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We started with the premise that advertising was a means to create dissatisfaction.
Car advertising, for the most part, has lived up entirely to this. The exceptions such as those described by Sam, Eoin and myself, have not created dissatisfaction but other negative feelings unsuited to selling cars. The French advertising for the R14 was actually very honourable in that it seemed only to want to tell customers that the car was Continue reading
Further to our editor, Simon A Kearne’s recent piece recounting the colourful life and times of Victory Motors’ Len Brik, it seems appropriate to append this extract from Simon’s excellent biography of rival and arch-nemesis Sir Basil Milford-Vestibule, detailing the only recorded meeting between the two bitter rivals which took place at the 1957 Olympia Motor Show. Continue reading
I should really have resolved this pressing question a long time ago. I think I may have sorted it out so you don´t have to.
Not unlike Thompson and Thomson: Hyundai and Kia. The same corporation owns them, in a situation reminiscent of PSA who look after Peugeot and Citroen. Citroen had a long and interesting life up until Michelin sold the firm to Peugeot and in the intervening years it has been easy to tell one marque from the other despite common ownership (Saxo and 106 are exceptions). In the case of Hyundai and Kia, no obvious trait serves to hang brand differentiation on. Having been offered the choice of a Kia Ceed or a Hyundai i30 at the rental company recently I was forced to Continue reading
How did a second chance to drive the 2014 Toyota Aygo alter my view?
A while back I tested the Toyota Aygo and reported here on my impressions. I have had another chance to sample the same car (Sept. 19-21). This time I did a bit of silly driving and paid attention to a strange characteristic of the gear shift recommendations.
The silly driving resulted in some sliding and understeer which I didn´t mind much at all. What I noticed though was the power band and gearing behaviour became a nuisance. The main feature involved a dead spot in third and fourth gear. Upshifts from first to second didn´t attract my attention. The first to second comes at about 30 kmph. Second to third produces a similar amount of acceleration up to 50 kmph. So far so fine. Then Continue reading
In order to say why I can´t really write about this I had to do some research. It´s amazing what you don´t read in magazines.
The V40 was introduced in 2012 for 2013 and all I noticed about it since then is the daft crease in the bodyside which is supposed to evoque the P1800. The V40 is a hatchback though Volvo describe it as an estate, I suppose. Whilst the designer of the 2004 S40 is probably only named in Auto&Design magazine, the V40 can claim Peter Horbury as its creator (cited at Wikipedia). Some would say the V40 is dynamic and expressive. I find it a design I can´t look at for long as there seems to be so little there, underneath all the details. The predecessor, the 2004 S40 saloon and V40 estate manage to be Continue reading
In late August the students of the renowned Pforzheim Automotive MA degree course held their summer show…
…it all looked lovely. I meant to write about this a bit sooner but other subjects demanded my time. However, the main points I wanted to make are still valid. I could easily have selected another degree show but this one is the excuse to make them as they are general to all design courses, I feel.
The first thing to keep in mind with the Pforzheim MA course is that Continue reading
Vauxhall’s use of the ‘Once Driven Forever Smitten’ adline throughout the latter 1980’s and 90’s never truly sounded right. It carried with it a sense of deadlines unmet and frantic solutions cobbled together. It also suggested not so much a creative team out of ideas, more a client without a clue.
The new Ford Mondeo will finally be on sale in 2015, just three long, long years after the launch of the car it was based on.
Above we see the 2000 Ford Mondeo, styled under the reign of Claude Lobo and Chris Bird. Then we have the 2006 version credited to Martin Smith but which is probably mostly a Chris Bird car. And finally, we have the 2015 car which I gather was Continue reading
Part 7 – Egan takes Knight
Throughout 1979, Sir Michael Edwardes began talking to the man he believed could pull Jaguar out of the abyss. John Egan had previously revived the ailing BL Unipart business before quitting in the post-Ryder schisms. Now at the helm of Massey Ferguson, Egan had all the right credentials. The only problem was convincing him to take the job. Continue reading
This post actually involves neither Ricardo Montalbán nor Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, this is about a video presenting one of the few genuinely decadent motor cars on sale today, the Rolls-Royce Wraith.
