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Jamesdean

The 30th of September of 1955 James Dean died in a car accident. The “Little Bastard” numbered 130 played its part. It was a Porsche 550 Spyder, one of just ninety produced, a silver bullet,  shiny, fast and rare. After the crash the car was broken up for parts, but today the remaining parts are nowhere to be found.

The 24 years old movie star acquired the Porsche 550 Spyder during the shooting of Rebel Without a Cause, to use it in a race in Salinas, San Francisco. Dean hired the legendary car customizer George Barris to work on the car. The racing number 130 was painted on the front, sides and back. Along with red racing stripes and the name Little Bastard on the back.

The Little Bastard was supposed to be trailered to Salinas that day but at the last minute, Dean decided to drive himself and took the mechanic with him. At 5:59PM a 1950 Ford Custom Tudor Coupe, traveling in the opposite direction collided with the Spyder. James Dean died and his copilot,  the mechanic Rolf Wütherich, was badly injured.

This was the beginning of the Little Bastard disasters. George Barris purchased what remained of the Porsche, selling off the engine to Troy Mchenry and the chassis to William Eschrid. When the wreck arrived at Barris’ garage, the Porsche slipped and fell on one of the mechanics unloading it. The accident broke both of the mechanic’s legs.

And the show goes on. During a race at the Pomona Fair Grounds in 1956, Troy McHenry and William Eschrid both racing cars with parts of the Little Bastard suffered accidents. McHenry died when his car, which had the Porsche’s engine installed, went out of control and hit a tree. Eschrid’s car flipped over. Eschrid, who survived despite serious injuries, later said that the car suddenly locked up when he went into a curve.

The car’s evil influence continued after the race. One kid trying to steal the Porsche’s steering wheel slipped and gashed his arm. Barris reluctantly sold two of the car’s tires to a young man; within a week, the man was nearly involved in a wreck when the two tires blew out simultaneously.

While being stored in a garage in Fresno California the garage caught on fire and everything but the Spyder was destroyed. In fact the paint was barely even scorched. When the car was put on exhibit in Sacramento, it fell from its display and broke a teenager’s hip. George Barkuis, who was hauling the Spyder on a flatbed truck, was killed instantly when the Porsche fell on him after he was thrown from his truck in an accident.

The strange deadly events surrounding the car continued until 1960.  That year the Porsche was  loaded onto a box car in Miami, Florida  safety exhibit and sealed shut. Then it was transported via train back to California. When the train arrived in Los Angeles, the seal was still intact, yet the car had mysteriously  vanished. To this day, the Little Bastard’s whereabouts is unknown.  

So it seems that it is not just in horror stories that cars are possessed!


Author: Vicky Lima  

Vicky Lima is a multifaceted professional with a Master Degree in Advertising. She is passionate about customer experience and the Automotive world. Besides her work in social media, she shares her passion and knowledge about cars as a writer. An avid traveler around the world investigating the relationship between customers and brands. 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com

 

Porsche 911 RSR (77), Dempsey Proton Racing: Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long, Marco Seefried

There are currently about 500 official motorsport circuits and several hundred international race series worldwide. While some struggle for their financial existence, many circuits and series still have a great number of spectators and an extensive media coverage. The question here is, what is the impact on car brands and their relationship with the customers?

Technology developments

Are you one of those people who are enthusiastic about motorsports? If yes, you are part of a large community. Despite the climate and environmental debate around cars over the past years – the love for motor sports stays true. This is very much to the satisfaction of both operators, participants and spectators.

This acceptance and enthusiasm of the general public is the result of a decades long  commitment between car makers and motorsport committees who ambitiously revise and tweak motorsports’ rules with the objective of advancing technology. In this way they create a sustainable and credible external image which is also continually adjusted to be up-to-date and trend setting.

Some technologies developed for motorsports have found their way into our own vehicles. For example, the dual clutch transmission was applied in motorsports by Porsche in the eighties. In the same way, the high-performance capacitor based hybrid technology was first developed for motorsports more recently.

When motorsports becomes marketing

There is also a question whether the investment of participating in these races pays out. The sports car manufacturers usually participate for two main reasons: testing and exposure. There is nowhere else that can they recreate the extreme conditions and extreme load that is found in endurance races. Sports performance is one of the key elements of a sports car manufacturers external image and very much required for customer satisfaction.

Similarly, car manufacturers ask themselves how a successful image can be built in a way that can be used for marketing campaigns that are meaningful and credible to their customers. In sports – especially in motorsports – the problem is that on one hand while second-placed competitors are spurned as just an also-ran in the media, victories can also be quickly forgotten.

Long-term participation and recurring wins

It is really only through a successful long-term commitment to motorsports that a sports car manufacturer can establish a worldwide brand and continually reinforce its image as a car maker.

Let’s take Porsche again as an example: by splitting their engagement to different race series (rally, endurance racing, several DTM racing classes and Formula 1) and their continuous successes, Porsche advances to all essential areas and has created a strong brand. This way Porsche is able to acquire new customers buying Porsche cars.

This makes it difficult for manufacturers who only make a short term commitment to leverage this into a customer demand for their products. It is also hard to build customer satisfaction thanks to their meeting the aspirations they have created with their sports activity.

Is the presence and the success of an automaker in motorsports series (DTM, Formula 1, …) important for you?

