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The Amazon Fire Thus Far

The Amazon Fire smart phone was released with the company boasting an excited release and many consumers skeptical of the product. The phone itself costs just as much as the iPhone 5s or the Galaxy S5 around 650 dollars retail or if you pair it up with a two year contract on AT&T you can get the phone for about 200 dollars. The screen is slightly larger than the iPhone and slightly smaller than that of the Galaxy S5. So how is the Amazon Fire smart phone tacking up against the two biggest competitors in the smart phone wars?

The Amazon Fireamazon fire 1

The Amazon Fire phone has a 4.7 inch screen which is slightly bigger than the iPhone 5s screen that is 4 inches and slightly less than the Galaxy S5’s screen with is 5.1 inches. The Fire’s battery life has been deemed as just ok. The battery may actually need to be charged midday depending on the amount of heavy use of the phone, its camera, and the amount of time spent browsing on the internet. The camera isn’t all that different from the other two phones in which the Fire competes with. In fact the aesthetics of the phone resemble much of what is currently on the market, the phone is a slim black rectangle that is slightly heavier than the other two. Actually the Fire’s most standout feature would be the Firefly app that allows customers to use the phone’s camera to recognize the world around them. The app allows users to manipulate the camera to recognize such things as books, videos and video games, food, and other products and then brings the users to Amazon where all the items can be purchased. The phone allows its users to be able to purchase the items around them at the distance of only their fingertips. Many industry experts believe that the novelty from the app is worthwhile but not enough to carry the phone. The uses of the app are all nifty on their own such as using Firefly to identify what movie you are watch or the song you are listening to and then help the user link up to a ticket sales website and buy tickets for the next concert coming up. However there are many people who would like to the use the app in order to better identify the world around them without having to be linked up to Amazon and pressured into buying an item.

The Differenceamazon fire

The difference between the Fire and the other phones really isn’t that much of a difference. As explained above, the screens are slightly different along with the primary apps used but there are some other minor differences that set the Fire apart from the iPhone and the Galaxy. The operating system is visually the same with differing features, so the primary menu is set up like a grid. For instance, while the home menu resembles that of the iOS or Android, once the user clicks into the apps they can change what they are looking at by either shifting their wrists left or right. The operating system also favors those who like to game on their smart phones by allowing for more in depth worlds to be built so that the game play is much more enjoyable for the user. Some of the games are more receptive to the user’s head movement and gestures rather than simply just relying on wrist or hand angle movement. There is also a mayday feature that a user can use that allows them to video chat with a live customer service representative to help the user with any issue that they may encounter. Yet the initial consumer feedback was 50/50 since it all depended on the strength of the connection in order to make the mayday call. In short, even when relying on AT&T’s mobile network, if the user couldn’t get a strong enough signal then the feature is pretty much useless.

The question that remains is if all of these features will make that much of a difference between the Fire and the other phones. In the end what the difference of sales will be is not the price point difference or the various little differences between the phones. It doesn’t come down to size or color or even the nicest camera features. The difference between failure and success when it comes to the smart phone wars comes down to the individual consumers themselves. If you like the more traditional phones that allow you to enjoy the piece of technology as a phone among its other features then perhaps you should stay with the current and still top of the line Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy series. If you are more apt to enjoy gaming and newer features such as software that follows the user then the Amazon Fire may be the smart phone you are looking for.

 

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Hyundai Recalls 883,000

Hyundai has voluntarily recalled 883,000 cars in the U.S. in an effort to fix a transmission issue that has been plaguing their Sonata sedans. The biggest issue has been with the transmissions slipping while the cars have been parked, allowing the cars to roll away. This issue has been documented according to filings that have been made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is one of the newest recalls hitting customers in a year that has shockingly surpassed the amount of recalls by all of the car manufacturers for the last five years.

