30 World Debuts Scheduled for 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

The Los Angeles Auto Show unveiled 30 world debuts, totaling 60 vehicle unveilings overall in front of a global audience. The show kicked off with three press event days, Nov., 18-20 and opens to the public Nov., 21-30, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Almost every manufacturer has news to make in Los Angeles, but several automakers stand out with multiple global premieres of significant new vehicles.

Audi presented one of its biggest LA Auto Shows to date, with up to eight total debuts, three of which are global, all presented by chairman of the board, Rupert Stadler. Mercedes-Benz featured three world premieres, which were showcased alongside the brand’s two North American debuts, while Porsche held several world reveals. Mazda featured three global premieres, one of which is an all-new vehicle. BMW presented two world debuts and three North American debuts, and Chevrolet committed to two global premieres.

Cadillac has already announced its world reveal of the high-performance 2015 ATS-V, while Chrysler introduced its completely refreshed 300 and 300C models.

Scion unveiled a global premiere of an all-new vehicle, the iM. Other brands making big statements with world premieres include Acura, Lexus, Toyota and Volkswagen.

The LA Auto Show is one of the premiere shows in North America and it’s always on the cutting edge presenting the latest in new technology, alternative fuel vehicles,  the largest luxury vehicle collection and the latest concepts and future design ideas. It is also a place where nearly a million car enthusiast come each year for a “hands-on”, get behind the wheel experience as part of their new car shopping experience.

About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo

The Los Angeles Auto Show was founded in 1907, and is the first major North American auto show of the season each year.   The Connected Car Expo (CCE) is the automotive industry’s most comprehensive showcase of new mobility solutions. The LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow the Los Angeles Auto Show on Twitter at or via Facebook at and sign up for alerts at For more information on CCE please visit


Amp Your Social Media Strategy with Video Content

Get the Edge With Video
The Value of Social Sharing Social media dominates the global communication and information share of today’s society. Video content can greatly amplify your social media marketing on all spheres of the social platform. Wahoo’s, fresh serve restaurants, got into social media marketing before social media was even defined.  We recently sat down with Ed Santos, Creative Director, “of everything good”, as Eddy likes to say, for an in-depth video conversation that produced a series of five webisodes that profile the brands maverick-style, history, menu, culture and marketing strategy, that contribute to its success. There’s no doubt that video content can help  brands or companies get the edge in the world of social media marketing.

The Value of Social Sharing
Excellent video content can dramatically increase social lead conversions and the overall ROI of your social media marketing; the investment of time and resources is well worth it. Companies that have not yet jumped on the video content train are wasting an opportunity. A great way to test the waters is to create a short, highly shareable video. It could be about your brand identity, culture, products, events, behind the scenes processes, services or operations, etc. The list goes on and on depending on what you want to share with your audience. Once you start sharing, fans will connect and share content and let you know more about what they want, like and enjoy about your brand.

Social Media = Social Capital

PeoplematrixSocial media marketing engages your audience, builds awareness and grows your fan base. Social networks are becoming more and more central to the modern way of life, and social sharing is highly valuable to companies seeking to promote their brand, products or services. Social networks harness a great deal of social capital.  With effective social video content, your company can harness this capital to attract a wide, captive audience.  A strong social media strategy could mean big rewards in terms of website traffic, lead generation and SEO for your company.

Everyone has a story to tell…what’s yours?


Excerpts from Social Media Today.


How to Protect Your Brand

Protecting your brand both online and off from pirated brand name and trademark abuse can cost save companies literally millions of dollars in lost revenue, stolen by phony knock-off websites with closely matching brand website domain names. We shot an informative and enlightening series of interviews with a leading company in the field CitizenHawk, who’s singled minded purpose is protecting brands, large and small. What they have to say could help save your brand or your clients brand from major revenue loss and a black eye on your brand’s image.


Sprint Velocity-Connecting Drivers with Technology

As consumer demand for more user-friendly technology expands, automakers are partnering with key companies to more easily integrate complex components in vehicles to provide the best in connected services, whether its music, news, sports or entertainment features and more. Customization is the key customers demand; see what Sprint Velocity is up to!

Convergence Hits the Road with Sprint Velocity

Sprint unveiled Sprint Velocity, a comprehensive global end-to-end solution designed specifically for automakers as part of the Technology Showcase at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. Sprint introduced its Sprint Velocity service to a packed audience of automotive media and auto industry executives during the show’s Press Days.

