Edition: January 2013 - Vol 21 Number 01
Hertz a first: Wi-Fi in Australia car rentals
The Hertz Corporation, reportedly the world’s largest general use car rental brand, has introduced a portable Wi-Fi service in Australia. This is the first time a car rental company has done so, according to the company. Hertz has partnered with technology company IDataRoam International Limited to provide the mobile Wi-Fi service. Hertz has introduced pocket-sized 3G units for rent to enable customers to connect to the Internet from anywhere in Australia for a fraction of the cost of mobile roaming or hotel Internet charges. The launch builds on the success of the company’s mobile Wi-Fi program in New Zealand, UK, Spain and the Canary Islands.
Pilot vehicle emission repair business launched
Speedemissions Inc., a vehicle emissions testing and safety inspections company with stores in Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis and Salt Lake City, recently began a pilot program that specializes in repairing customers’ vehicles that do not pass the emission test. The program is being tested in all four cities. The company hopes to provide a convenience to potential customers. Speedemissions owns the CARbonga line of apps, which allow lay people to detect automotive car problems via their iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®. At press time, it was expected to be available on Android® smartphones by the year’s end.
Caught: EPA finds Hyundai guilty of overstating mileage
Consumer Watchdog has praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for auditing Hyundai and determining the company overstated its sticker mileage estimates on various vehicles, including the Elantra. Following a barrage of consumer complaints, the nonprofit consumer group called upon the EPA to audit mileage of the Elantra in January 2012, and ultimately filed a false advertising case against Hyundai for widely advertising the 40-Mile-Per-Gallon Elantra. Hyundai previously denied that it exaggerated mileage claims, but later said it would reissue the window stickers with new mileage estimates.
FEV Inc. takes ENERGY STAR® Challenge
FEV Inc, a developer of advanced powertrain and vehicle technologies, recently took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Challenge in an effort to improve energy efficiency and protect the environment. The company is in the business of engineering and developing what it says are energy-efficient, low-emission powertrains. The ENERGY STAR Challenge calls for an energy efficiency improvement of at least 10 percent for the more than 5 million commercial and industrial buildings in the United States. Energy is often generated by burning fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Commercial buildings and industrial facilities are responsible for 45 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Using energy more efficiently can help reduce the country’s carbon footprint and save money, according to environmentalists. EPA estimates that if the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S. improves by 10 percent, Americans can reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from about 30 million vehicles while saving about $20 billion on annual utility bills. For more information about the ENERGY STAR Challenge visit www.energystar.gov/challenge.
Shopping for cars on Facebook
More than one in four new car buyers visit social networking sites at least weekly, according to research released by Friedman-Swift Associates, a national market research firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Of new car buyers who use sites like Facebook weekly or more often, 77 percent say they do not participate in any commercial activity on the site. Nearly one in seven – or 14 percent – new car buyers who visit social networking sites, such as Facebook, at least once a week look at advertisements there. This represents about 4.5 percent of all new car buyers, according to Friedman. The research firm determined that, while social networking is on the rise, it’s still not a strong advertising tool for car dealerships at this time. Still, it could be an important component of dealership marketing, and customers who become Facebook friends with auto dealerships might display stronger customer loyalty in the long run.