The IssueHyundai 1

The 2011 to 2014 Sonata models have a transmission cable that has been known to separate from the gear selector and has caused the car to shift into gears that the driver hasn’t chosen. Some of the affected models have been rolling away even when the gear selector is showing that the car in is park. The company has said that in the meantime of the cars being fixed the easiest way to combat the faulty cable is when the car is in park to place the emergency brake on which will lock the car in place. The company has stated the primary issue could be the eyelet of the cable being wider than the cable tab it is attached to within the car, which would account for the separation. So far the company has already dealt with 1,171 warranty claims associated with transmission issues and roughly seven owner complaints associated with the issue. Some of the cars have been reported to Hyundai with issues that the cars have been shutting down in the drive gear. Upon the attempt to restart the car, the car is unable to restart because it is in the drive gear and not the park gear. A total of 883,000 Sonata sedans manufactured between December 11, 2009 and May 29, 2014 have been affected by this issue and the company has already stated that the repairs will begin during the third quarter. Hyundai has also issued a statement to current owners that were affected before the recall was put into effect, stating that any cost to the customers would be reimbursed to the customers by Hyundai. Although a repair schedule has not yet been provided by the company, one is short to arrive and owners will be contacted by Hyundai. Owners can also call the company at the customer service phone  number provided on the company’s regional websites.

Other Recalls by Hyundai

Earlier in May of this year, Hyundai had issued a recall of 137,00 Tucson’s for issues with airbag components that had a high likelihood of coming loose. It was in April of 2013 that Hyundai issued a recall on 1.9 million 2011 Sonata sedans for issues with their break lights. Other issues attributed with the break light issues were also tied into early issues with the shift locking system that was locking up and preventing the car from shifting out of park or back into park again. In an entirely separate recall which has already been affecting some of the recently released 2015 Sonatas, Hyundai has announced that 5,650 units that were manufactured between April 25, 2014 and June 16, 2014 are showing front brake calipers are more likely to fracture.

Hyundai 2Understanding the gravity of the seemingly ever constant recalls being issued by many of the more well known and deemed reliable car companies has definitely brought the long term effectiveness of the cars into question with the consumers. However, as many industry analysts agree, cars are mere machines and it is likely that some parts will always go undetected until they are out on the road. Defects are common among many of the different machines we use and the difference between a minor recall and a serious recall is all dependent upon the part that has been called into question. As with all recalls issued by the parent companies, the repairs for the breaking issues or the replacement parts and labor costs will all be covered by the manufacturers and will remain at zero cost for the customers other than having to take time out of their day to drop off the cars.

While the issued recall notice concerning the affected Sonata sedans has only been recently released, the company hasn’t noticed much of a downturn in overall sales. In comparison to many of their counterparts and competitors such as Toyota and Honda as well as some of their American brand competitors, Hyundai has continued on with strong sales figures thus far. Hyundai is one of the few brands that has been ranked yearly providing the U.S. with one of the best warranty programs available to new car customers. Hyundai may be the current car company in the hit seat when it comes to the most recent recall being issued, but the company is far from the tainted image that has been delivered by the family brands associated with General Motors which has recalled a historic and currently unmatched amount of vehicles since the beginning of the year.

 

 

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Tesla to Produce More Affordable Car

CEO and founder of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, has finally confirmed that the company will be producing a more affordable car for the general populous. The car which will be named the Model 3 is set to debut in 2017 at around $35,000 and is looking to compete with the BMW 3 Series. So the question becomes now, How will a more affordable Tesla impact the automotive market?

Tesla Motorstesla 2

The California based electric car company Tesla Motors has proven to the world that there is a place in this world for an electric car. By introducing a car that was both desirable and efficient, Tesla has been able to produce one of the most environmentally safe and sought after cars in recent history. At first there were two models on sale, the current Model S and the previously available Roadster which were both widely popular yet expensive. To date their current available Model S has given Tesla the cash flow and success to effectively look onward towards expansion. Earlier in the year, Tesla had announced plans to purchase land for a new factory in which the company would produce vehicles in addition to their California plant, as well as commercialized versions of their lithium battery.

The Model 3

The Model 3 would be the fourth vehicle overall that Tesla will have put on the market. As mentioned earlier the original Roadster, the Model S which is currently on the market and the soon to be released Model X which will be a sport utility vehicle. The Model X is set to be released sometime next year which has also brought some more positive press for the company because of the expansion in interior room and capability for consumers looking for the same reliable performance. The Model 3 as has been described by Tesla is to be on the same level of reliability as the rest of the brand but would compete most competitively with the BMW 3 Series to which it would most likely compare to. The Model 3 would bring the affordability of a Tesla to a bigger consumer market. Right now the company offers an industry top rated vehicle that has quickly accelerated past all of its competition, so much so that other companies have identified Tesla as a major threat to current business. That being said Musk has stated in previous interviews that the company is more than willing to share its patens with other companies in the industry in order to pass of the wealth of technology onto the customers who are the real profiting faction.

