Archive for January, 2007

European Hybrid? What’s that??

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

In Europe, hybrid cars are still highly theoretical.But officially, there aren’t any seen on the streets. Why? Some countries, including Austria, have greater diesel sales than petrol.

Some sources believe it is coming, but also state it is only an intermediate solution.

BBC Article, Car of the Year 2005

ING Loves Renault

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Maybe ING saw our posting and saw the benefit of a sponsorship with the Renault Formula 1 team. Maybe they are just making too much money and need to “make an investment.” Either way the Dutch Banking and Insurance giant has signed a 3-year deal with team Renault for some prime ad space, and name sponsorship, on the next series of cars.

It is quite clear that Formula One reaches far more people than NASCAR in the US or GT racing in Europe. Despite running 2007 sans Fernando Alonso (two-time F1 champion), Renault has a full-sponsorship. ING CEO Michel Tilmant is right to think that F1 is an opportunity to build the ING brand globally in a quick way. The Shell-Ferrari relationship is a similar example.

Lessons in brand management that when you spend marketing dollars, they should be spent to gain positive exposure for the brand. The idea is to associate the brand with a winning concept. Renault has certainly proven itself a winner the last two years. It is estimated that the contract was equivalent to 5% of ING’s global marketing budget. We estimate that such a deal is worth over $85 million per annum.

One final note: our earlier analysis stated that sponsorship opportunities would come as a result of big tobacco being forced out of F1 racing in most countries. That foresight has proven correct as ING will replace a number of previous Renault sponsors, including Japanese Tobacco.

Top Gear is Back, Hammond Alive!

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Yes, believe it or not, Top Gear returned to BBC2 tonight avec Richard Hammond. Hammond, as you may recall was in a horrific accident while commanding a jet car while filming the program. Apparently, Clarkson and May could be bothered to pull the plug on him while on life support, so he’s back and better than ever. Check out his blog entry at: http://www.topgear.com/blogs/planettopgear/018-watching-my-crash/

European automakers can rejoice because it means that they may finally get their cars featured and reviewed before the largest TV programme audience in the world. If you missed it, Finalgear.com will likely have a torrent soon, so you will be able to view it.

Crash footage of Hammand can be viewed here as well: http://www.autoblog.com/2007/01/28/hammonds-crash-available-on-top-gears-website

Car of the Year Awards Winter 2007

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Yes, it’s that time of the year, the picks for the best cars as of Winter 2007.

Which European cars are by matter of fact, “the best”? Find out below:

Best Supercar over $500,000: Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Best Supercar under $500,000: Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

Best Ultra Luxury Convertible: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Best Ultra Luxury Sedan: Rolls-Royce Phantom

Best Ultra Luxury Coupé: Bentley GT

Best Hot Hatchback: VW GTI

Best Hot Sedan: Audi S8

Best sound: (tie) Ferrari 599 GTB/Ferrari F430

Best sports car under $100,000: Porsche 911 Carrera S

Best sports car over $100,000: Aston Martin DB9 Volante

Best new sports car: Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Best Small Car: Mini Cooper S (John Cooper Works Edition)

Best Old Car Experience: Caterham Lotus 7 SV

Most economical and fun sports car: Lotus Elise

Mid-sized Sedan: BMW M5

Best Car for Old People Who Don’t Give a Damn: Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Best SUV: Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG

Best minivan/mpv (yes, I’m ACTUALLY including this category): Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG

Jeremy Clarkson on Germany

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Some weekend enjoyment for you…

From Jeremy Clarkson’s “Meet the Neighbours” series.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=563403645604465846

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

We here at BeyondTheKM are back from holiday break and we’re readying some new commentary and analysis for 2007.

In the next days and weeks look for commentary about the German autobahn, our picks for the top cars of 2007, and prediction for the European auto industry for 2007!