960s were intended to prohibit race and gender discrimination in the handful of markets -- employment, housing, and public accommodations -- in which discrimination was perceived to be particularly acute. According to Thomas J. Sugure in his Case Study titled "Driving While Black: The Car and Race Relations in Modern America" I am reminded that issues of transportation were especially significant.
In addition to the cars themselves, auto shows are (in)famously known for the assortment of pretty women on demo stands, their presence intended to attract visitors to the vehicles on display.
The most popular product specialist at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is positioned in the smart booth -- and while she is certainly curvaceous, her loveliness is more apparent in her baby bump than in other physical attributes. In an atmosphere where slim and sexy “booth babes” help sell cars, this booth has its own attraction: a baby on board!
The final sales numbers from 2013 are in, and Fiat of Austin is the Number One FIAT retailer of all time, selling more than 2100 cars since the brand’s return to North America in 2011. The number-two dealer (out of 210 dealerships nationwide) was almost 600 units behind! Lead by General Manager Lisa Copeland, FIAT of Austin has been the Top Selling dealership in the United States in both 2012 and 2011 as well. Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne recently praised the dealership for its accomplishment, saying “In the life of every major organization and its people, there are defining moments that go down in the history books.”
Need to get somewhere but don’t have a car? If you’ve got a smart phone, consider the ride sharing service from Uber as an alternative to a taxi or other forms of public transportation. The company, which has has labeled itself as “the most reliable ride in cities around the world,” brags about its inexpensive pricing and simple operation. Just “Push a button, and you know you're getting a ride.” And, here are two great reasons to give it a try.