Unlike certain motion picture formats concerning the automobile, this little film isn’t about a tarred-and-feathered Rolls-Royce that has to cross the Gobi desert before the egg on its motor block has been fried to a crisp. It simply tries to understand the appeal of the car in its most likely habitat. And appeal it does, in a sense I personally find somewhat perplexing in this day and age of oversaturation.
There is still a sense of luxury in existence that manages to astonish.
See for yourself whether you can find the point of something that one may consider tastefully excessive:
Vorsprung durch… advertising.
When (Sir) John Hegarty; doyen of UK advertising (and co-founder of renowned ad-agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty) took on the Audi creative account back in 1982 the Ingolstadt marque’s image was somewhat woolly. Continue reading
There’s that Dream Garage that most car people compile at least once in their lives, and some car people compile once a week – or three times a day. Generally these are straightforward cars, exotic maybe, but four wheels, internal combustion engine and at least two seats. Of course I have one of these which, with the exception of a couple of constants such as an R Type Bentley Continental, is usually in a state of flux. However, there’s also that other list of vehicles that are possibly even less practical than a Lamborghini Murceliago (a car I have so little interest in I can’t even be bothered to spell-check) but that exert a strange fascination. For me that list is less changeable.
In 1976, Renault launched a car which set the template for the midsized hatchback which became the default choice of households, if not the world over, at least in Europe…
The ill-advised press campaign that soon followed, however, made a fool of their customers – and of the rest of the motor industry. Building on the success of the R4 and R16, and just like the R5 a few years before it, the R14 offered maximum interior space for passengers and their luggage in a compact footprint, draped in a modern, unostentatious bodywork. Continue reading
As Luca di Montezemolo’s reign at Ferrari comes to an end, an entire chapter of Italy’s automotive industry – as well as culture – is being closed.
Ford´s influential adverts of the late 90s set a style still in use throughout Ford´s communications. We look at an early example here.
At the end of the 20th century, Ford introduced a distinctive new style for their print advertising. The sans serif typeface indicated straight-forward modernity. It looks like a variant of Helvetica but is actually a font called Antenna The ads use both bold and non-bold type depending on the function. In the ad shown here it´s all big and bold and very clear. You can read more here. It was quite a striking use of this typography. Some used it better than others as part of a Continue reading
…about your sad, pathetic existence… Continue reading
Alfa are trying hard to fill the shop window. There are still three models on sale, if you are interested. Read on to see what they thought they´d be selling by now.
Not so many hours after I made up a slogan for Alfa ““We’re still in business! 25% off a 2014 Giulia for an unlimited period” it turns out this is not far from the truth. This Alfa UK home page (above) is full of activity but not so full of cars, pretty much as it was when I posted this item
The sudden departure of Luca di Montezemolo as Ferrari MD has shocked tifosi and surprised analysts. But one key question remains unanswered – what happened? Continue reading
I became the first person at the dealership near to where I work to test drive a Cactus, to the extent that the car itself was in a pre-pre-delivery state and had 1 mile on the clock when we set off in it.
The salesman (like policemen, they all look young to me these days) seemed bemused that the owner of a C6 might be thinking about “downsizing” to a Cactus (which I suppose is understandable), but he humoured me, nevertheless.
Seeing the Cactus in the context of the showroom emphasised some things about its size and proportions. It’s not a tall car (the C3 and C4 alongside it were both taller), and yet it has raised ground clearance. It’s a small car – much smaller than it looks on paper/ screen – and has a nice stance. However, Continue reading
A Legend Remembered – Again
A few months ago, I published a snippet from the autobiography of that legend of the British Motor Industry, the Chief Engineer of Victory Cars, Len Brik. Since then I have had a request for a further extract, but I must admit that a small amount of the late Len Brik’s odd grammar goes a long way. However, I can offer you some alternative Brik related information.
