Dealerships

Cadillac Live interactive digital showroom launches in five U.S. states

Buyers are being empowered to change up their shopping habits with the new Cadillac Live interactive digital platform.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cars.com research recently revealed that the dealership experience is a major pain point for new car buyers. Automakers are continuously working to enhance that experience and lately there has been a push to revolutionize the sales model with more digital integration.

Cadillac, a division of General Motors, has launched Cadillac Live, a digital shopping platform designed to bring elements of the dealership experience to shoppers' smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. When using Cadillac Live, customers enter a digital showroom via an online portal to view the features and specifications of up to 10 Cadillac models. Once in the system, they can speak with a Live product specialist, who can answer vehicle and purchase-consideration questions.

Cadillac Live Lounge The Cadillac Live Lounge features cars and SUVs from the entire Cadillac passenger vehicle lineup. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

"Luxury consumers are looking for a seamless, one-on-one shopping experience, whether online or in-person," said Melissa Grady, Cadillac chief marketing officer. "Cadillac Live offers a high degree of personal service, with time-saving conveniences and extended hours, reflecting today's evolving shopping habits and our customers' expectations."

The move to digital is a logical one for Cadillac. Data from Google shows that twice as many car buyers start their research online versus at the dealership.

Cadillac Live Agent A Cadillac Live agent helps shoppers explore new vehicles. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Customers are able to do everything but test drive and pull the trigger on buying a new vehicle via Cadillac Live. Here's how Cadillac says it works:

Shoppers can explore every detail of a Cadillac vehicle with the help of a Live agent, who is equipped with an iPhone X, Osmo Mobile gimbal and Bluetooth headset, providing two-way audio and one-way live video. That means shoppers can hear and see the agent, while the agent can hear – but not see – the shopper. The agents are also equipped with a digital interface to share color, wheel and accessory choices. Live agent sessions are available on-demand or can be scheduled for a future date. Additionally, shoppers can invite a partner to join a Live session.

As Cadillac struggles to remain a relevant brand for buyers, the implementation of a less confrontational shopping experience via a device that can be used at the convenience of the customer is an intriguing move that may pay off. Seventy-one percent of customers report switching to a competitor's product after finding their selection process easier according to the 2017 Cassandra Shop Report, which specifically focuses on millennial and Gen Y buyers.

The pilot program is available in five states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Every dealership in each of those states was offered the opportunity to take part in the program with 160 opting in. Of that 160, 38 of those dealers are based in Texas.

Cadillac Live Lounge Agent Shoppers can ask questions in real time. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac Live agents are available to connect with shoppers Monday-Thursday, from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. ET, Friday, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. ET. Customers can schedule future sessions with a Live agent during off-hours.

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The Ford F-150 Lightning is the company’s first all-electric pickup truck

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The day is finally here. Ford has just taken the wraps off its hotly anticipated F-150 Lightning full-size electric pickup truck. The electrified pickup will be the most powerful F-150 ever made, and will offer buyers a unique set of features thanks to its battery packs and electric powertrain.

The Lightning will come packing 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque, which will provide a zero to 60 mph time in the mid-four-second range and standard four-wheel drive. Ford is targeting a payload capacity of 2,000 pounds in standard-range models with 18-inch wheels and a max tow rating of 10,000 pound for models with an extended-range battery and Max Trailer Tow Package. All of that in a truck that will have a 300-mile driving range on a single charge, a giant frunk (front trunk), and the ability to act as a generator with enough juice to power a home.

Inside, the F-150 Lightning will feature a 15.5-inch center touchscreen running Ford's SYNC 4A infotainment software. Beyond the staples such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the system is designed to adapt to driver behavior and can provide in-depth information on how the truck is performing at any given moment. Ford says that it will continue to improve the system and add new features via over-the-air (OTA) updates, which may prolong the new truck's lifecycle as new functions become available.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The F-150 Lightning is designed to be able to handle worksite tasks.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Compay

Ford says it tested the new truck in punishing conditions for towing capability, hot and cold temperature resistance, and for safety in collisions. The F-150 Lightning carries a liquid cooling system, and its battery is contained within a waterproof casing that sits inside a crash-absorption protector. The truck's powertrain layout is designed to manage heat distribution across the vehicle to allow it to perform in harsh temperatures.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning There are a few differences between the interior of the Lightning and other F-150s, but not many.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

