Christian Louboutin Kate 85 vs. Sporty Kate 85 is perhaps the most frequently asked question among Louboutin buyers. Before delving into the comparison, it’s essential to note that Kate heels are based on the So Kate heels, originally designed for the iconic model Kate Moss in 2013.
The Christian Louboutin So Kate 120 heels stand out as one of the most iconic pointy-toe pumps, but their height, at 120mm, can be daunting for many. Consequently, So Kate heels are ideal for short periods of wear or may end up residing in a wardrobe for extended periods.
Both Kate 85 and Sporty Kate 85 feature 85mm heels. Despite its name, Sporty Kate isn’t akin to sports cars; rather, the term “Sporty” emphasises its comfort-focused design. Sporty Kate 85 incorporates softer materials reminiscent of sports shoes with black insoles, while Kate 85 employs more traditional materials. Notably, Sporty Kate 85 is adorned with a CL logo.
In my assessment, Sporty Kate 85 appears designed for daily office wear and general day-to-day activities, while Kate 85 serves as the backup option for those who adore the So Kate 120 but seek a more manageable heel height.
Battersea Power Station, an iconic landmark in London, has witnessed a transformation from a power station to a vibrant hub of shopping and living spaces. Recently, Porsche UK seized the opportunity to showcase its brand in a unique way by opening a pop-up store at Battersea Power Station. Running from October 18th to December 1st, 2023, this limited-time experience offered enthusiasts and curious visitors alike a chance to immerse themselves in the world of Porsche.
Given the historical significance of Battersea Power Station, the location itself added a layer of grandeur to Porsche’s temporary establishment. Navigating London’s landscape to reach Battersea Power Station can be a challenge, yet the allure of this iconic venue was enough to draw car enthusiasts and curious onlookers alike. Despite the limited accessibility, the experience was well worth the effort.
The concept of car stores within shopping centres, which initially faced skepticism in the early 2010s, has evolved over time. Porsche’s pop-up store stands as a testament to this evolution, breaking away from traditional perceptions. While proposing the idea years ago, it was met with skepticism from other car manufacturers who questioned the feasibility of showcasing cars in shopping environments. However, with the pioneering success of Tesla, the automotive landscape witnessed a paradigm shift, and now, every car company aspires to secure a space in shopping centres.
Porsche’s pop-up store was not merely a showroom; it was a curated experience that delved into the essence of Porsche and its rich heritage. The store featured a rotation of several Porsche models, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the brand’s iconic vehicles. Importantly, this initiative by Porsche offered a unique opportunity for individuals to engage with the Porsche brand without the pressure of committing to a car purchase.
In conclusion, the Porsche pop-up store at Battersea Power Station transcended the conventional boundaries of automotive retail. It was a carefully crafted experience that celebrated the brand’s legacy and allowed enthusiasts to connect with Porsche in a dynamic and accessible setting. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, such innovative approaches to brand engagement are likely to become more prevalent, redefining the way we experience and interact with iconic car brands.
The Audi TT has been discontinued as Audi decided to halt its production after 25 years. To be honest, I’m not surprised; these days, people seem to prefer any type of SUV, making sports cars like the TT too niche. The shift in demand from sports cars to SUVs has ultimately led to the end of the Audi TT era. Once a design icon in 1998, desired by millions, it now appears that no one wants one.
Personally, I was only a fan of the first-generation Audi TT without the spoiler, losing interest after that. While the Audi TT became an alternative to the Porsche Cayman or Boxster, it’s not a Porsche, so I find myself tempted by a Porsche over a TT.
Returning to the first generation of the Audi TT, with and without the spoiler, in short, there was a tendency for loss of control over 180 km/h due to aerodynamic issues. This led to accidents where cars would fly and harshly land. However, this landing was not like your landing in Ibiza; it was harsh. Audi addressed this by installing a bizarre spoiler, making ESP standard, and improving suspensions.
The second and third generations (the current one) were impressive cars, featuring the Quattro all-wheel-drive system with an understeer tendency. The second generation even had a diesel engine, reflecting the peak of the diesel fetish in the automotive industry during the early 2010s. Companies were eager to put diesel engines in anything with four wheels. They probably considered diesel-powered baby strollers. This trend led to the creation of the Audi TT diesel, but I strongly advise against purchasing a used diesel TT.
