- Stellantis will use a Super Bowl ad for its Ram brand to indirectly take shots at the current all-electric vehicle market, specifically pickup trucks.
- The ad, called “Premature Electrification,” spoofs ads for male sex-enhancement drugs, as well.
- The 60-second commercial also debuts the production version of the Ram 1500 REV electric pickup that is expected to go on sale next year.
Ram’s 2023 Super Bowl ad debuts the production version of the Ram 1500 REV electric pickup that is expected to go on sale late-next year.
DETROIT – Stellantis will air a 60-second Super Bowl ad for its Ram brand to indirectly take shots at the current all-electric vehicle market, specifically pickup trucks.
The commercial, called “Premature Electrification,” or “PE,” spoofs ads for male sex-enhancement drugs. It features electric vehicle owners discussing problems they’ve had with their trucks – from insufficient range and power to problems charging and other potential issues associated with EVs.
“Are you excited about buying an electric vehicle but worry that it could leave you … unsatisfied?” says the ad’s star and narrator Jason Jones, a comedian best known for his work on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and for appearing in comedic Budweiser and Molson ads. “Then you could be one of many Americans concerned about premature electrification.”
The ad debuts the production version of the Ram 1500 REV electric pickup that is expected to go on sale next year. Online reservations for the electric pickup, which debuted as a concept in January, also open Sunday. The vehicle resembles the concept but also the current Ram pickup, which has a traditional internal combustion engine.
Stellantis Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois, who has become known for unique and well-received Super Bowl commercials, said the main message is Ram’s electric pickup may not be the first to the market, but it’s going to be worth waiting for compared to the current offerings.
“We have an incredible truck that’s electric that can really deliver on what truck people want a truck to do, so ‘wait, wait and see’ is the meaning of the ad,” he told CNBC. “That’s our pitch.”
When the electric Ram arrives to market, it’s expected to join an increasingly crowded yet relatively unproven segment that includes the GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning and Lordstown Endurance. Others such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra Denali and Tesla Cybertruck are expected to be on sale by next year or sooner.
“We are on an exciting electrification journey that will see Ram push past the competition in areas customers care about the most: range, payload, towing and charge time,” Ram Trucks CEO Mike Koval said in a release.
Jason Jones, a Canadian-American comedian best known for his work on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” stars and narrates Ram’s “Premature Electrification” Super Bowl 2023 ad.
The ad is unique compared to most of the company’s Super Bowl spots under Francois, who has aired many thought-proving commercials and convinced celebrities not known for being in ads such as Bruce Springsteen, Bill Murray and Eminem to rep the automaker and its vehicles or brands.
The demeanor of the commercial is similar to a 2015 Super Bowl ad aired under Francois by Fiat Chrysler – a predecessor of Stellantis – that followed the path of a little blue pill that an amorous Italian man accidentally loses as he attempts to swallow it.
“It’s lighthearted,” Francois said. “I think it’s just a need. We’ve been through a lot – from Covid to the war in Ukraine to inflation and recession. People want comedic relief.”
Francois said the commercial is not meant to make light of anyone who takes male enhancement drugs. He said the “spoof” ad is aimed at the commercials for the prescription drugs and the current electric vehicle market.
Much like a real pharmaceutical commercial, viewers should pay attention to the fine print. In addition to confirming symptoms of premature electrification aren’t real but “certainly worth talking about,” it says “range-lengthening technology” mentioned in the ad for the vehicle will “come later.”
The Ram ad is scheduled to air in the fourth quarter of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. Before then, the automaker also will air a 60-second ad for its Jeep brand during the second quarter, focusing on its “4xe” Wrangler and Grand Cherokee plug-in hybrid electric SUVs.
The Jeep ad is a much more traditional Super Bowl ad, featuring dancing animals along with the electrified Jeeps. Where it’s unique is the music. The commercial features a remixed version of the 1983 hit “Electric Boogie” by Marcia Griffiths. The song, also known as the “Electric Slide,” was initially recorded by the late Bunny Wailer in 1976.