 

*Article image: Porsche 911 RSR (77), Dempsey Proton Racing: Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long, Marco Seefried

 


Benjamin Brodbeck Publicist Automativ Guest Blogger BARE InternationalAuthor: Benjamin Brodbeck @automativ

Benjamin Brodbeck, 24 years old, is a multifaceted petrolhead. Besides his work as a jazz pianist, he brings his passion and knowledge about cars as a publicist at AUTOmativ.de. He studied Automotive Business Management and is currently doing his master’s degree in journalism at the University of Vienna.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com

Benjamin Brodbeck AUTOmativ Publicist 2

Benjamin recently joined BARE as an Automotive Evaluator. He has a true dedication to learn and share everything he knows about the automotive industry, partly inspired by a father who works for an iconic car brand. We couldn’t resist catching up with him for an interview to learn more.

Hi Benjamin, tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Benjamin Brodbeck, I’m 24 years old and I have a degree in the field of automotive industry. Music has a great significance in my life – especially Jazz music. I play the piano and perform with the Jazz trio BBQJazz from Stuttgart. I enjoy leaving my well-structured day behind me and finish it with improvised and self-written songs.

Besides my studies and music, I express my passion for cars by writing as a freelancer and in photography. Right now I am committed to building the online-magazine AUTOmativ.de.

For the past 40 years my father has worked at Porsche. During my childhood he led the department which created exclusive equipment and design options and limited edition cars. I was raised in an environment of well-designed sports cars and – thanks to my father – have always been in touch with different people who were working in very varied positions in the car industry.

How do you see the evolution of the Automotive industry?

At the university, questions like that filled up whole papers. But in short – I think we have a significant trend towards an immense diversity and individualization of cars. This trend will intensify together with the trend of delivering unique customer experiences at car dealerships and at different events to create a strong customer loyalty.

Customers subconsciously connect a car brand with the testimonies, statements and behaviour of the employees. If the advice and the service they get is not satisfying, this will have an impact on the image – even though it may has just been one person.

So the quality of service at dealerships impact the brand?

Every single car dealership has a great impact on the company’s image – they are the front line. First there are certain standards that a car dealership has to comply with; second, there are individual philosophies that should match with the company’s identity.

Car brands that do not ensure their car dealerships comply with their standards (in comparison to competitors) by inspecting them, preferably using a third party, are in danger of losing contact with the foundation of their company – the customers.

After getting my degree I spent a lot of time looking at  customer satisfaction and the behaviour of car salespeople at car dealerships – but was never able to do such an evaluation myself. I was very curious about the questions and the focus of the first evaluation that BARE International sent me.

The evaluations went well and were very interesting: You always have your checklist in mind and compare the salesman’s behaviour and the characteristics of the dealership with your checklist and tick them off.

Was the experience as an Evaluator a benefit for you personally?

Besides getting to know very different cars on various test drives, you also have the possibility to identify different strategies of the salespeople and – at least partly – use them yourself later on.  On top of all the required formalities, every salesperson has room for manoeuvre in which they have to persuade with affability and courtesy. Every good salesperson is an artist, who relies on their strategy and improves with every new customer that they serve. To observe this behaviour is fun and can help in your own everyday life.

What recommendation would you give to the car industry?

As I said, using the tool of mystery shopping and evaluation, companies can gain knowledge about problems. This can lead to relevant actions to ensure compliance with guidelines, detect weaknesses and reveal further potential improvements.

The results shape the foundation of benchmarking between competitors and thereby constitutes an important part of the requirements for a successful customer relations.

One thing is for sure: far too few customers complain when the service isn’t pleasing. Most of them just stop coming. Therefore it is even more important – and in the company’s own interest – to conduct mystery shopping.

Stay tuned for more to come from Benjamin Brodbeck, guest blogger for We Are Cars.

 


 

Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com


Porsche-

What do customers want?

A super car on the inside or a shiny, impressive one? Once you have chosen your car, are you fully satisfied with it? And does it really matter if it’s a Porsche or a Hyundai?
J.D. Power recently performed their annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, to measure owner satisfaction with the performance and design of their new vehicles. What do they like or dislike about their new car after 90 days?

84,000 owners were surveyed between February and May 2015. On a scale of 1000 points, 77 attributes, divided in 8 categories of vehicle and design, were evaluated. Engine/transmission; ride, handling and braking; comfort/convenience; seats; cockpit/instrument panel; heating, ventilation and cooling; sound system; and styling/exterior.

Some interesting facts come out of this year’s edition. The gap between luxury and non luxury cars has decreased to its lowest point since 2006. Even though premium brands consistently have the best design and ride with 841 points registered this year, non premium brands are getting closer to the upper scale scoring up to 790 points this year. This is definitely related to the incorporation of more safety features and technology in the vehicles.

“Over the past several years, we have seen non-premium brands increasingly offer the types of in-vehicle technologies that used to be available only to premium buyers,” said Renee Stephens, Vice President of U.S. automotive Quality at J.D. Power.

Who was the overall winner?

For 11 years in a row, Porsche ranks highest with 874 points. Followed by Jaguar with 855,  BMW with 854 points, Mercedes-Benz with 853 points and Audi with 852 points.

The automotive market of today is nothing if not impressive and diverse. Having owner insights is vital for car manufacturers to meet the demands of the market. The knowledge of how owners actually experience the car. What is their level of satisfaction? This is the key question every car manufacturer should ask themselves. Just design or just technical capabilities are not enough, it has to be the perfect combination.

ranking


Author: Vicky Lima  

Vicky Lima is a multifaceted professional with a Master Degree in Advertising. She is passionate about customer experience and the Automotive world. Besides her work in social media, she shares her passion and knowledge about cars as a writer. An avid traveler around the world investigating the relationship between customers and brands. 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

[maxbutton id=”9″]

Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com