Tag Archives: transportation

Product Lines Don’t Last Forever

Nothing lasts forever. It’s a tired phrase, but a true one, that is often applied to consumer goods. In the past year or so, two of the most ubiquitous consumer products that have been deleted include the VCR and the iPod. It happens in all industries.

In the automotive industry, some of the famous car brands that have been deleted in the past decade include Pontiac, Saturn, Maybach, Mercury, Hummer, Saab, Isuzu, Oldsmobile, and Plymouth. The most recent company to delete a car line (but not the entire company) is Ford. Ford plans to kill off its entire sedan lineup (except Mustang!). The company plans to delete Taurus, Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta – some of which have had high rankings and sales. Why cut the lines?

Strategically, Ford needs to cut costs and improve its overall financial performance. The company’s decision also seems to reflect changing consumer preferences for SUVs and crossovers, instead of traditional family sedans. Generation Y and Millennials are now starting families, but they still want to maintain an active lifestyle. This makes SUVs a popular choice. By 2020, Ford plans to have nearly 90% of its vehicles in the categories of truck, SUV, and commercial vehicles. And, let’s not forget about emerging demands for electric and autonomous vehicles.

Out with the old – in with the new.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Show Ford’s Web site: https://www.ford.com/
  4. Where do the various vehicles fit in the product life cycle?
  5. Discuss Ford’s cuts to its product lines.
  6. Have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Brandchannel.com, New York Times, other news sources

 

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Delivery Direct to Your Car

Have you ever had a problem with delivery of packages? Have you been a victim of ‘porch pirates’ stealing packages before you get home? If so, then you may like the new option for Amazon’s in-car package delivery, placed securely in your trunk or back seat. The service is available to Amazon Prime members who have an active GM OnStar or Volvo On Call account in 37 cities across the U.S.

It seems pretty easy. Using an Amazon app, the customer inputs the information about their car (must be a 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, or Volvo). For each order, the customer selects a delivery to their car, receives a notification when the delivery is on its way, and another notification after delivery is completed and door/trunk relocked. Delivery people use the car’s assistance services to locate the car and unlock it.

The car delivery service only works for vehicles parked in lots that are easily accessible. It won’t work for parking garages or gated communities. And, if you’re worried about damage to the car, Amazon even said that it will take care of a broken window or lock that happens as a result of the delivery.

Go ahead and order – there are a lot of delivery options, including porch, office, in-home, locker, and now, your car.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the topics of package delivery. Has anyone had problems?
  2. Show the Amazon information and video about car delivery: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17051031011
  3. CNET video: https://youtu.be/8bZfZZJ7Q4Q
  4. Video of customer testimonials: https://youtu.be/w4akHn0jQCc
  5. Poll students: Would they use this service?
  6. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  7. For in-car delivery, what is the target market?
  8. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a target market profile. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source: CNET, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Detroit Free Press, other news sources

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Kitty Hawk’s Air Taxi

It seems that a number of companies are taking to the air and working on new transportation methods. A significant new entry vying for a place in the sky is Kitty Hawk, a company financed by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO, Larry Page. (Kitty Hawk is run by Sebastian Thrun who started Google’s autonomous car unit as director of Google X.) The company has been working somewhat stealthily in New Zealand, testing a new type of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxis.

New Zealand’s prime minister recently announced that it will test Kitty Hawk’s autonomous planes as part of an official certification process. The goal is to have a commercial network of flying taxis in New Zealand in three years. Things will be somewhat different in the U.S. though; the FAA allows test flights of autonomous vehicles, but there is no path to commercialize at this point in time.

Kitty Hawk’s first plane is Cora, a personal air taxi for everyday use. The plane can take off and land like a helicopter, thus eliminating the need for a runway. It has the potential to land on spaces such as rooftops and parking lots. Cora combines self-flying software with expert human supervision. The all-electric vehicle is a pollution-free way to reduce commute time, and stress. Cora has a flight range of 100 kilometers and can fly 150 km/hour.

Look… up in the air… it’s a bird…. it’s a plan…. It’s Cora!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the future of transportation. Will it be on the ground?
  2. Show Kitty Hawk’s Web site: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. A video of the plane is available at: https://cora.aero/
  4. Discuss the components of an environmental scan: social, technology, economics, competition, and legal.
  5. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for Kitty Hawk.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general for one of the five components of the environmental scan.
  7. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kitty Hawk?

Source:  Sorkin, A. (12 March, 2018). Larry Page’s flying taxis, now exiting stealth mode. New York Times.

 

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