teslaThe Model 3 if it were to perform to the capability of the Model S would revolutionize the category in which it is to compete. For midsized sedans one of the most common complaints from consumers has been the limited range achieved by relatively expensive electric or hybrid cars. Simply put, the sticker price does not equal out to the performance of the car. Because of this issue, gas fueled midsized sedans and compacts have flourished tremendously as other auto manufacturers have refocused their efforts into producing light more fuel efficient cars. If Tesla’s Model 3 can provide customers with a vehicle that compares in price as well as in range and maintenance cost, then the brand will succeed in breaking into a much more heavily populated targeted audience. Thus far the brand has only appealed to a much wealthier, more established section of the consumer bracket that has been looking for performance and comfort, and can afford the lofty price tag. Tesla has had trouble in overcoming some of the more conventional challenges such as getting a heavier vehicle to exceed 300 miles per battery charge which would rival some of the more popular model on the road such as the Nissan Altima or Honda Accord. The other biggest concern when it comes to highway drivers would be the availability of recharge points and time it took to recharge the battery. It may only take a few minutes to fill up a gasoline tank, whereas with the electric car it could take a matter of hours.

With Tesla looking to branch out into a more populated consumer market, the company will be entering into a much higher more competitive state with the other car companies. What consumers have been looking for when it comes to their personal needs and views on transportation has evolved rather quickly in a such a short time. Where 10 to 20 years ago the market was craving gas guzzling trucks and larger SUVs, now more fuel efficient and cheap to maintain are in demand. The customer base has showed support and willingness to buy and drive a fully electric vehicle if the price tag was a little more conservative to the needs of the market. Fiat has described issues with the 500e to which even the CEO has asked consumer to stop buying the car because it is costing the company $14,000 with every sale. This concept makes many wonder if the $35,000 price tag would consume the profit that were to be made on any sale of the Model 3.

 

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Netflix Surpasses 50 Million Members

Netflix has announced on Monday that the company has now surpassed 50 million subscribers. Their customers are in over 40 different countries, 36 million of the 50 million customers are in the United States. With share prices that closed at $451.95 yesterday, the company has been slowly rising in overall monetary value as the video streaming company has been doing better since the lag in growth during the second quarter. The company continues to see success in its ventures because it is offering a superior service over its counterparts in the premium cable sector.

Netflix’s Performancenetflix 1

The company’s performance slowed a bit during the second quarter. Only adding 570,000 new streaming subscribers which when compared to the same time last year, when the company was able to add 630,000 new subscribers a year ago. Well over 2.25 million new subscribers were added in the first quarter of last year. In May subscription prices were raised by only one dollar for new members and Netflix leadership stated that the minimal hike in prices had little effect in impacting user growth.

In an effort to boost users, the company has continued to push its own products and original programming. With shows like Orange is The New Black, which had launched its second season in June, The final and fourth season of The Killings is due to premier on August 1st, and Hemlock Grove which had launched in early July. The company’s shows acquired 31 Emmy nominations last year.

Netflix has announced that it currently has a few new shows already in production. Such titles as Sense8 which is going to be a new shows from the directors of Matrix and Marvel’s Daredevil which has the company in a partnership with Marvel Television. The company had made waves in June when they announced that Netflix will be producing a less scripted talk show with comedian Chelsea Handler. Analysts on Monday afternoon, had said that the reason for a shift in focus was the company reacting to what viewers are now looking for when it comes to talk shows. Netflix’s chief officer of content Ted Sarandos has stated of consumers that “They’re not watching them at 11:30 — they’re watching them days, weeks, sometimes months later online…What we’re hoping to do with Chelsea and her team is create a show that’s built closer to the way people are going to watch it.”

How Netflix Grows Revenuenetflix 2

In recent quarters, Netflix has been growing their business. The company had for the first time in their history last year hit 1 billion dollars in profit. And in the second quarter, Netflix had announced that they had hit 1.3 billion dollars in profit which was directly in line with what analysts were projecting for the company. The share prices rose slightly before the markets closed, yesterday. The company has announced plans for continuing to grow the business beyond just the US market. The company is going to begin investing further into Europe and begin widening the basis of their customer users. Netflix has announced that they will be expanding their launch in September of this year into countries like Germany, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Switzerland. The company has stated that by growing their international side of the business, the company will be able to gain the profit margins that have been solely based on the US market.