First, and relevant to last month’s theme, is the reason for Len Brik’s choice of engine for Victory’s flagship saloon, the Magistratum. His desire was to trump all the 6 cylinder competition Continue reading
It´s been said of radio that its advantage over other media is that the pictures are better.
This is generally true but when it comes to car advertising it is not. Radio ads can´t hope to convey the visual impression of a car, its most important attribute. Instead they are left to handle other aspects which can be presented verbally. These might include news of special offers and to point customers in the direction of dealers. They might serve to tell listeners of the arrival of a new model but other media must handle the rest. One advantage they do have is Continue reading
To continue our celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Citroen CX we present what resembles a period review of the car by Archie Vicar. Find out what the great man thought of the car on a test drive from Paris to the West German border with East Germany in 1974.
Driving the future
From “The Driving and Motoring Month”, September, 1974
Photos by Douglas Land-Windermere
Indicative of the Citroen CX´s innovative character, the oil level can be checked inside the car thanks to a pneumatic indicator on the remarkably novel dashboard. The CX resembles a futuristic show car but is in fact on sale soon. The body shell joins to the underframe by means of 16 flexible rubber mountings. The steering strongly self-centres so that one only has to apply force when changing direction. The list of exceedingly interesting advances could fill this whole article but these, I earnestly hope, show readers Continue reading
Advertising that mentions potential problems draws customers´ attention to them. Mazda´s advert from 1973 does just this. And it uses weasel wording too.
As I said in the introduction, advertising addresses people’s worries. Just as Rover handled the problem that their 1993 620 saloon was a Honda Accord in tweed (“Above all, it´s a Rover”), this ad from 1978 attacks the common prejudice that Japanese cars were vulnerable to rust. I tried to find one of these cars for sale and found only the precursor to the Mazda 626, the 6 16 LN. It´s from 1975 and probably the only one left. Continue reading
Lexus’ recent creative review ditched more than the message…
All good advertising embodies an essential truth. For some years now for instance, Lexus has gone with the tagline ‘The Pursuit of Perfection’; a relatively believable goal to imagine them pursuing. However, despite some success in the US market, Lexus remains stubbornly among the junior ranks of the European prestige car business. In a fit of insecurity, Continue reading
In search of family transport, DTW rents a Korean mid-ranger and exposes it to mud, apples and half a dish of aubergine parmesan gratin.
Welcome back to the dead centre of the car market . The Hyundai i30 1.6 GDI** is a Focus and Golf competitor but may gun most accurately for the likes of the Peugeot 308 and any other mid-market also-rans. This type of car is very hard to write about in isolation as most of what you experience verges on the bland. Only a spread-sheet analysis of the cost and features along with a back-to-back test would reveal the precise differences in the qualitative and quantitative elements between this car and its peers. Nonetheless, even on its own, there are aspects of the car which please and those which irritate. Continue reading
The 1967 Datsun 2000 De Luxe (also known as the Datsun Cedric) is one of Japan´s unsung landmarks. In this item, we have something resembling a transcript of a 1967 review by Archie Vicar. He finds much that is agreeable in the saloon.
“Building on a new tradition!”
By Archibald Vicar
Photographs by Wentworth Henry
(From “Today´s Driver”, November 1967)
Rumours abound from the Midlands, such as rumours are, that Jaguar is considering replacements for the venerable, nay, antediluvian 240, 340 (née Mark 2), S-type, 420 (née S-type) and 420G (née Mark X) with a range of motor vehicles which will essentially depend on one single body. Our sources in Coventry hint that among the pressing reasons for this change is that nobody at Brown´s Lane understands which car is which or the purpose for which any of them are intended. And that´s letting alone the matter of the by-now antique elements of which these stalwarts are mostly composed. In any case, Jaguar Ltd is now under the firm tutelage of BMC who will be shaking up Jaguar´s life of gin and tonics and setting the troubled firm on a new course to success.