During the press conference, Sprint executives showcased how Sprint Velocity helps auto manufacturers more easily integrate the complex components and vendor relationships needed to provide the best in connected services in autos and passenger trucks – whether it’s music, news, weather, sports and other infotainment features, security, navigation, remote connections for mobile devices, emergency services and engine diagnostics.

“Sprint Velocity enables auto manufacturers to customize the variety of connected features inside the vehicle, through the simplicity of a single point of mobile integration and enablement,” said Wayne Ward, vice president-Emerging Solutions, Sprint. “Automakers simply collaborate with Sprint on the specific features they desire for their vehicles and Sprint will handle the rest. We believe Sprint Velocity is the most technologically advanced and most comprehensive connected services platform for auto manufacturers, wherever they’re located around the globe.”

According to Machina Research, 90 percent of new passenger cars are expected to have some of form of connectivity platform by 2020. Machina forecasts the connected cars market will reach $600 billion by 2020, the largest category in a $4.5 trillion market for connected devices and services.*

With Sprint Velocity, automakers have the potential to generate new sources of revenue while economizing on cost, because Sprint can handle the entire mobile integration of the in-car experience. Sprint Velocity also helps build better customer loyalty between the automaker and the consumer by developing deeper, ongoing relationships with their customers directly.

“Sprint has combined its expertise in wireless technology, devices and consumer marketing into a new core competency that automakers can tap into,” said Ward. “Sprint is a trailblazer in the expanded category of mobile integrator, enabling automakers with an open, modular and agnostic network platform instead of just network connections. With Sprint Velocity, we’ve taken a critical step forward in creating value by combining technical integration with an intense level of expertise in wireless customer experience, customer relationship management and wireless applications.”



2014 Kia Forte-More Style, More Potential

2014 Kia Forte is attempting to make its mark in a crowded field.  Kia says the 2014 Forte is, “rock solid”. It will have to be to compete in the crowded compact car field. The new Forte has huge potential for U.S. sales growth but success may boil down to its pricing. Take a personal walk-around with Michael Sprague, Executive VP of Marketing and Communications and see what you think?

Here are some review highlights from MotorTrend on the new 2014 Forte

Kia called the 2014 Forte “rock solid” at the 2012 L.A. auto show, but we’d just describe the new four-door as far more stylish than the one it replaces. Premium design touches include a new grille with a gray matte-like finish, which in person looks far less plasticky than the one on the outgoing car. The 2014 Kia Forte has done so much growing up that , Kia says the Forte will again be classified by the EPA as a midsize car. The term, “rock solid”, may refer to the fact that the new Forte was built with more high-strength steel than the Toyota Corolla. Kia also says the car’s transmission fluid has been designed to last throughout the car’s life.

The 2014 Kia Forte replaces a car that fell into obscurity, which itself took the place of the Spectra, a compact Kia most people forgot ever existed.  With the Fortes bold styling cues, competitive dynamics and some added premium features,   the 2014 Forte, has huge potential for U.S. sales growth, but given the crowded compact segment, the car’s success may largely depend on its pricing.


The new Forte sedan has bolder styling without resembling a 7/8-scale Optima. Longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing Forte, the new car has a take on Kia’s trademark Tiger Nose grille and bold — some might say over-styled — headlights with available HIDs and LED accents.


Most 2014 Fortes will be powered by Kia’s 1.8-liter I-4, a naturally aspirated unit that makes 148 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 131 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic, just like the mechanically related Hyundai Elantra. (That car recently had its EPA-rated mileage figures changed to 28/38 mpg city/highway, still a respectable figure for a compact sedan.) The Forte EX will be available with a reworked version of Kia’s 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 173 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 154 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm. The previous-gen Forte’s optional 2.4-liter four has apparently been dropped from the lineup.


Inside the new car, Kia says the Forte’s instrument panel conveys serenity, “as if small waves are radiating from a pebble dropped in a pond.” We’re not sure about that bit of design-speak, but buyers should notice that the center stack is canted 10 degrees toward the driver.

As with the Hyundai Elantra, the new Kia Forte will offer a number of upscale-for-the-segment features when it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2013, including front and rear heated seats, engine stop-start, and rear-seat air vents.