Over the years, the Audi TT evolved, leaving competitors like the Mercedes-Benz SLK (now SLC) and making the BMW Z4 seemingly invisible. Porsche enthusiasts, however, remained loyal to the brand and didn’t opt for an Audi. Sadly, we won’t be seeing any new TTs on the streets in the near future. Instead, the roads will be filled with more and more SUVs. Perhaps we’ll even witness the birth of an Audi Q TT? Sounds like the beginning of a quirky automotive love story!
I realise this news might be a bit dated, but I didn’t get the chance to cover it on my blog. Mercedes-Benz is set to halt the production of the A-Class and B-Class models in 2025. To be honest, I’m quite pleased to hear that the B-Class will be retired; it was something rather lacklustre. When the B-Class was first unveiled in 2005, it was essentially a smaller version of the R-Class (which is also now discontinued). However, the B-Class always had an unconventional and somewhat awkward appearance.
As for the A-Class, when it made its debut in 1997, it was groundbreaking. Back then, the market lacked a subcompact luxury car. The A-Class brought many technical innovations to the market, such as offering ESP as a standard feature for its class. This was particularly important as the initial A-Class had a tendency to roll over. It also featured a clutch-pedal-free manual transmission, which was sometimes referred to as semi-automatic and had its drawbacks for servicing. However, the most notable feature was its hydrogen cell compatibility. Mercedes-Benz designed the A-Class with the assumption that hydrogen technology would mature soon (around the end of the 1990s), making the A-Class ready for it (hydrogen cells was planned to be placed under the floor panel). As a result of this design, the A-Class had an impressive interior with no exhaust tunnel running through the middle of the car. When the A-Class received a facelift, a long wheelbase version was offered, providing an astounding amount of interior space for its size. I’m not kidding; it was truly remarkable! Sadly, despite its innovative design, people were put off by the A-Class’s peculiar aesthetics, especially in the third and fourth generations, which resembled a VW Golf. Nevertheless, for many years, before the SUV craze took over, people cherished the A-Class as their first foray into the Mercedes-Benz brand. Although the build quality of the A-Class left something to be desired, it didn’t seem to deter buyers.
Unfortunately, the automotive landscape changed, with people shifting their preference to SUVs. Competing models to the A-Class began disappearing from the market, such as the iconic Ford Focus. Additionally, the sales figures for the A and B Classes were dwindling.
In the automotive world, manufacturing a small car doesn’t necessarily translate to lower production costs. These smaller cars still need to adhere to all the regulations, undergo extensive R&D, testing, and more, making them expensive to produce. Moreover, you can’t command high prices for small cars unless you’re in the league of MINI. With consumer demand for small cars declining, there’s simply no logical reason to continue manufacturing them.
As the A-Class bows out, it takes the B-Class with it, given that they share the same platform. The A-Class has already been succeeded by the GLA and EQA models.
The day has come – the SEAT brand will be discontinued by the VW Group. This decision has been speculated upon for a long time; VW Group had been considering ending the SEAT brand, but it managed to survive until now. However, this announcement marks the final chapter for SEAT. SEAT will cease production of cars altogether at the end of the life cycle of the current-generation models (Source: Autocar). The future of the SEAT brand will focus on mobility solutions, such as electric scooters.
On the other hand, the CUPRA brand will continue to manufacture cars. CUPRA essentially represents the performance-oriented version of the SEAT brand.
Unfortunately, SEAT never managed to achieve millions in sales, and its brand image was somewhat confusing. Was SEAT meant to be an affordable alternative to Audi or a sportier version of Skoda? Additionally, SEAT cars often struggled to provide the same level of sales figures as other VW Group brands.
To be honest, I’m not surprised to hear that SEAT will be discontinued. My main concern now is what will happen to the people working for SEAT?
Ford Fiesta is gone after 47 years and eight generations in production, as it couldn’t compete with the growing popularity of SUVs. On July 7, 2023, the last Ford Fiesta rolled off the production line in Cologne, Germany.