Netflix has gone as far to say that the success for other online companies, can be found in how consumers are looking to interact with their shopping and entertainment experiences. Like Amazon, Netflix has announced that later in the year the company will be selling gift cards in retail outlet stores. The introduction of the selling of gift cards is to appease those consumers that enjoy watching movies online. This is for the users that enjoy shopping online for the programs that they can watch either immediately or later on after their purchase. The company has also maintained a low monthly rate that competitively combats the cost of having premium cable each month.

Netflix is quite well in its efforts to maintain subscribers for using their online video streaming. By continuing to offer original programming and effectively focusing in on the needs and desires of the consumer base, the company continues to do well financially as it progresses into the future. Netflix maintains a level of success in part due the ease of access to their original programming as well as the TV shows offered by other networks and movies for a low monthly cost. The other part that is critical to Netflix’s success is that the company has effectively been able to continue building a steady consumer base which has helped the company to grow. As Netflix grows so too does their profit margin and the ability for the service provided because of the funding flowing into the company.

 

 

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5 Cars Failing in the US Market

The American automobile industry all but collapsed a few years ago during one of the biggest recessions in US history. Over the last couple of years car and light truck and crossover sales have steadily began to increase. In May 2014 auto sales in the US jumped 11 percent over last year, yet there were 5 cars that were left in the wake of this rising industry success. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 cars failing in the US market.

One: Scion tCcars

Scion sales for the first five months of the year were up 10 percent over last year but down overall. The average Scion sits on the dealership lot roughly 90 days before it is sold. Last year it took the average tC 63 days of sitting on dealer lots before the cars were sold with only 1,571 tC’s being sold between January and May. The Scion tC has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than 20,000 dollars yet has had mixed results when comparing tC sales numbers over parent company Toyota. Traditionally the Scion brand has been marketed towards the younger generation but Toyota has already begun looking at restructuring how and who they market the cars towards. Despite being backed by one of the most reliable car companies, Scion as a brand has been rated as the worst rated cars on the road by a study conducted by J.D. Power.

cars 1Two: Dodge Avenger

Dodge dealerships are sitting on a plethora of Dodge Avengers as it took an average of 96 days to sell an Avenger after arrival. Sales are down 34 percent over last year and the brand as whole is reeling in from the lack of customer satisfaction. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is 20,595 dollars and were ranked as one of the least dependable brands in the US. Between January and May 2014 7,024 Avengers were sold, and the company has already announced plans to discontinue the car.

Three: Chrysler 200cars 2

Like its counterpart and sister car the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler 200 is competing in a heavily saturated market which has caused sales to drop 40 percent. Dealerships selling the 200 have noticed a trend in which it takes roughly 102 days to sell one 200. Between January and May of this year, 7,567 Chrysler 200s were sold, even with a brand new redesign introduced into the market. The car competes in the same market as the high selling Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord – the two top selling cars in the nation to date. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is roughly 21,700 dollars. One of the biggest issues with the Chrysler 200 is the lack of affordable trim level upgrades as the most fully equipped 200 can cost over 35,000 dollars.

cars 3Four: Mitsubishi Outlander

The Mitsubishi Outlander competes in one of the most difficult categories taking on the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4. Between January and May sales for the Outlander actually increased by 37 percent over last year but the brand itself accounts for less than half a percent of the US automobile sales market. It took in that same time period an average of 117 days to sell an outlander, only selling 3,788 of them in a five month span. While it is a rather small improvement for Mitsubishi for the first five months of the year, overall sales are up for the company at 34 percent yet is failing overall in the US market.

Five: Cadillac Escaladecars 4

The Cadillac Escalade is one of the best known signs of luxury when it comes to the auto industry. It is one the three full size SUVs produced by General Motors that includes the GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe. However in just a five month span between January and May Cadillac has only sold 1,498 Escalades and took an average of 115 days to move just one SUV. The manufacturer’s suggest retail price is 71,695 dollars and overall sales have dropped 14.7 percent year after year. While the largely expensive Escalade may have been battling quality control issues with the recent plethora of General Motors recalls yet with the introduction of a newer redesigned version of the Cadillac Escalade. A J.D. Power’s 2014 Vehicle Dependability study ranked the Cadillac Escalade behind only Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. While consumers have been ranking as very happy and satisfied with the brand, sales continue to drop in the US market. This trend is telling industry experts that the high sticker price and fuel consumption by the Cadillac Escalade is enough to help kill it in sales in the US market.