2014 Honda Plug-In Hybrid-Puts the Competition on Notice!

Honda’s new entry in the Green Car market makes a splash with the claim that its new hybrids, which include an Accord Hybrid in addition to the Plug-In Hybrid model, will achieve the best fuel efficiency in their respective class. Will the new Honda’s move to the front of the ECO class? Take a look at this personal walk-around and see what you think!

Here are some highlights from and, reviews.

Fuel Efficiency: The Honda Hybrids have put Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet et al on notice, with Honda achieving fuel efficiency nothing short of remarkable. 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid – 115 MPGe. The 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid will go on sale in California and New York on Jan. 15, 2013 with a nationwide rollout in the months to follow.

The EPA rates the Plug-In at 115 MPGe, handily beating the Toyota Prius Plug-InChevrolet Volt and upcoming Ford Fusion Energi. While the all-electric range is unremarkable at around 13 miles, the savings will stack up with a gasoline-only EPA rating of 47 city/46 highway/46 combined mpg once the EV range is exhausted.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid – 49/45/47 mpg. The dual-electric-motor 2014 Accord Hybrid will go on sale nationwide in Summer 2013. Honda hasn’t released pricing info as of this published post, but we estimate around $28,000 to match the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid (both available now).

Pricing:  Pricing will start at $39,780 – a pretty penny to be sure, but this is a lot of car. The Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid a is priced a bit higher than the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi at 39,495, which in turn is a little more than the Chevy Volt’s starting price of $39,145. Toyota’s plug-in Prius remains the low price point leader, starting at $32,000, but is also a smaller vehicle overall. While the Accord is the most expensive of the bunch, it will also be one of the most efficient.

Summary: Accord Plug-In drivers will see 13 miles of all-electric range, and EPA fuel economy ratings of 47 mpg city, 46 highway, and 46 combined in regular hybrid mode. Those figures are better than we’re expecting from the Fusion Energi, but a little off the plug-in Prius’ 51 city, 49 highway and 50 combined. It’s the first car in the U.S. to meet the new LEV3/SULEV20 emissions standards, and will get single-occupant carpool access in California.

What do you think about the Accord Plug-In’s fuel efficiency and pricing? How do you think it compares to the king of the ECO hill, the Toyota Prius Plug-In? Let us know your comments.


2014 Kia Sorento – More than Meets The Eye

At first glance the 2014 Kia Sorento may not stop you in your tracks with its modest exterior face-lift changes. But there is more than meets the eye beneath the sheet metal that is new and significant about this Sorento that will make you take a second look.

Here are some highlights from & reviews.

It’s true the Sorento doesn’t look radically different from the 2013 model. In fact, it looks much the same from the side, and only modestly face lifted at the front and rear, with new LED tail lamps and bright-chrome or black-mesh grilles making the strongest attempt at a fresh look from the outside.

What’s inside, and what’s under the hood, could make the most difference on the 2014 Sorento. The instrument panel has been more significantly redesigned, with revamped infotainment and a new reconfigurable TFT gauge cluster. In addition to the bigger eight-inch touch-screen infotainment systems and next-generation UVO eServices features, the Sorento gets a number of new features, including available ventilated/cooled front seats, second-row sunshades, and an AC power inverter.

With the introduction of a 290-hp direct-injection, all-aluminum V-6, the Sorento should deliver the strong performance that we’ve appreciated in V-6 Sorento’s, but with better fuel economy. And with a more rigid body structure, new electric power steering, suspension tweaks, we’re hoping that the new Sorento will ride and drive better—as well as post improvements on its already-good safety ratings.


  • Competes with: Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, Subaru Forester
  • Looks like: Like its Santa Fe sibling, the Sorento gets a more sophisticated look for 2014.
  • Drivetrain: A 191-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder returns; a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 is new.
  • Hits dealerships: Early 2013

Summary Review
More than 80% of the Sorento’s parts are new or significantly redesigned, according to Kia. The crossover is lower and wider, with a more aggressive-looking stance. Its grille gets a makeover too, with silver or black mesh finishes. Also new are LED- accented headlights. Optional 19-inch wheels are another first for the Sorento.

Trim levels carry over and include LX, EX, LX V6, EX V6 and SX; a top-of-the-line SX Limited is new for 2014. LX and EX models use a version of last year’s 191-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Optional on those versions and standard on all others is a new 290-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 with direct injection. It replaces a 276-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.


