Barring some unexpected intervention, Saab seems poised to recede into history, sucked down by the larger recession and the brand's unfortunate association with General Motors, one of America's biggest losers.
Is this future scenario convenient—or creepy? It’s one thing if a car’s driver-drowsiness detection system (which exists today) sees that you’re nodding off and suggests coffee. But to make your automated car divert from its usual course because some advertiser paid it to do so, well, that sounds like a mini-carjacking.
Sebastian Thrun is the godfather of the autonomous car. His work for Google X — the skunkworks program that also created Glass — was the catalyst for the search giant’s push to produce a fleet of self-driving vehicles that have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads.
Many North Americans would scarcely believe their ears if they heard what Gina Burton has done. A Toronto mother of two in her early 50s, Ms Burton drove a Volvo for 10 years. But, she says, “I just don’t think that the last Volvo drove as well as the others.” So in August, she traded in her Cross Country estate for a Buick Enclave, one of GM’s upscale crossover sport-utility vehicles.
Your iPhone operates by the touch of your fingers. Why not your car? Auto makers are starting to roll out a new generation of dashboard technology that substitutes touch-sensitive pads and displays for knobs and switches and videogame-style graphics for drab two-dimensional displays. Technology created to power games, mobile phones and computer displays is now being adapted—and often significantly improved—for those two-ton hand-held devices that come with four tires and leather seats.
For many Americans who came of age in the ‘70s, diesel is a dirty word. BMW, however, is looking to change consumers' perceptions by prepping a new campaign designed to sell drivers on a cleaner-burning, eco-friendly fuel that doesn’t get in the way of performance. As part of its “EfficientDynamics” initiative, the automaker this month will launch a multi-platform effort promoting the 335d sedan and X5 xDrive35d crossover.
Are you building a business? Or are you building a brand? Silly questions, you might be thinking. Naturally, you are trying to do both. But that might be a mistake. What's good for the business is not necessarily good for the brand. And vice versa.