“The two ads are not pursuing the same objective,” Francois said. “While Jeep is all about pushing the 4xe plug-in hybrid technology … to really push sales, Ram is a totally different thing. We have nothing to sell right now. It’s an investment on the brand itself.”
Griffiths is featured on the new version of the song along with Grammy Award winning reggae artist and producer Shaggy and others. Stellantis is releasing the song Sunday on streaming services.
The “Premature Electrification” and “Electric Boogie” ads were created in partnership with Chicago-based agency Highdive. Both ads were released online Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl.
Stellantis declined to release how much it spent on the ads. The cost of a 30-second commercial is approaching $7 million, according to Kantar Media.
Jeep’s one-minute Super Bowl ad features dancing animals and the brand’s plug-in hybrid electric Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Grand Cherokee 4xe SUVs.
Ford F-150 Lightning trucks manufactured at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn Michigan.
Courtesy: Ford Motor Co.
DETROIT – About 65% of Ford Motor’s dealers have agreed to sell electric vehicles as the company invests billions to expand production and sales of the battery-powered cars and trucks, CEO Jim Farley said Monday.
About 1,920 of Ford’s nearly 3,000 dealers in the U.S. agreed to sell EVs, according to Farley. He said roughly 80% of those dealers opted for the higher level of investment for EVs.
Ford offered its dealers the option to become “EV-certified” under one of two programs — with expected investments of $500,000 or $1.2 million. Dealers in the higher tier, which carries upfront costs of $900,000, receive “elite” certification and be allocated more EVs.
Ford, unlike crosstown rival General Motors, is allowing dealers to opt out of selling EVs and continue to sell the company’s cars. GM has offered buyouts to Buick and Cadillac dealers that don’t want to invest to sell EVs.
Dealers who decided not to invest in EVs may do so when Ford reopens the certification process in 2027.
“We think that the EV adoption in the U.S. will take time, so we wanted to give dealers a chance to come back,” Farley said during an Automotive News conference.
Ford’s plans to sell EVs have been a point of contention since the company split off its all-electric vehicle business earlier this year into a separate division known as Model e. Farley said the automaker and its dealers needed to lower costs, increase profits and deliver better, more consistent customer sales experiences.
Farley on Monday also reiterated that a direct-sales model is estimated to be thousands of dollars cheaper for the automaker than the auto industry’s traditional franchised system.
Wall Street analysts have largely viewed direct-to-consumer sales as a benefit to optimize profit. However, there have been growing pains for Tesla, which uses the sales model, when it comes to servicing its vehicles.
Ford’s current lineup of all-electric vehicles includes the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, Mustang Mach-E crossover and e-Transit van. The automaker is expected to release a litany of other EVs globally under a plan to invest tens of billion of dollars in the technologies by 2026.
Stocks rose for a session Tuesday, as investors assessed sliding yields and new data for further clues into the health of the U.S. economy. Wall Street also awaited for earnings from key tech companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 283 points higher, or 0.9%. The S&P 500 advanced 1.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite popped 2%.
Tuesday’s moves added to the sharp rallies seen in the previous two sessions. On Monday, the Dow and S&P 500 gained more than 1% each, while the Nasdaq advanced 0.9%. On Friday, the Dow surged more than 700 points.
A decline in yields contributed to the latest gains. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was last down by around 15 basis points at 4.085%. The 2-year Treasury yield was last down around 7 basis points at 4.424%.
Taken together, the yield and major index moves are signs of investors “doubling down on expectations of an easier Fed,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth.
Hodge said economic data released Tuesday is also a point of hope for investors looking for the Federal Reserve to change course on interest rate hikes as the central bank tries to bat down inflation.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City House Price Index released Tuesday showed home prices fell 1.3% in the 20 core cities studied month-over-month in August, but were still 13.1% higher than a year ago. The Consumer Confidence Index also fell, showing the view on the economy has soured after two months of the outlook improving.
“The market is just starting to get some some indication that economic data moving forward is likely to slow,” he said. “The knock-on effects from there, perhaps, gives the Fed a bit more breathing room.”
On top of that, traders pored over a smattering of corporate reports. General Motors and UPS rose 3.8% and 2%, respectively, on the back of better-than-expected earnings. Coca-Cola also reported stronger-than-forecast earnings, sending the stock up 1%.
