Monthly Archives: April 2014

2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch Wins Fallon’s Favor

According to a, likely inaccurate, internet source searched for the sake of this article, the average American is exposed to approximately 247 ad messages each day.

While the accuracy of that can figure can be debated, it is clear that the number of marketing messages taken in each day by Americans is surely on the rise.  It now seems that every event and almost every inch of digital real estate is, at least, colored by a slanted marketing message carefully crafted to influence the behavior and opinions of the citizenry.

Ortiz Selfie
The Now Infamous “Selfie”

Take this innocuous example: the Red Sox recent trip to visit the President at the White House.  Instead of just enjoying a rare opportunity to meet with the President Ortiz turned the visit to the White House into a marketing stunt all for a quick buck.  According Ortiz himself, “You don’t get a chance to get a photo with the president every day. That’s one thing in life . . . it happened and I appreciate it.”

2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch
Jimmy Fallon “Chooses” 2015 F-150

A similar disingenuous stunt was pulled by newly appointed Tonight Show Host, Jimmy Fallon, when he named the 2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch as his pick for a new truck. The contest came into fruition after Fallon admitted to getting stuck in the sand in his SUV to former California Governor and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Well, that and a thinly guised marketing partnership between NBC and Ford.

Ultimately, Fallon chose a super cool truck, but isn’t some of the impact of the choice lost when the entire effort is supported by a multi-million dollar marketing relationship between NBC and Ford?

2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch
2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch

This year, Ford launches the highly anticipated 2015 Ford F-150 with lighter aluminum bodies that provide for better fuel economy. King Ranch editions have been a part of the Ford line for the last 15 years as a part of a unique relationship between the motor company an actual Texas ranch in Kingsville, Texas.

2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch Boston MA
2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch

Ford recognized the King Ranch represented the same philosophies it designs and engineers into its trucks: toughness, authenticity, integrity and quality.  According to King Ranch CEO, Robert Underbrink, “King Ranch editions aren’t merely trim levels, they are representations of an authentic American story that parallels that of Ford Motor Company.”

The success of Ford’s association with the King Ranch is reflected in sales, especially in Texas. Forty percent of all F-Series Super Duty King Ranch editions are sold in Texas.

These types of stunts seem to almost degrade the authenticity of the King Ranch brand that Ford so adeptly and carefully developed. But hey, as the number one selling pickup for about 37 years, Ford must be doing something right.

Great choice Jimmy! (ugh)

Massachusetts Chevy Dealers Cope With GM Recall

Massachusetts Chevrolet Recall

Massachusetts Chevy Dealers, like many others across the country, are currently scrambling to recover from the recent GM recall of hundreds of thousands on new cars and trucks.

General Motors announced, on Friday March 29th, that it is recalling a portion of its Chevrolet Cruze models for potential axle fractures as well as 490,000 trucks and SUVs for possible transmission cooler line problems.

GM Recall Comes At Tough TIme

The recall impacts the 2013 and 2014 1.4L turbo gasoline powered Cruze. In addition to the Cruze, the recall impacts the all-new 2015 Chevy Tahoe, 2015 Chevy Suburban and the 2014 Silverado.  The GM trucks and SUVs have been recalled because the transmission cooler line is not securely seated in the fitting which could lead to a transmission oil leak.

These new recalls come at a difficult time for GM as the Detroit manufacturer goes before Congress to testify regarding the faulty switch in the Chevy Cobalt that lead to multiple fatalities. The good news is that there have been no crashes, fires or injuries related to this current round of recalls. 

Massachusetts Chevy Dealers
Massachusetts Chevy Lineup

According to Massachusetts Chevy Dealers, the recall has slowed sales. The timing has been difficult as March is traditionally a very strong month for dealers with pent up winter demand driving higher volume.  Most of the Massachusetts Chevrolet dealers that we spoke with stated that they are currently repairing their inventory and should be back up to full capacity soon.

Everyone agrees that the most important thing is to make sure that the vehicles are properly repaired. If you own one of the recalled vehicles you can bring your vehicle to your local MA Chevy Dealer where technicians can inspect your vehicle and make any and all necessary repairs.

BMW Is Getting Boring – Meet the 2014 BMW 320i

BMW Is Boring

As an automotive enthusiast it is hard not to respect the good folks over at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.  Since the 1928 launch of the Dixi, the German manufacturer has simply built some of the best sports cars in automotive history.

Railhead Online BMW 507
The Iconic BMW 507 Roadster

You also have to love BMW’s  bravado. Dubbing yourself the “Ultimate” anything certainly indicates the presence of, at least some, swagger. In BMW’s case that swagger is rightfully deserved. From the beautiful 507 and Z8 roadsters to the sporty M5 and M6 BMW has created some stylish and powerful vehicles.  But, perhaps, none as consistently lauded as the BMW 3 Series line.

BMW Is Boring
BMW Z8 Interior

Maybe it is partially because the 3 Series is so accessible, but the handling, performance and practicality of the line has earned it top honors by drivers and critics alike for many years.  That being said, the Railhead Automotive staff (and by staff I mean myself) believes that BMW got lazy with the release of the 2014 BMW 320i and fear that BMW may be on the verge of getting boring.

Chess Lessons From BMW
Chess Lessons From BMW

At Railhead, we understand that the 320i is an entry level model; however, we simply expect more from a brand that has brazenly dubbed itself the Ultimate Driving Machine. With a 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produced 180hp and 200 lb-ft of torque the 2014 BMW 320i can be outpaced by many affordable products by Nissan, Ford, Mazda and even Hyundai.

Boring BMW 320i
BMW 320i is boring

By comparison, the 2014 BMW 328i xDrive comes equipped with a turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that produces 240HP and 255lb ft of torque, while the 335i xDrive produces over 300 horsepower.  We are not saying that the sixth generation F30 is the perfect 3 Series, far from it.  It has lost some of the connected road feel with the introduction of the electric steering and there is a visceral connection to the snarling V6 that is lost with the new 4 cylinder. But, why did BMW need to downgrade the engine from the 328i? Was it just to save a few measly bucks? Has BMW lost its commitment to performance? I may not be the one to speak to this as I am an American auto enthusiast and drive a Chevy from a local Massachusetts Chevy Dealer, but I felt the need to discuss.

BMW Is Boring
The BMW 320i Interior

We hope that BMW does not become boring and we frankly don’t believe that it will. Despite the foregoing, the fit and finish of the 320i still provides that classic BMW sporty luxury feel and the driving 0-60 in 6.7 seconds is still respectable.  We just think that BMW has become overly obsessed with sales volume and its status as #1 luxury brand and it has come at the expense of performance; hopefully, that trend does not continue with all of its “new” releases.