The decision to cease Ford Fiesta’s production was mainly driven by the need for space in the factory to accommodate the upcoming Ford Explorer electric SUV. Martin Sander, the general manager of Ford Model E Europe, confirmed this reason.
The Fiesta’s production plant will be transformed into a fully battery-electric plant, a move that aligns with Ford’s strategy to focus on electric vehicles due to the declining sales of the Fiesta. Despite being in production since 1976 and holding the top-selling cars position in the UK from 2009 until 2023 (it even topped the list for the first five months of 2023), the Fiesta struggled to maintain its market share. The Ford Puma, on the other hand, gained more attention and market share, contributing to the Fiesta’s decline.
In addition to the Fiesta, Ford also axed the Mondeo, S-Max, and Galaxy models, replacing them with EV models. The Ford Focus is also scheduled to be discontinued by the end of 2025, and it is likely that by the time you read this article, all Ford models will have EV versions.
There was once a Ford Fiesta Vignale model known for its high-quality leather interior and top-spec features, making it a proper luxury car. However, despite its appeal, it couldn’t survive in the market.
Overall, the Ford Fiesta will be fondly remembered for its long legacy and its once-strong position as one of the UK’s top-selling cars. Its departure marks a new chapter in Ford’s journey towards a more sustainable and electrified future.
Finally, we are introduced to the epitome of luxury electric vehicles, the Rolls Royce Spectre. The Spectre gracefully replaces the aging Wraith with its all-wheel drive electric powertrain. I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to witness the Spectre’s presence at HR Owen Rolls Royce dealer.
Upon my first encounter, one thing was undeniable – its sheer size! The Spectre stands even larger than the Wraith, showcasing the new modular platform that Rolls Royce has implemented in the Ghost, Cullinan, and Phantom. To put it honestly, the Spectre is a grand coupe with an impressive stature.
The Spectre boasts two BMW electric motors harmoniously connected to a 100 kWh battery, resulting in a remarkable power output of 585 horsepower and 900 Nm of torque. However, it’s important to note that the Spectre carries a weight of 2975 kg, making it quite a heavy coupe. Therefore, one shouldn’t expect Tesla-like acceleration figures. The Spectre takes a modest 4.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h, which is impressive for a vehicle weighing three tonnes.
It is my belief that none of the Spectre owners acquired this Rolls-Royce for its performance capabilities alone. The electric drivetrain epitomizes the pinnacle of Rolls-Royce innovation. This renowned brand focuses not on high power outputs or acceleration, but on providing serene and peaceful journeys. The electric power of the Spectre will undoubtedly enhance the tranquility associated with Rolls-Royce.
Now, let’s discuss the range. The Spectre boasts a range of 519 km (323 miles) based on WLTP ratings. However, it is essential to consider that the urban driving range will be considerably lower. Given the substantial weight of this three-tonne vehicle, a significant amount of energy is required to for stop-and-go traffic.
One interesting fact is that the Spirit of Ecstasy, the iconic little statue on the radiator, has been redesigned to improve aerodynamics. This enhancement has contributed to the Spectre achieving an impressive aerodynamic coefficient of 0.25 cw.
Overall, the Spectre is an awe-inspiring car. If you have the means, it is a truly remarkable choice worth considering.
The future of car dealers was a prominent topic discussed at the Financial Times’ Future of Car Summit this year (2023). As the car industry embraces a more digital customer experience approach, the role of dealers is evolving.
For a long time, the prevailing belief in the car industry was that no one would buy a car online, and I have written about this extensively. Car industry insiders had a valid point: buying a car is a significant and critical decision, and many consumers would hesitate to make such a purchase online.
However, just before the pandemic, Tesla began accepting deposits for their cars online. The pandemic then had a profound impact on online shopping, as it became the primary option for consumers in 2020. As people grew accustomed to buying everything online, the question arose: why not cars?
Car companies have started redesigning their websites to offer an online shopping experience. However, they have been cautious about implementing Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal buttons for purchasing cars online. Perhaps the perception is that cars are still too expensive to be bought online.
To illustrate, let’s consider an extreme example from the high-end fashion brand Hermes. Hermes is a French luxury brand known for its exceptionally expensive products.