So far this season, companies have proven they may be faring better than anticipated. FactSet data shows that, through Tuesday morning, 71% of the companies that reported topped analyst expectations for earnings per share.
Meta Platforms reports Wednesday, followed by Amazon and Apple on Thursday. Given their sheer size and market capitalization, any moves are likely to drive the market going forward.
2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited
DETROIT – Ford Motor is redesigning a pivotal product lineup, leaning on new software and connected data metrics, to boost profits in its commercial vehicle business.
The Detroit automaker on Tuesday revealed its 2023 F-Series Super Duty trucks, a lineup of vehicles ranging from large pickups to commercial trucks and chassis cabs that are used for emergency response, towing and plowing, and construction or utility work.
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The vehicles – part of Ford’s best-selling F-Series truck lineup – are high-margin, key to retaining recurring fleet customers and a major part of Ford’s plans to grow its commercial business.
“These are massively important. Super Duty is the size of revenue of Southwest Airlines, Marriott or Nordstrom. It’s a big part of the business,” Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, told CNBC. “And now we’re bringing them into the digital age.”
Cannis declined to disclose revenue for Ford’s Super Duty lineup, but Southwest, Marriott and Nordstrom most recently reported annual revenues of between $14 billion and $16 billion. Ford reported more than $136 billion in total revenue in 2021.
Super Duty trucks have more than 50% market share in utility, mining, construction and emergency response vehicles, according to Ford, citing data from S&P Global Mobility.
The designs of the new trucks are notably different on the exterior, featuring redesigned C-clamp lights and larger grilles. But the most important changes for Ford can’t be seen by the naked eye, including new electrical architectures, or brains, of the vehicles. The updates will give Ford the ability to introduce new software, data telematics and fleet management tools, Cannis said.
2023 Ford Super Duty F-550 Chassis Cab
The software tools will help businesses track maintenance needs, vehicle locations, driver behaviors, wasted idle time and other metrics. Fleet operators also can set operation times that would prevent the vehicles from starting outside of approved times.
Such services are viewed as major opportunities for Ford to create recurring revenue throughout the lifecycles of the vehicles – something automakers such as Ford have been unable to achieve beyond regular maintenance and repairs through franchised dealers.
The mission of Ford Pro is to act as a one-stop shop for vehicles as well as the software management that companies use to monitor them, Cannis said, laying the groundwork for subscription-based businesses and additional recurring revenue opportunities for Ford that have historically been the domain of third-party companies.
The connected features are powered by embedded 5G connectivity – a first for pickups in the U.S — utilizing AT&T service and a Qualcomm modem.
2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited
“We’re focused on maximizing productivity, maximizing the bottom line for businesses of all sizes,” Raj Sarkar, Ford Pro general manager of product marketing and strategy, said during a media briefing.
Ford Pro is one of three main business areas for the company under CEO Jim Farley’s Ford+ restructuring plan, which targets growth and value creation in all three segments in the years to come.
The Super Duty trucks also feature new interiors as well as other trailering and towing updates – both key to owners of larger trucks. The new features include trailer navigation, which plots routes that can be safely navigated with given trailer dimensions and weight to avoid potential issues with low bridges and tight turns, as well as a second backup camera that can be used when the tailgate of a truck is down.
Though Ford is investing billions in electric vehicles, the new trucks are powered by one of four V-8 gasoline or diesel engines. Large trucks such as Ford’s Super Duty are expected to continue to be powered by traditional engines for the foreseeable future.
The 2023 F-Series Super Duty is built at Ford assembly plants in Kentucky and Ohio. Pricing will be available closer to launch in early 2023. The starting prices of the vehicles currently range from about $40,000 to nearly $100,000.
Ford unveiled its new Super Duty products a day after crosstown rival, General Motors, announced updates to its 2024 Chevrolet Heavy-Duty pickup that is expected to go into production the first half of next year.
2023 Ford Super Duty F-250 XL STX
MILFORD, Mich. – General Motors and Lockheed Martin said Thursday they plan to produce an array of moon-roving vehicles for commercial space missions and services powered by the automaker’s electric vehicle battery technology.
