Archive for September, 2008

More about green cars

A small factory in India produced India’s first electric car in the early noughties but because the price was 25% higher than other cars, it did better in export markets. The Reva was among the world’s first electric vehicles sold commercially. It did not take off initially quite as its maker had hoped but it has blazed a trail for other electric cars — such as General Motors’ new Chevrolet Volt — which are coming into their own in an age of high oil prices.

Besides Britain  and Norway where it is sold as the G-Wiz, Reva is now also sold in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain and Sri Lanka. It is also being test marketed for applications such as mail trucks in Austria, Germany and the United States.

Developed entirely in-house, India’s first electric car was 95 percent indigenous from the start, built of lightweight steel and plastic and with fewer moving parts. It can be fully charged in seven hours by plugging into a regular 15 amp socket at home.

The fully-automatic models have a top speed of 65 km/hr and a range of 80 km, and a running cost of just 0.4 rupees/km.

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September 19, 2008 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

Car sickness? Blame the bacteria

According to a recent study commissioned by insurance.co.uk, the typical car has 283 different types of bacteria present in every square centimeter.

Microbiologists from Britain’s Aston University found the dirtiest part of the vehicle was the gear stick, home to 356 germs on a square centimeter, while one car boot in a random survey of 25 cars had 850 bacteria in a square centimeter.

“Whilst most of the bacteria we’ve found are unlikely to cause serious health problems, some cars, particularly those which regularly carry children and animals, play host to potentially harmful germs,” said Anthony Hilton, director of Biology and Biomedical Science, at Aston University.

“People would be horrified at the thought of eating off their toilet seat, but few realize eating off their car dashboard is just as likely to make them sick,” he added in a statement.

When quizzed about the most peculiar items drivers had found in their car, a whole host of unusual and downright unpleasant objects were revealed, including:

Top 5 – insects, animals and excrement

Mice (dead and alive)
Dog poo
The neighbour’s cat
Body parts from a dead seagull which a dog had smuggled in
Maggots for fishing that were forgotten about and didn’t die, but reproduced and grew

Top 5 – food

A joint of beef in the boot, which had fallen out of shopping bags weeks ago
A 3 year old, green sandwich
A baby’s bottle under a seat, which had been there for at least 6 months
A very old chicken nugget, found lodged under a childs car seat
A Cadburys Wispa, which had been left long before the re-launch

Top 5 – miscellaneous

A pair of knickers belonging to a husbands ex girlfriend
A used condom in a just-bought second-hand car
Childs vomit in a door pocket, which had gone unnoticed for days
The results of a toddler picking his nose
Mushrooms growing in the floor

Time to get the inside of your car cleaned……

September 16, 2008 at 10:30 am 1 comment

Car repair and servicing bills different in Sydney suburbs

The big differences in car repair costs  between Sydney suburbs and between auto service centres, as mentioned in the Daily Telegraph today, is the key reason why CarbonBlacks’ customers wanted us to expand to all things auto.  As with tyres, our customers can  view customer feedback and get  online comparative quotes for car repair/servicing in whatever postcodes they choose without the hassle of making lots of phonecalls.

September 8, 2008 at 1:52 am 1 comment

Social marketing and the automotive industry

I  just found this interesting article discussing the move of the automotive industry toward direct marketing, particularly online marketing.

Timeliness and depth of information are the major constraints faced by advertisers in the automotive industry. These constraints are easier to break when using online marketing channels. Not surprisingly the tourism Industry, which to some extent faces the same constraints, is one of the most active online.

The article could have highlighted two important online channels – social marketing and search engine marketing. While the “conversation” has moved from the “brand” to the “consumers”, we find it crucial to offer product reviews, service centres reviews… and all actors in the industry should listen to the conversation and “manage” it when possible, be it on Facebook, Myspace, blogs or forums. The brand just doesn’t have the monopoly of the communication anymore, and consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions based on peer reviews.

Timeliness sometimes is so hard to manage that pushing the information to the consumer becomes far less valuable than being there when the consumer needs products / services. Search engine optimisation and search engine advertising are the brand’s best weapons to answers consumers’ enquiries online.

Overall, the author emphasises this, one channel is not better than another, they all have their specificities (price, audience, information, tracking capabilities…). What really counts is the choice of the information the marketer wants to convey via each channel, and the mix of channels that she or he chooses to use.

At CarbonBlack we’re using all possible channels to engage a relationship with consumers looking for tyres and servicing. Whilst consumer acquisition is one thing, we also need to make sure we’ll be around when the consumers need new tyres in 2 or 3 years.

September 4, 2008 at 12:32 am 2 comments

CarbonBlack makes its’ mark at AADA Convention 2008

The CarbonBlack team has just returned from the Gold Coast after an extremely successful trade stand at the 2008 AADA  (Australian Automobile Dealers Assocation).  As we are  expanding from tyres to “all things auto”, it was a pleasure for us to catch up with colleagues, make some new friends, explore new business opportunities and look for more dealers to send our thousands of customers to.

Here are a couple of photos:

Nina and Steve with Colin Baird from the The Red Book

Nina and Steve with Colin Baird from the The Red Book

Jodi and Nina at the Convention dinner

Jodi and Nina at the Convention dinner

September 2, 2008 at 12:26 am Leave a comment