Blog Posts by Margaret Zewatsky

NHTSA Connected Vehicle Clinics Wrap Up in California

NHTSA wrapped up their Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program in California this month, concluding a five month, six city consumer research initiative that assessed driver acceptance of connected vehicle technology. The drivers response to the new connected vehicle technology has been well-received according to Ray Resendes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, who also attended the Summit on the State of the Connected Vehicle hosted by the Connected Vehicle Trade Association last week....R...
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Electric Vehicles - Back to Basics

The Department of Energy has posted an introduction to electric vehicles on Youtube. It's pretty basic, but maybe that's where the general public needs to start in order to lure them away from the comforts of their gas powered cars and trucks. The video can't hurt considering electric vehicles represent less than 1% of retail registration. But with about 7,000 Nissan LEAFs and a little more than 5,000 Chevy Volts registered through November of 2011, I think they are off to a good start...Read...
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Minivan Glory at the North American International Auto Show

I've been to many auto shows and have seen a bunch of concept cars, but it has been a long time since I've seen a full size minivan on the revolving platform. At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, a Chrysler 700C, in all its glory, was on display and showing what could be the next generation of minivan for Chrysler. I'm glad the automaker is still investing in the segment even though the minivan segment only represented 3.3% of CYTD November 2012 vehicle registrations and sales...Re...
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Most Watched Car Ads of 2011

Autoweek just posted a list of the five most watched car ads of 2011. Of the five ads, four of them were for new vehicles: Kia Soul, Chrysler 200, Passat VW and the FIAT 500. The fifth one was for Bridgestone. I thought I would take a look at how these five most watched ads equated to new vehicle sales. U.S. Light Vehicle October YTD Vehicle Registrations Make Model CYTD Oct-2011 Kia Soul 86,446 FIAT 500 14,364 Volkswagen Passat 7,982 Chrysler 200 66,538 Of the most watched ads, the Kia Soul was...
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Ban All Non-Emergency Cell Phone Use in Vehicles?

On Tuesday, the NTSB recommended the ban of all non-emergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. Wow! That is a big statement for the auto industry considering all of the connectivity plans the OEMs have and will roll out in their new product launches. I think telematics and connectivity in vehicles hold an enormous potential to bring added safety and attention to driving. Examples of telematics programs focusing...
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Brazil Automotive Market

Of all the blogs I have written about the BRIC nations, I realized I have never written about the opportunity in the Brazilian automotive market. I must have been blinded by the crazy growth numbers of China and future market potenial of India. Brazil has been a consistent Top 10 market for more than a decade and will continue to be through 2020, according to Polk's global automotive forecast. Brazil's automotive market accounted for 2.68 million vehicles in 2010 and is expected to grow by...
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Nissan LEAF Test Drive Excitement

I had the pleasure of test driving a Nissan LEAF this past weekend when the Nissan Drive Electric tour came to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Michigan. Nissan put on a pretty good show with good information about the battery, service schedule and cost difference between gas and electric. The test drive wasn't bad either. The LEAF joystick/shifter and range meter gave you enough contrast from what you were used to that you knew you were driving something different, but the same...
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Excited About My Electric Vehicle Test Drive

I'm excited about my upcoming Nissan Leaf test drive this Friday. I want to be optimistic about the future of electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure and I'm considering the purchase of an electric vehicle since my husband has a 60+ mile commute each day.  But so many questions are going through my mind about electric vehicles.
  • Will an electric vehicle have the durability needed to withstand 20,000 or more miles a year?
  • How many years can you realistically get out of the battery or the...
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Distracted Driving - Now and Then

I've been thinking a lot about distracted driving ever since the Telematics Detroit conference. I just returned from a Washington D.C. road trip and was thinking of telematics distractions today vs. the last time I road tripped it from Detroit to D.C., back in the 80s. You decide the level of safety gained from telematics.Radio - Last week we had Pandora on and we went from state to state without a break in our music. In the 80s, you had to take a hand off the wheel and turn the dial on the...
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Are Telematics the Answer to Distracted Driving?

I came across this image, which lays out some statistics on distracted driving that I thought was really telling and even scary. Most (if not all) people reading this blog have been guilty of taking our eyes and hands off the road to get one more thing out of our smartphones. This image was timely for me because I recently attended the Detroit Telematics Update where driver distraction was front and center next to discussions on the car being the ultimate mobile device. It gets me thinking....
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More Kids or a Minivan?

