Tuesday, April 30, 2013
A new post on Engadget has announced new software enhancements, and new housings. One of the new housings is the Skeleton Frame above. As you can see, there is a hole cut out of the bottom, allowing access to the mic input. One can assume that Sony has solved the camera design problem with a housing redesign...sort of. Still, I find it amusing that Sony let such poor design aesthetics out the door. Why offer the mic input if you can't access them? The most important software enhancement is the availability of 1080p recording at 60fps.
A new Sony Action cam was around $270 and is now $240. However, when you add $30 for the new Skeleton Frame, you are back up to $270. Sony's Action Camera is somewhat more affordable, offers an external mic, and has some image stabilization capabilities.
I think Sony's Action Cam is a pretty good value, but a horrible design. The new Skeleton Frame makes the camera more useful. I am strongly considering picking one of them up in the near future.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The Ford Fiesta ST made a media debut in Europe in March of 2013. The reviews of the vehicle from the US and international media were extremely positive. The vehicle reviewed by the media was a 3 door European version of the Fiesta ST.
In the United States we will receive a 5 door Fiesta ST. For the 2013 Ford Fiesta Movement, a number of agents will have the opportunity to drive the 2014 Fiesta ST for 8 months. It is entirely possible that the Ford Fiesta Movement agents will truly be the first people in the world outside of Ford to drive the 5 door US Fiesta ST. So, it is entirely possible that if you want first impressions of the US Fiesta ST, you will have to go to the Fiesta agents rather than the automotive media. It is also possible that Fiesta Agents may have the vehicle MONTHS before the automotive press.
The selection of 100 Ford Fiesta agents will be taking place in early May. If you are nuts about the Fiesta ST, I suggest going to www.Fiestamovement.com, and following the ST agents. I expect them to provide a more enthusiast perspective of the vehicle.
Update!: Bryan @BRGT350 and Brandon @racetech0722 Redeker have been selected as Ford Fiesta Movement agents. They will most likely receive the Fiesta ST, once the Movement officially begins. Follow them on Twitter to get the first Fiesta ST impressions and reviews. Congratulations to them!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I have come across a number of car reviews and articles about the Buick Verano and Acura ILX. My simple statement is that both vehicles should not exist. These two vehicles pollute and dilute the goals of their respective brands. The Verano and ILX are supposed to be entry level luxury vehicles. However, under their skins are a Chevy Cruze and a Honda Civic. Both companies didn't do a very good job of disguising the origins.
What is an entry level luxury vehicle? The BMW 1, the Audi A3, the Lexus ES? The Buick Verano and Acura ILX are pretenders. In fact, in the automotive world, no other automaker has more identity issues than Acura. Acura is supposed to be a premium brand, but they really do not offer a vehicle that competes with the rear wheel drive competitors. It's almost a Japanese Lincoln. Determining brand identity can be difficult, but adding substandard products to a premium brand is a big move in the wrong direction. Think about the Jaguar X-Type. The X-Type was an entry level Jaguar based on the Ford Mondeo. The X-Type was a flop, and I think customers could tell it was a phony; just like the Verano and ILX.
On the other hand, I think that Mercedes-Benz is going to be offering an ideal entry level premium sedan, the CLA. The new CLA has a substantial amount of power, and unlike previous US market Mercedes-Benz models, is front wheel drive. Audi has offered the A3 wagon for a number of years, which was essentially a fancy VW Golf. This new Mercedes will be one to watch, and somewhat of an experiment for the US division. I would consider the BMW 1 Series a failure due to it's unflattering looks, and extremely high price. At least with the CLA you have a distinct vehicle from the MB C-Class, and people will be able to drive them and determine what experience they would like for themselves.
So, Buick and Acura, I think these vehicles will go down in history as X-Types. Vehicles that did no favors for the brand, brought in no young customers, and sat on dealer lots. If you had $30K to spend, would you spend it on a FWD Acura, Buick, or Mercedes CLA? The looks, badge, and engine of the CLA look like a winner to me.
The video above is my Fiesta Movement Application video. I was an agent in the Fiesta Movement in 2009. Ford has brought back the social media project for the updated 2014 Ford Fiesta. The three biggest changes in the Fiesta for 2013 is the availability of the 3 cylinder Ecoboost engine, the 197 HP turbocharged ST, and the MyFordTouch module.
The 3 cylinder Ecoboost will not be available for the Fiesta Movement, say my sources, but there should be a small number of Fiesta ST cars available. If you watch my video above and if this were some sort of gambling game, you could say I put everything on ST.
The Fiesta ST should be an amazing vehicle, and has the potential to go down in automotive history as legendary. It is the car that every auto enthusiast has asked for; a truly powerful subcompact hot hatch. The ST has nearly as much horsepower and more torque than the current generation VW Golf GTI, which is a class larger. The Fiesta outguns the Juke, the Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S, and Honda Civic Si. The car's only competition is the Focus ST, which is a few thousand dollars more.
Still, what is the Fiesta Movement really about? The Fiesta Movement sounds fun, but marketing is about sales. It's about moving that metal. It is up to these 100 agents to reach a diverse audience, and lend their personality to the Fiesta brand.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Ford Fiestamovement is back. What does that mean?
In 2009 Ford Motor Company developed a social media marketing experiment to launch their upcoming small car, the Ford Fiesta. Ford recruited 100 Fiesta "agents" around the country to drive the car, go on missions, and provide social media content. Agents would drive European versions of the Fiesta, because US version was a year away from production. According to Ford, the Fiestamovement was a success, and was more cost effective than traditional marketing avenues. Thousands of people applied, and I was one of the lucky 100 to be selected. Throughout the summer and fall of 2009, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr were always alive with agents posting thousands of images and videos about the Ford Fiesta.
As for myself, I was excited about the car before the Fiestamovement concept. Agents were required to post one video a month for 6 months. I produced multiple videos a month, because I had so much enthusiasm for the vehicle.
An email went out today to Fiestamovement alumni suggesting we apply for the new edition of the movement. Ford will apparently be selecting a some "celebrities", Fiestamovement alumni, and a brand new crop of agents. There are indications that this edition of the Fiestamovement will have a focus on crowd-sourcing content from the agents to be used in marketing. This time Fiesta Agents will have the vehicle for 8 months rather than 6. There may also be the possibility that agents will have the option of driving new 1.0 liter 3 cylinder Fiesta, and having cars equipped with MyFordTouch; which is new on the Fiesta for 2014.
What gets me excited is the vehicle above. The 2014 Turbocharged Fiesta ST may actually be one of the available Fiestamovement Agent vehicles. The Fiesta ST is up there on the list of possibilities of "my next new car". The Fiesta ST is lightweight, and has nearly 200 horsepower. In my opinion, the looks and size of the vehicle are better than it's Focus ST brother. The new Fiesta ST has available Recaro seats, and MyFordTouch system. In addition, the manual transmission has 6 gears, something you can't get on a Subaru WRX.
If you are interested in being a part of the Fiestamovement, go to www.fiestamovement.com. You will need to fill out an application and submit a video entry. Good luck.