2013 Toyota RAV4-First Look! Big Changes for Small Sport Utility

In the late 1990s, Toyota launch the RAV4, thereby creating the smaller SUV segment and what many coined the “cute-ute” craze. Toyota dominated the new segment for years but not anymore. Now there are multiple competitive offerings to choose from. Can the new 2013 Toyota RAV4 reclaim the sales crown to put it back on top?

Here is MotorTrends review:

Recent monthly sales reports show the top two spots usually occupied by the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape. Toyota is hoping its fourth-generation 2013 Toyota RAV4, which is slightly smaller than its predecessor but bears sharper styling and features a host of upgrades, will help fix the situation. Part of the original RAV4′s charm was its diminutive footprint. The small Toyota was easy to maneuver and fairly fun to drive, yet still provided the high seating position and versatile interior Americans love so much about SUVs. Though it doesn’t go all the way back, the 2013 RAV4 does take a step toward its roots. While it retains its predecessor’s 104.7-inch wheelbase, the 2013 RAV4 is 2 inches shorter overall than the outgoing model (179.9 inches) and about an inch lower (65.4 inches). One thing that grew, albeit slightly, is the width, which now sits at 72.6 inches versus the 2012 model’s 71.5. The maximum passenger capacity drops from seven to five via the elimination of the third row.

Power Train Performance:
Under the hood, Toyota is no longer offering the 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 that made the third-gen RAV4 so entertaining. Instead, the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder essentially carries over, producing 176 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (3 fewer horses than the outgoing model). Thankfully, Toyota finally ditched the dated four-speed automatic in favor of a new six-speed gearbox equipped with Eco and Sport modes.

Fuel Economy:
The automaker says the front-drive 2013 RAV4 is expected to receive a 24/31 mpg city/highway rating from the EPA, improving on the 22/28 mpg rating for the outgoing model. All-wheel-drive RAV4s should achieve 22/29 mpg, a 1 and 2 mpg improvement, respectively, over the third-gen. No word if Toyota will mimic the Escape by offering additional power-train options or will stick to a single engine choice like the CR-V.

Driving Experience:
Toyota says the new RAV4 will provide a “more dynamic” driving experience, thanks to a retuned suspension and electric power steering. Then there’s the Sport Mode, which wakes up the car with sharper throttle response and revised steering tuning. In the “S” mode, drivers can hear engine revs rise with a “blip,” not a feature we’d expect on a crossover. All-wheel-drive RAV4s in Sport Mode and in Lock Mode below about 25 mph can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels.

Trim Levels:
Available in LE, XLE, and Limited trim levels, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 starts in LE form with 17-inch steel wheels, a six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, power side mirrors, power windows, eight airbags, Bluetooth, rearview camera, and 60/40 split/folding second-row seats. Upgrade to the 2013 Toyota RAV4 XLE and you’ll be riding on 17-inch alloy wheels and sitting in bucket seats with side bolstering. Given the success of the Camry’s SE trim, we wonder how much time will pass before the automaker to offers a RAV4 SE.

RAV4 Limited:
At the top of the 2013 RAV4 lineup is the Limited model, which comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, programmable power lift-gate, SofTex fabric with French stitching on the seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The front seats of the RAV4 Limited are heated, and the driver’s seat has memory settings and power lumbar. We’ve already seen the SofTex material in other Toyota vehicles including the Prius and Tacoma. On the new RAV4, it covers the center armrest as well as parts of the door and dash panels. Along with a more modern center stack that features a standard 6.1-inch touch screen, the SofTex gives the new crossover a slightly more upscale appeal, something definitely lacking on the outgoing model. With the weight savings Toyota engineers found by using high-strength steel, the automaker added an acoustic windshield and additional sound-deadening materials. Check every option box and you’ll have added a 576-watt, 11-speaker sound system with a navigation system, a blind-spot monitoring system, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert that operates when the vehicle is reversing at speeds below 15 mph.