One of their most lavish offerings is a £101,110 Sofa Sellier 5-seater corner. Surprisingly, this sofa can be purchased online using Apple Pay or a credit card.
While this example may be at the extreme end of the spectrum, there are customers who are willing to make such online purchases. If a sofa can be bought through Apple Pay, why not a car? After all, one can visualise the size, appearance, and features of a car more easily than an unfamiliar sofa.
Considering this perspective, it may be worth exploring the incorporation of Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal in the car industry to gauge consumer reactions.
After a long hiatus, I returned to the Financial Time The Future of Car Summit 2023. Despite the pandemic, the summit continued in an online format. It was delightful to reconnect with familiar faces after four years. This year’s hot topic was, surprisingly, “Would you pay a monthly fee for heated seats in your car?” I understand that this might sound amusing and absurd. However, notable automotive brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Toyota, Audi, Cadillac, Porsche, and even Tesla charge a monthly fee for optional features available on their cars.
This represents a new paradigm! In the past, when purchasing a car, you would specify the desired features at the dealer, and that was the end of it. If you opted for heated seats, you would have them, or else you wouldn’t. Now, however, things have changed. All cars come equipped with all features, but you need to make monthly payments to activate them.
Mercedes-Benz has taken an unconventional approach by introducing a monthly subscription fee for increased acceleration.
The list of examples is extensive, but it is not something that consumers are happy to pay for. Here’s why: car companies compare this model to services like Apple Music, Netflix, or Spotify. They argue that tech companies, such as Apple, follow a similar approach. However, Apple never charges a fee for features like the ultra-wide lens or external speaker. Apple and Google charge for software. If you wish to listen to music, you can pay for Apple Music or download Spotify. Even if you choose not to pay for Apple Music, your iPhone’s speaker still functions. You are not limited to exclusively listening to music from Apple Music. Your iPhone will continue to operate properly.
During the FT summit, I posed a question to Matthew Simpkins from Salesforce. I inquired about Netflix losing customers after the pandemic, as people grew bored with the content and realised they were paying a substantial amount of money. Essentially, people became disinterested and stopped paying. I wondered if the same issue could arise in the future with car subscriptions. Matthew made an excellent point, highlighting that Netflix failed to introduce exciting new content, leading people to no longer find value in paying for the service. He suggested that the car industry could learn from this situation and take the opportunity to improve technology and introduce new features. Additionally, he emphasised the importance of bundling these optional extras with the monthly lease payments. Otherwise, customers may be reluctant to pay an additional £50 while already paying £500 per month. It was a great answer, and Matthew wrote an article about this topic on the Salesforce website, which you can read through the provided link.
From the perspective of participants, the majority at the FT Car Summit are not enthusiastic about paying a subscription fee specifically for heated seats. Drawing from my observations and experience in behavioural economics, it is clear that people generally dislike paying last-minute extra fees, such as delivery charges for online shopping or fees for individual features like heated seats. It would be more effective to bundle these fees into the overall price customers are already willing to pay. This way, the subscription fee would essentially become an optional feature fee. In essence, this approach would likely result in no significant change.
I believe the car industry is endeavouring to find new sources of income and taking inspiration from the tech industry. However, it’s important to note that the tech industry primarily sells software, unlike the automotive industry, which deals with high-priced products like cars. Attempting to retrofit a Netflix payment model to something like a BMW heated seat may not prove successful in the long term.
I attended Salon Privé this year and was worried I would be late, but my timing was perfect – I arrived just after the rain. Although the show was a bit wet, it didn’t stop people from attending.
The most iconic cars of this year’s event were the Ferrari F40 and F50. I have to admit, I am a bit biased towards these cars because they are rare and very hard to come by. Not only are the F40 and F50 limited in numbers, but they are also difficult to drive.
Like the previous year, I visited Anna-Louise Felstead’s stand, and as always, she had amazing paintings.
Ferrari introduced the soft-top version of the Ferrari Roma by HR Owen, called the Roma Spider. The final version of the Aston Martin DBS 770 Ultimate was also on display, marking the end of an era for V12 Aston Martins (except for the SUV).
Anyway, there were so many cars at the event. Salon Privé is the best car show in London, and you shouldn’t miss it next year.