Following from this is that we can expect that Continue reading
Part 6 – Knight`Falls
1978 saw a brief reprieve in Jaguar’s fortunes. Under Michael Edwardes more enlightened management, interference eased sufficiently to allow a consensus to emerge on XJ40’s styling. Customer research carried out in the US backed Bob Knight’s assertion that a strong resemblance to the contemporary model was necessary. The revitalised styling of the forthcoming Series III also cast a mighty shadow, because despite its more angular roofline, the revisions combined to create a sleeker, more modern looking car. Continue reading
Bristol Cars´new owners have announced the launch of the first wholly new vehicle since the Fighter of 2003.
Called the Pinnacle, the new car is to feature a combination of Bristol hallmarks and modern touches. Carried over are the customs of making the bodies by hand (Bristol require a panel beater) and using very high quality materials. New to Bristol will be the use of battery power and range extension technology. There might even be cup-holders. Also new to Bristol is the notion of merchandising, which to spell it out, is the selling of non-automotive products branded with the Bristol logo. That´s done to promote the brand (something Bristol didn´t try hard to do) and to make money (something Bristol didn´t manage very well towards the end). Continue reading
Richard’s fine introduction on this topic began with two quotes, both holding a high degree of truth to advertising in general, yet both I’d suggest are not always relevant to that branch of advertising that deals with cars.
Edwin Land, who brought us Polaroid, as well as other products of intelligent research, said “Marketing is what you do when your product is no good” but, although Edwin Land was a remarkable inventor, it was easy for him to say that since, for years, his instant film system was the best in a group of one. Car manufacturers don’t have that luxury – if only Karl Benz had employed patent lawyers as good as Land’s we’d all be peering through that silver star on the bonnet. Also the problem is that Continue reading
1973 a 1.2 litre engine was enough for a medium-sized family car. And we seem to be back to where we started with today´s downsized motors. This ad for the Citroen GS shows how, in other respects, we are being served up very ordinary cars where once it was possible to drive something truly advanced.
The spread we are looking at today dates from November 1977. In line with standard advertising practice it preys on the worries of consumers to make its case. Here is the text, neatly indicative of several prejudices of the day.
“Although man has come a long way since he invented the wheel, he hasn´t yet discovered a way of totally eliminating its deadliest enemy: the Gremlin.
And the gremlin´s favourite hunting ground is brand new cars.
That´s why at Leyland Cars we invented Supercover. With Supercover every new Leyland car is given a thorough 69-point check for lurking gremlins at the garage before it’s allowed to be sold.
And should a gremlin turn up on the road, with Supercover, you´ve the AA´s 2,850 strong team of radio patrol men to call on for assistance.
And if they can´t fix it in reasonable time, your car and your passengers are Continue reading
Which is more than you can say about Bristol…
Okay Saab, I know this is a difficult time for you right now, especially with you being dead again. Obviously I’m sorry for your trouble and everything, but if I can be completely candid, this whole thing is starting to get a little weird. How many funerals is it now? Continue reading
It was the year 2000 and according to the predictions from 1970 we´d have been traveling on hover-speeders and wearing metallic-nylon bodysuits. Somehow that didn´t pan out. For Rover, it was still 1959 though.
For your education and general knowledge, today´s item on advertising is an example of exploiting the customer’s worst instincts and distracting them from the selling point. This was done not only by the form of the ad as conceived, but simply by ensuring the message was concealed by the centre fold of the magazine. Rime eef, it reads.
In the ad – admittedly it´s technically well done – a Rover 45 is placed on a polystyrene tray, wrapped in cellophane and labelled 100% Prime Beef. There´s a Union Flag to make the point – this is British and not, for example, German. The advert dates from May. Rover was still owned by BMW, just. The sell off was in train at the time of press.
The Rover 45 had been relaunched at the start of the year and the new versions were styled to draw on the Rover cues of Englishness, tradition, chrome and leather. The pity here is that Continue reading
The Citroen CX is 40 years old this year. To celebrate this milestone in European car design, we present what looks like one of the very first reviews printed in the English language. The author is Archie Vicar who at the time was contributing motoring editor of the Worcester Morning Gazette (Sept. 23rd 1974).