Side Hinged Lift Gate Is Gone
Current Toyota RAV4 owners may be pleased to know that the crossover no longer uses a side-hinged lift-gate door. Open the conventional, roof-hinged tailgate and you’ll find 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space that expands to 73.4 cubic feet with the second row folded down. With the rear seats in their upright position, that’s 1.2 cubic feet larger than the outgoing RAV4 and the current Honda CR-V, and 4.1 cubic feet more than the Ford Escape. Towing capacity on the Toyota and Honda is 1500 pounds, while the Ford can tow up to 3500 pounds with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

Competitors like the Escape and CR-V may pose a threat to the RAV4′s sales, but with updates to the crossover’s interior, design, and transmission, Toyota may be ready to reclaim the sales crown in a segment it defined and has occupied for nearly 20 years.



50 Vehicle Debuts Confirmed for the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

With the 2012 LA Auto Show in less than two weeks, we wanted to re-share with our viewers a recent  brand profile from the LA Auto Show. This year the auto show will feature world debuts ranging from electric vehicles to performance and luxury designs from a global array of the world’s top automakers. The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show will run from Nov. 30 – December 9.

The Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the premiere auto shows in the world.  Last year’s event featured over 1000 vehicles with 50 debuts that included 20 world debuts of vehicles never seen anywhere else before LA. The LA Auto Show brand is unique, stylish, trendy, and has become the epicenter of the green movement. There are at least 16 automotive design studios in Southern California, so LA is often the first place consumers will see the latest concept vehicles. Auto shows continue to play a major role as a key consumer touch point and influencer prior to their buying decision. Go behind the scenes with BI as we get the “inside scoop” on what makes the LA Auto Show such a successful brand story in part one of a two part profile.

Los Angeles is home to the largest luxury car market in the country so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 50% of the vehicle debuts last year where in the luxury category. In fact, LA boast the largest Rolls Royce dealership in the world! LA is also the home to the largest Hybrid vehicle market so you know you will see all that the market has to offer in alternative fuel transportation. The Youth Market is also huge in LA so they present a wide variety of youth market products that always includes cutting edge concepts and “funky” tricked out customs with more “eye candy” than your senses can eat!

A growing trend at the LA Auto Show is emerging technologies from Silicon Valley, according to Brendan Flynn, Director of Communications at the LA Auto Show. With LA being the launching point of so many trends it’s no wonder that “early adopters” are plentiful in So Cal and thus, getting the latest auto tech in front of them to play with and react to, just makes sense.

We sat down for an interview with Brendan Flynn to get an “up close and personal” perspective of why LA is unique and why auto shows still rock as automotive brand events with consumers and auto makers alike. Brendan’s interview yielded so much good stuff we decided to break it into two parts. So go behind the scenes with Bas we get the “inside scoop” on what makes the LA Auto Show such a successful brand story in part one of a two-part profile.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our BI Email blasts!


How to Market Complex Products

Part I – Marketing Complex Subjects

If you have ever had to market a complex product or service or need to become more aware of the subject, this is the series for you!

Ken Chaplin Senior Vice President and CMO for Experian Consumer Services share’s his insights and expertise in marketing complex subjects and products. Ken defines a complex product or subject from other topics and helps us better understand and know if your product or subject falls into the complex category and why humor just might be the best approach with your marketing efforts? Chaplin also reveals why Experian chose entertainment humor to break out from the pack in credit services to gain the lean in consumer awareness.

Part II — Standing out in the Marketplace

Discover what Experian did to differentiates their brand in a crowded marketplace through their marketing campaign. We get the inside scoop on how the Free Credit Score music band delivered the core message in a fun, disarming style that takes the fear out of a complex topic. The master strategy reveals more than meets the eye at first glance and connects with their target demographic. Ken Chaplin tells us why mass media was the best medium to deliver the message.

Part III – Multi-platform Engagement

As the CMO for Experian Consumer Services, Ken Chaplin opens up about the brands marketing strategy to gain consumer awareness. Experian is big on customer engagement and we learn how they used different media to support their strategy for success. We discover how the musical band that fronts for Experian products help them achieve a brand awareness level in the high 80 percentile, an industry best.

Part IV – Process of Bridging

Need to know more about bridging the gap between your product, company or service and the customer you need to reach?  As a former marketer for Crocs Footwear and the Walt Disney Company and now Experian, Ken gives us a few of his “personal tips” on what he calls “The Process of Bridging”.

Part V – Maxing your Marketing

Whether you are working with a major marketing budget or limited funding, there are ways to max your marketing efforts with what Ken Chaplin calls the ABT approach. We wrap things up as Ken tells us what he sees trending in marketing so you can stay on the edge of the trend wave instead of underneath it!

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