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商业 - 汽车

汽车巨头大事盘点

Alex Taylor III 2011年08月25日

近期汽车公司的最新动态

    围绕福特汽车公司(Ford)和丰田汽车公司(Toyota)建立合资企业的舆论造势让我想起了一句老话:大公司的新闻总是宣布的那天听起来最美妙。

    这之后,就常常是走下坡路了。

    回想一下30年前丰田介入的另一个合资企业引发的一片喧哗。那是与通用汽车公司(GM)、当时世界上最强大的汽车公司的合作结晶。两大巨头同意在加利福尼亚州弗里蒙特市的一家车厂共同生产小型汽车。该厂就是鼎鼎大名的NUUMI(New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.,新联合汽车制造有限公司)。

    通用汽车公司从这桩交易中没有汲取任何教训,所生产的车也亏得血本无归,2009年更是面临破产窘境。而丰田汽车公司则取而代之,成了世界上最大的汽车公司。

    谨记这一点,我们且来看看近期汽车公司的最新动态:

奥迪重磅出击

    随着今年秋季A6的推出,奥迪公司(Audi)新一轮的最新车型上市即告一段落。就像我去年春天写过的,一直以来,奥迪的势头着实强劲。今年头7个月,奥迪的销量增长了16%,而它的两大对手,梅赛德斯奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)只增长11%,宝马(BMW)增长13%。奥迪的旗舰车型A8在一年前经重新设计后,销量已增长8倍。

    上周我试驾了A6,它应该有能力让奥迪以巡航速度保持高速增长。与中档车市场的众多对手不同,A6拥有完全属于自己的个性。这款车既不像缩水减配的A8,也不像膨胀拉长的A4,尽管它拥有这两者各自最好的属性:A4的运动品性,以及A8的尊荣奢华。

    奥迪是首家在车中提供工厂安装“热点”(hot spot)的汽车厂商。通过在车中提供实时交通和天气信息,以及将“谷歌地图”(Google Earth)的地形图作为导航系统地图的显示背景,A6重新定义了“互联汽车”(connected car)这一概念。坐在后排的乘客还能用此系统将电影下载到iPad上。

    这种颇为有用的技术在豪华车营销中回报颇丰,凭借49,900美元的基本售价(实际购入价格为61,530美元),A6应能使奥迪保持增长势头,甚至加速发展。

    The buildup surrounding the new joint venture between Ford and Toyota reminded me of an old adage: Big corporate events always sound best on the day they are announced.

    After that, it is often downhill.

    Recall the hullabaloo 30 years ago that accompanied another joint venture involving Toyota (TM). This one was with GM, then the most powerful auto company in the world; the two companies agreed to build small cars together at an auto plant in Fremont, Calif. that became known as NUUMI.

    GM (GM, Fortune 500) didn't learn a thing from the deal, lost money on the cars it made there, and walked away in 2009 in bankruptcy. Toyota went on to displace it as the world's largest auto company.

    With that in mind, here is an update on some more recent corporate events:

Audi fires its big guns

    With the launch this fall of the A6, Audi concludes its latest round of new model introductions. As I wrote last spring, its momentum has been impressive. For the first seven months of this year, sales have risen 16% versus 11% for Mercedes-Benz and 13% for BMW, its two main rivals. Sales of Audi's flagship, the A8, have jumped eightfold since being redesigned a year ago.

    The A6, which I drove last week, should enable Audi to remain at cruising speed. Unlike the mid-range cars of its competitors, the A6 has an identity all its own. It doesn't feel like a stripped A8 or a bloated A4, although it contains the best attributes of each: the A4's sporty character combined with the posh presence of an A8.

    Audi is the first manufacturer to offer a factory-installed hot spot in its cars, and the A6 redefines the notion of the connected car by providing it with real-time traffic and weather information along with a Google Earth view of the landscape displayed as the background to the navigation system map. A back seat passenger can use it to stream a movie onto an iPad.

    This kind of useful technology pays off big in luxury car marketing, and with a base price of $49,900 (as-tested: $61,530), the A6 should enable Audi to maintain its momentum or even accelerate.

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