After a very long time in production, the DS has been (thankfully!) discontinued by its maker, Citroen. Whilst there were some good points in favour of the DS, there were too many oddities. Some of these have been ironed out so the new car will be more palatable to a wider range of customers. The incoming CX will be a more welcome car for motorists who want to drive something other than a Granada or Victor but without suffering the cost and inconvenience that the over-complex DS served up, drenched in garlic. Continue reading
Further to our Aygo review yesterday, DTW presents this small reminder that once it was a simple matter to make an estate version out of an existing vehicle.
Here is the 1997 VW Colour Concept Polo estate. I like its vertical tailgate and utter lack of pretension. Such a car could do excellent service as either a practical second car for grocery and kid collection or else serve as a primary family car if the kids were still small. Finally, for Mr and Mrs Retired, it could get them around the country visiting the children and grand children without incurring big fuel bills. And there´s room for the Labrador in the back. Form is following function here and I like that.
To my slight amazement, there´s a whole website devoted to Polos.
This week DTW has the new Toyota Aygo on test. Launched at the 2014 Geneva motor show, it´s only just arrived on the market. So, how did the car fare during a punishing three day investigation involving child-seats, sand and small pebbles?
The engine is the 59 HP 1.0 VVTi in-line three pot. The “VVT” part stands for variable valve timing which has been around since 1996. The bore and stroke are 71 mm and 84 mm respectively. The Aygo comes with stop-start technology and this functioned well enough for me to learn to trust it. It can start the car faster than I could and this eliminated a lot of useless idling while waiting at lights. Simply stop the car, take your foot off the clutch and the engine cuts. When you stand on the clutch again the engine fires up…and off you go. The rest of the engineering details are Continue reading
“Marketing is what you do when your product is no good, ” said Edwin H. Land. David Foster Wallace said of an ad: “It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
This month´s theme is the about the ephemeral products of automotive advertising. As long as cars have been available, there have been people making money trying to help manufacturers get yours.
At first, the main theme of car advertising was to explain the advantages of a car over the other ways of getting around. The 1898 Winton ad devotes its energy to the money-saving attributes of their car compared to owning a horse. It might not have been strictly true but the message could be clearly understood as a rational proposition. A Winton cost only half a cent a mile to run though they didn´t say Continue reading
Time to look back on the month of August and see what we have learned.
August has drawn to a close and we are now an important amount wiser on the subject of engines. Among the discoveries are that a combination of regulations and fuel prices have made life uncongenial for large capacity engines. Both in Europe and the US, the V6 is increasingly rare. Furthermore, even the staple of mass-market, mid-range motoring, the boring old 2.0 litre 4-cylinder is beginning look much less like the first rung on the ladder to power and prestige. In a world of buzzy three-cylinders and blown 1.2 litres four-cylinders, the 2.0 litre four has the aura of profligacy once reserved for in-line sixes. The diminishing technical awareness of drivers means this change remains largely unremarked. What buyers want is Continue reading
Italy’s engineering giants slug it out for your entertainment.
Given the size of the Italian motor industry by comparison to say, the United States or Germany, it’s difficult to compile a list of the great engine designers without coming to the conclusion that Italy has historically punched well above its weight. The fact that most of them were schooled through Italy’s once thriving aeronautical industry says as much about the era from which they emerged as the political and socio-economic causes, but either way, Italy’s contribution to the pantheon of notable engines is undeniable. Continue reading
Recently DTW presented a survey of the decline of the V6 in the mid-size family car. Further reflection led me to uncover some of the also-rans in the category.
This post-script adds four vehicles to the list of V6 contenders who have tried but not succeeded to gain sales from the dominant manufacturers. All four are marginal cars from marginal makers. Taken together they comprise a foursome fit for a comparison test in a future edition of Classic and Sportscar, say, 2024.