These 5 above mentioned cars have been failing in the US auto market over the past couple of years. All with their own individual failures either specific to the models or the brands, but continue to deteriorate in the market they are produced in as well as might not be on the market much longer. Due to the long turnover rate for the vehicles to move from delivery to sale, these 5 cars continue to fail on the US market.

 

 

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Rolls Royce Sales Soar

Historically one of the most popular brands when it comes to luxury and symbols of the wealthy, Rolls Royce has announced earlier this week that there has been an overwhelming demand for their cars. These cars are by no means affordable to the average Joe, starting at a whopping $263,000 base price. There are even custom applications and options that can easily double that base price yet sales for Rolls Royce continue to soar.

Current Salesrolls royce 1

The new global elites have continued the tradition of purchasing an ever timeless and constant symbol of wealth and power. The company has been able to maintain their brand expectation for luxury while keeping up with the most up to date and modern technology. Between January and July of last year the company sold 1,475 cars while during the same period of this year the company has sold 1,968 cars. Even with the global economy constantly wavering and high unemployment the demand for Rolls Royce’s continues to climb. The 33 percent rise in sales for the company in the first half of 2014 are less about the product and what it offers and more to do with the rise of new billionaires worldwide. The brand has been able to have and maintain the expectations of the brand such as handmade interiors by master craftsmen, high end leather seating, and plaint work on the car that rivals art.

According to Forbes, there are 219 more billionaires in the world this year over last year bring the current worldwide total to 1,645 billionaires. Due to the sharp rise in the ultra rich, the ultra luxury brands such Rolls Royce are feeling the growth. Rolls Royce has been able to reel in many of these new billionaires due to the longstanding reputation and status symbol that is achieved when being an owner of the brand due to the always high cost of the brand.

The Rolls Royce Brand

The Rolls Royce brand has begun to grow even farther than in previous years. The company is owned and operated by parent company BMW which has helped to revitalize the Rolls Royce brand and bring it into the forefront of modern automobile marketing. More than 70 percent of its current customers are brand new to the brand and have been adding more and more expensive options. Many of the options available on these cars can dwarf many household incomes. Company spokesman Andrew Ball has said that the options for the brand’s cars are seemingly limitless. “It can be simple, like having your initials stitched into the headrest or the veneer…Customers enjoy this. It’s an emotional process.” The company offers just about every aspect of the interior of the car to be customizable, from the type and color of the leather, to the wood types inside, to having custom build refrigerators for the owners favorite beverages which can cost as much as a year’s cost of college.

rolls royce 2BMW has invested heavily into the Rolls Royce brand by introducing state of the art features. There are satellite assisted gearboxes that are designed to assist the driver in way that both the driver can’t anticipate as well as a powerful twin turbo V12 engine. “There are hundreds of little LEDs ser into the roof lining, it seems like the night sky when you’re driving at night.” said Ball. That feature being available in the Phantom coupe.

Rolls Royce can attribute its growth and continued success to a lifetime brand that has come to be the predominating understanding of wealth and luxury. The brand constantly out performs its competitors when it comes to opulence. Unlike the manufacturers of many super cars which are more likely to attract many wealthy in the younger age brackets, Rolls Royce continues to attract those looking for performance and class. The brand can attribute much of its success to the BMW marketing segment of the company which has not only invested heavily into the brand but continues to be the backbone of the brand in attracting a newer clientele in which to conduct business with.

Rolls Royce was purchased by German owned BMW which had bothered many older customers originally. However, the current owners and newer clients are looking on at the continued success of Rolls Royce. The brand has its sales number jumping up over the last year because it has an understanding of the importance of appealing to a newer generation of lifelong customers while maintaining the standard by which their customers have come to expect. Superior automotive performance and the craftsmanship that only Rolls Royce has come to be known for. Rolls Royce sales continue to soar because they are a traditional brand that understands success is best achieved when constantly updating and innovating to be a worldwide brand that constant delivers.

 

 

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