The companies said they plan to test the batteries in space later this year, with the goal of having their first vehicle using the batteries on the moon in 2025. In addition to potential NASA bids, they hope is to strike deals with private companies such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“The interest around the world is tremendous,” said Derek Hodgins, Lockheed Martin’s director of product strategy and sales for lunar infrastructure services, during an event at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in metro Detroit.
The announcement marks the latest expansion for GM’s Ultium technologies, including batteries, outside the auto market. GM has also announced partnerships to use or test the technologies in electric motors for trains, boats and other industries.
GM and Lockheed last year announced a partnership to develop a lunar rover utilizing its Ultium vehicle platform and batteries for NASA, which is assessing projects following a bid for its upcoming Artemis missions to the moon.
The companies say their experience developing the the lunar rover for NASA is being used to develop other types of vehicles for space missions and services such as data and soil collection.
The “lunar mobility vehicle” for commercial use is being developed at a multimillion-dollar simulator at GM’s testing lab that emulates the moon’s surface and atmosphere, including the change in gravity. GM was previously the major subcontractor that helped Boeing create a similar vehicle used during three Apollo missions on the moon.
The new vehicle is being designed to be more technologically advanced, powerful and last at least 10 years on the moon. Its top speed, for example, will be 20 kilometers per hour (12 miles per hour) compared to 12 kph (7 mph). It also is designed to operate autonomously when not being used by astronauts.
“This is no dune buggy,” Hodgins said. “These are tools that were not available in the late ’60s.”
Lockheed Martin is already speaking with potential customers for the lunar rover vehicles, according to Hodgins. He declined to disclose what companies are involved in the discussions.
GM also said Thursday it is drawing on its experiences developing the Hummer EV for system controls, battery management and torque management to control its propulsion for the new lunar rover program.
“It’s moon dust but there are also craters, rocks and other things you’re going to have to navigate,” Drew Mitchell, vehicle dynamics performance engineer for Hummer, said Thursday.
The project remains in development. However, executives said they expect to move into “execution phase” shortly.
Kyle Vogt, co-founder, president and chief technology officer for Cruise Automation Inc., speaks as he stands next to the Cruise Origin electric driverless shuttle during a reveal event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Autonomous vehicle venture Cruise, which is majority-owned by General Motors, just scored the final permit it needed to offer its robotaxi service to paying riders in San Francisco, the company announced on Thursday.
Cruise boasted in a blog post that the authorization is “the first-ever Driverless Deployment Permit granted by the California Public Utilities Commission, ” and makes the company that first to operate a “a commercial, driverless ridehail service in a major US city.”
Earlier, the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved autonomous vehicle deployment permits for both Cruise and Alphabet‘s Waymo.
Cruise was already offering nighttime rides to the public in San Francisco in its driverless cars, although it had not yet required passengers to pay a fare.
Police previously pulled a Cruise driverless vehicle over in San Franciso, and a video of the incident went viral. The California DMV told CNBC that, despite that incident , as of late April the department had yet to issue a traffic ticket to any driverless vehicle operator.
Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus in robotics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, rode in Cruise driverless taxis recently and wrote favorably of the experience on his blog.
He said, in that post, “Cruise has put together an MVP, a ‘Minimal Viable Product,’ the lynchpin of successful tech.” He also specified that he does not believe mass adoption of driverless cars is near. He wrote, “We have a ways to go yet, and mass adoption might not be in the form of one-for-one replacement of human driving that has driven this dream for the last decade or more.”
Competitors of Cruise are also testing driverless vehicles in San Francisco.
Alphabet’s Waymo has offered free driverless rides to employees or members of a testing program in San Francisco. It has also completed “tens of thousands” of rides without a driver behind the wheel in Arizona.
Another driverless startup, focused on transporting goods instead of passengers, Nuro, has a deployment permit to operate driverless cars in San Francisco, too.
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk often touts the company’s ambitions to deliver cars that are “robotaxi-ready,” Tesla vehicles at a maximum feature its Full Self Driving Beta program, an experimental driver assistance system, which requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and remain attentive to the road at all times.