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First Look: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe

“Our ultimate halo car.”

by on Apr.16, 2014

The new 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe is the first model to get the new Curve Tilting Function.

Barely two months after introducing the newest 2-door version of its flagship S-Class line, Mercedes is taking the coupe to an all-new level of performance.

At an evening soiree previewing this week’s New York Auto Show, the German maker pulled the wraps off the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe, which Tobias Moers, the CEO of the high-performance unit dubbed “our ultimate halo car.”

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Previously known as the CL line, the renamed 2-doors feature more aggressive styling than their sedan siblings. But they carry over all of the various high-tech features found in the 4-door S-Class – and then some.  The S63 AMG Coupe, for example, is the first model to feature the maker’s new “Curve Tilting Function which “leans into curves like a motorcycle rider or skier,” explained Mercedes AMG boss Moers.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Lincoln makes time for Times, Toledo goes to the Dogs, and a PSA worth watching.

by on Mar.25, 2011

A Safe Driving Adult PSA Worth Watching

Mercedes-Benz this week announced a teen age driving school, Toyota has had one for several years, BMW offers a teen driving school in South Carolina, Bridgestone has a special program too, but what about those beyond learner permits? Like adult drivers driving adult-ly?

All of us on occasion do run through an orange light, make a right hand turn even through there’s on-coming traffic, push it to 80 or 85 on certain freeways, detest those damn speed cameras that should have remained on the Autobahn, and even pass in the wrong lane. Why? Because we’re in a hurry, right? Common sense tells us the only correct, as in legal, time to drive at high speed is on a private track or at one of those expensive adult driving schools.

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Obviously all the yellow signs, radar guns, speed zone and traffic lights in the world don’t make for safer, slower driving. Experts say most auto accidents – not counting DUI – are caused by excessive and unnecessary speed. Increased auto safety could come from the simple act of slowing down. Just think about it.  While in Australia earlier this year I saw this auto safety by slowing down public service commercial on the local television and now it’s come to the US. Click Here to see one of the best public service announcements because it resonates with reasonable people.


Controversy Erupts After Embarrassing Tweet

Chrysler releases social media company after its employee sent tweet using the f-word.

by on Mar.11, 2011

Chrysler wants the goodwill from its epic Super Bowl commerical for the new 200 to continue, so it quickly squashed a controversy about an errant tweet that used the f-word.

A firestorm of controversy erupted after Chrysler’s social media agency accidentally sent a tweet that used the f-word on Wednesday.

At one point, the automaker said one of its twitter accounts, @ChryslerAutos, had been compromised, but it later determined that the tweet was sent by the employee of New Media Strategies. The controversy came when NMS fired the employee and Chrysler dismissed the agency.

“Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior, and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication,” said a blog post on Chrysler’s media website Wednesday. Click here to read the post.

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“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f****** drive,” the tweet said.

“The tweet denigrated drivers in Detroit and used the fully spelled-out F-word. It was obviously meant to be posted on the person’s personal twitter account, and not the Chrysler Brand account where it appeared,” said Chrysler’s Ed Garsten in another blog post on Chrysler’s site Thursday. Click here to read Garsten’s blog post.


Playing Coy In The Police Car Niche Market

by on Aug.26, 2010

The Caprice has a larger body, longer wheelbase than the terminated Pontiac G8 from Down Under.

The police car market in the United States amounts to around 75,000 units a year, and Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, CVPI, the mainstay of police fleets for years, has managed to command 60% or more of that market since Chevrolet ended domestic rear-wheel drive car production in Texas 15 years ago.

Dodge has been nibbling away in the market for the last five years with a smaller, less costly and perhaps more fuel-thrifty Charger V8 entry, while Chevy has had fair luck with its also smaller V6 Impala.

The CVPI has been a holdout of what some critics call dated design – a rear-wheel-drive V8 with the body bolted to a separate frame.

This year, knowing that CVPI production ends in another 12 months, Ford, Chevy and Dodge are each scrambling for this market niche, a scramble that doesn’t make any obvious financial sense in a town where money is tight, but could make sense from an image point of view. But let’s put the money angle aside for the moment, and come back to image later.

Cop Cars!

Ford is defending its turf for 2012 with an extensive battle-proofing makeover of the front-drive V6 Taurus sedan, called the Ford Police Interceptor. With Crown Vic sedans limited the last few years to taxi and police customers, Taurus has become the top of the Ford passenger car line, what people might consider a near-luxury car.


Q&A: Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak

What Penske can do that GM couldn't.

by on Jun.05, 2009

Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak accepts the award for the midsize Aura, named North American Car of the Year at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show.

Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak accepts the award for the midsize Aura, named North American Car of the Year at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show.

It likes to bill itself “a different kind of car company,” and that’s likely to be even more true in the future, now that Roger Penske has signed an agreement that will likely make him the new owner of General Motors’ Saturn division by the end of the year.

The once-promising brand showed significant momentum in its early years, but GM admittedly starved Saturn of product until it was too late, and while it has recently expanded the line-up, to much praise, the ailing automaker has decided it needs to pare back to just four key brands if it’s to survive its bankruptcy.

What happens now? turns to Jill Lajdziak, the constantly-moving dynamo who has been serving as general manager of the Saturn division since March 1999, and has been with General Motors since 1980.  The brand’s greatest strength is its 192 dealers and 358 “rooftops,” she is quick to assert.  But it will, as she admits, take more than stores to make Saturn work, post-GM.

Q: As recently as January, GM was still looking to find a way to keep Saturn in its line-up. What happened since then?

Lajdziak: When we sat down, in January, we were looking at lots of other opportunities within GM.  (But) GM figured out it could only afford to support four core brands, both from a marketing and manufacturing standpoint.  From my vantage point, that was great and set up every (surviving) brand to be successful long-term.  That’s important for both General Motors and for the country.  But there wasn’t any room for Saturn. (more…)