The first vehicle I´d like to mention is Continue reading
The Lancia Fulvia V4
The V4 engine layout is synonymous with Lancia; the marque having employed the layout extensively from the 1920’s right up to and sometime after its demise as an independent in 1969. Founder, Vincenzo Lancia had something of a penchant for the vee-formation engine but it’s unclear exactly why he favoured the V4 over its in-line counterpart, given that the layout tends to fall prey to out of balance forces one would really rather not have to deal with. Continue reading
DTW spotted this interesting machine: it´s a Danish-made motorcycle from the people who brought you Nilfisk vacuum-cleaners.
Most countries in Europe had a domestic motorcycle manufacturer or two up until the 1950s. Ireland is almost an exception, having only the Fagan company manufacturing Villiers models for a brief spell between 1935 and 1937. Rather more successful and long-lived, Nimbus produced motorcycles in Copenhagen between 1934 and 1959. Fisker and Nielsen started making electric motorcycles in 1909 and turned to petrol driven machines when they introduced their Model A in 1934. That´s the same Fisker and Nielsen who Continue reading
This week came more reports of the “new” Opel Corsa. What have they done, we ask, what have they done?
I didn´t expect two of these articles in one week. Yet here we find Opel having a “what have they done?” moment. Opel describe this as a new vehicle but we´d class this as a very comprehensive facelift. The main architecture of the car remains the same and, in my view, the addition of the black tab on the rear of the 3-door´s sideglass does not distract from this fact, and nor do the new front or rear forms. What else is different? Continue reading
Part 5 – Edge of Darkness
Throughout 1976, and with hostilities continuing to simmer, what few resources that could be focused upon XJ40 concentrated mostly upon the ongoing struggle to establish an acceptable style. During the spring, Bertone and Ital Design submitted revised XJ40 proposals – which according to Bob Knight, were even worse than previous attempts. They ended up mouldering under dust sheets in the experimental studios, although Knight would sometimes refer back to the Bertone proposal to see how certain effects were achieved. Few avenues were left unexplored – Continue reading
After having gone from strength to strength in recent years, Volkswagen AG (VAG) all of a sudden appears to be in an awful lot of trouble. But appearances can be deceiving.
First in a series on the German automotive industry, seen from a German perspective.
After a bit of a dry spell, Something Rotten in Denmark has this rather over-valued money pit to present, a 1991 Chrysler LeBaron 3.0 V6.
Much like the Rover 620 from last week we are shown a photo of the dark side of the car. You can make out the brightwork and the general top heaviness of the car but there are other things not so visible. For example Continue reading
Skoda´s Fabia appeared first on the market in 1999. Now it´s into its third generation. What have they done? What have they done?
This is the new Skoda Fabia. The previous two generations have been rather good interpretations of a difficult genre, the conservative but attractive small car. The first version displayed some nice automotive design tropes: the smooth flowing bonnet to a-pillar and neatly shaped vestigial boot. The rear graphics and sculpture worked very harmoniously, very much the work of designers who were unafraid to Continue reading
Here at DTW we like to find out about what´s on sale around the world. We´ve looked at some Japanese and Chinese market cars. Today we go to South Africa and peer at a Honda Brio, just to see.
The Honda Brio is not on sale in Europe, being intended for emerging markets. It comes in two forms, hatchback and saloon. Since tiny saloons are held in almost complete contempt, we present the saloon. What is it that we find of most interest?
How does it stand with the gold-standard of engines in the C/D class?
Patchy is the answer. Opel and Citroen still offer V6s, a diesel 3.0 and a 2.8 petrol respectively. Elsewhere it is a story of decline, staring in the middle of the last decade.
Ford offered a pint-sized V6 in their Sierra and in the Taunus long before that. Peugeot had a pleasant V6 in their refined and elegant 406. Opel routinely offered a V6 in the Vectra and still do so. Others in the C/D class never really tried. The Mazda 626 had a V6 in 1992 but not since then have they tried anything larger than a 4-pot (but did give the Xedos6 a six-cylinder). Honda has majored on 4-cylinder engines and VTEC jiggery pokery. Citroen installed a V6 in late model Xantias and in the first series C5 and still do. That would be to offer comfort to the horse-box drawing classes, I suppose.
Let´s take a further look at the decline…