When it's time to charge, the Lightning will feature an exclusive 80-amp charge station that uses the truck's dual onboard chargers to replenish battery power more quickly at home. Ford says the system will allow the Lightning to add an average of 30 miles of range per charging hour, and notes that an extended-range version of the truck can charge completely from 15 percent battery in around eight hours. Out in the wild, the F-150 Lightning's infotainment system will help drivers plan their routes to reach charging stations while taking weather, traffic, and payload into consideration. The Lightning, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E before it, can take advantage of the FordPass network, which includes over 16,000 charging stations across the country.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The F-150 Lightning has the ability to tow 10,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford F-150 Lightning will begin hitting dealers' lots in spring 2022. The truck will be offered in four trim levels and two battery options, and will be sold at Ford's 2,300-plus EV-certified dealers in the U.S. The Blue Oval will offer a commercial version of the Lightning with a starting price of $39,974 and the more comfortable mid-range XLT model will start at $52,974. Both prices are before any federal or state incentives are applied.

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The new Chiron was co-designed with Hermés at the request of the client.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Just a few weeks ago, Rolls-Royce showed off a Phantom that was created using materials and craftsmanship from fashion house Hermés. Fast forward to this week and Buggati has delivered something similar, but this one has a super sports car edge.

The one-of-a-kind Bugatti Chiron habillé par Hermès was crafted at the French luxury marque's Molsheim Atelier, combining the history of two hallmark members of the French fashion and automotive industry. It was made for Manny Khoshbin, a real estate investor-turned-influencer.

"I am a true Bugatti aficionado – I wanted to name my son 'Ettore' but my wife disagreed," said Khoshbin. "When I saw the Chiron1 for the first time in 2015, I was one of the first customers in the world to reserve a build slot, yet one of the later to take delivery of one, but the reason for that was down to me."

Manny Khoshbin's Bugatti Chiron habillé par Hermès

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Khoshbin wanted to "defy the limits of custom automotive design" according to a media release, which prolonged the car's design and production phases.

The new Chiron features the intricate application of custom colors, fabrics, and finishes that required the expertise teams in Molsheim and Paris. The interior is finished in the leather shade of Craie (meaning chalk in English), which was made famous by Hermés handbags and other luxury goods. The off-white hue is matched to the exterior of the Chiron. The exterior color treatment extends to the rear bumper, mesh covers, trim bits, and the car's Bugatti Classique alloy wheels. Most Chiron models have two main colors that contrast.

The horseshoe grille on the Chiron has been customized to wear the Hermés signature "H" monogram while its Courbettes motif, graces the underside of the rear wing, which features a unique rearing horses design to emphasize the Chiron's 1,479 horsepower.

Khoshbin chose a Sky View glass roof for the vehicle that features two fixed glass panels above the driver and passenger seats.The exposed engine bay, Italian Red brake calipers, and aluminum-finish door sills are the only other exterior items not finished in Craie.

All materials used for the interior of the car have been crafted by Hermés from the seats to the console to the inner signature line, roof, door clasps, and rear panel. The Ecru leather around the centre console, dashboard and other parts of the interior, developed by Bugatti. The carpets are finished in the color Beige. The familiar Courbettes design finds another home in the car, this time on the console plate.

"The order of this special Chiron involved two visits to Hermès in Paris to discuss design, the realization of the interior and see progress being made," said Khoshbin. "Between myself, the team at Hermès and designers at Bugatti, we exchanged hundreds of emails. I took my time to draft the car and that was very much a conscious decision – this is a car that I will one day hand down to my son, it will live for generations".

"I'm truly thankful to the teams at Bugatti and Hermès for making this happen. I came to Bugatti with the idea, and it's not something that they'd usually do but they were open to the notion of making something special. Now I have three Bugatti models in my collection, and there is soon to be a fourth. There's this one, and two Veyrons, one a Grand Sport Vitesse "Les Légendes de Bugatti" Rembrandt Bugatti, that I love just to look at, they are so beautiful.

"Then we're about to take delivery of a Bugatti Baby II for my son," Mr. Khoshbin conitinues, "he is Bugatti mad, and gets excited every time he hears the name! I like the 'Chiron habillé par Hermès' the most out of them all – I drive it almost every day. It's a real driver's car and I still get excited every time I get into the driver's seat."

Khoshbin's affection for Hermés extends to other car brands as well. His YouTube channel shows off his customized, Hermés-themed Pagani Huayrai as well as others in his extraordinary collection. Watch his video of the custom Bugatti and all its accessories below. Skip to 6:35 if you're only interested in the car.

Everything You Need to Know About The Hermes Bugatti Chiron!!! www.youtube.com

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