I haven't blogged in awhile about my love for minivans, but my love is still strong. I am a SUV-driving mom, but I would gladly trade in my ride for an automatic side door opening, stow and go storing, lower deck height driving piece of pure family enjoyment we all know as the not so mini minivan. Obviously by the dwindling sales numbers over time, my husband is not the only one who wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan. But I came across this column about a family who jokingly decided...Read...
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Vehicle Density in Emerging Markets

Vehicle density is a key indicator to show the maturity of an automotive market. In the glory days of the U.S. auto market (back in 2001), the U.S. had 453 vehicles per 1,000 people, but today the U.S. market is at 419 and is forecasted to be around 414 by 2015. The growth has shifted to the emerging markets and the numbers are very different.Russia leads the emerging BRIC countries with 235 vehicles per 1,000 people in 2010 and is forecasted for 293 vehicles per 1,000 people by 2015....
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What's your Favorite Green Car?

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought about what my favorite green car might be. I thought about the new Chevy Volt, the Prius, the hybrid Fusion and of course the new Leaf. But of all the hybrid and electric vehicles I could think of, none of them topped my favorite green car. The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS tops my list. With an optional (and rare) L72 engine pumping out 425 HP, how can you not get excited about this car? And how can you forget the convertible? On this nice almost-spring day...
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India Market Mix

I've blogged before about my excitement for the Indian auto market and wanted to give you a little closer look at the vehicle mix. India's light vehicle forecast for 2011 is just under 3 million vehicles. This 3 million includes passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles. But passenger and commercial vehicles make up only 20% of the 2009-2010 vehicle market mix for 2009/2010 according to the Society of Indian Automotive Manufactures. Two wheelers are the top selling vehicle segment in...Rea...
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Chicago Commits to Electric Vehicles

On Tuesday, February 22, the city of Chicago announced an $8.9 million electric vehicle infrastructure plan to add 280 recharging stations in and around the city by the end of 2011. This is right ahead of the planned 2011 4th quarter Chevy Volt launch and fall 2011 Nissan Leaf launch into the Chicago area.With such a large commitment within the next 2 years, I think the OEMs will be modifying their electric vehicle market roll-out strategies and adding Chicago to the list of sooner rather...Re...
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India in the Automotive Spotlight

The Indian auto market has been one of my favorites to watch during the past few years even though many times India was overshadowed by China. But now that China is ending their vehicle scrappage and incentive programs as well as limiting registrations in Beijing to try and manage traffic and parking congestion, India's growth prospects for 2011 are getting more attention.In the first 11 months of 2010, India sold over 2.1 million passenger vehicles. A quick view of India's domestic passenger...R...
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Keep Telematics Simple

I am currently attending the 10th Annual Telematics Detroit 2010. I left the first day with three main points: keep it simple, location services are key and telematics are not just for the luxury market.
  1. Keep it simple. There's an app for everything these days available on mobile devices, but this isn't the best strategy for apps appropriate for moving vehicles. Customer retention and conquest sales will depend on an OEM's ability to balance the consumers' increasing desire to incorporate...
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What's Your Social Media Measurement?

Yesterday I participated in an AutomotiveWorld.com webinar titled, "Social Networks and the Global Automotive Industry: the Marketing Opportunity." The conversation got me really excited about the relative ease of connecting with customers and all of the benefits it can bring to the company, employees and customers. Social media, as one component of a digital marketing strategy, can bring mass exposure to a brand with engaged followers interested in your subject matter. Employees can get...
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What Drives Global Hybrid Sales?

Mass produced hybrids have come a long way since 2001 when the Prius was first launched in Japan. In 2009, 35 different hybrid models were offered accounting for just over 1 percent of the global market share. One percent (1.28% to be exact) may not seem like a big deal, but the emergence of hybrids is more than a vehicle purchase. It's a culture change. Hybrid sales are a direct results of multiple forces within a market coming together to drive a change in automotive purchase behavior.These...R...
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Why Don't Hybrids Sell in Emerging Markets?

Global hybrid sales trends have continued to increase despite the declining global light vehicle market. Some of the fastest growing light vehicle markets in the world are BRIC nations with China, India and Brazil experiencing light vehicle growth in 2009. Despite the overall automotive growth in these emerging markets, hybrids have declined. And not just declined, but not sold. In China from January - October of 2009, only 303 vehicles out of nearly 9.7 million sold, were hybrids. For this...
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