Hondas new Civic app shown on an iPhone

Honda's new Civic app shown on an iPhone

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Mercedes-Benz and Honda have introduced smartphone/iPad apps to help launch new models.

Honda's is for the new UK-built Civic hatchback and is, the automaker said, "to create an emotional engagement with customers in what is predominantly a rational part of the buying process in delivering information. The app recognises the need to fulfil a real role in gathering knowledge and key information as part of the buying process in today’s competitive market and is aimed at a younger more digital savvy audience for Civic."

The app combines online and offline channels with the adoption of QR codes within all new printed catalogues.

Honda UK marketing chief Martin Moll said: “People today want information as part of their journey towards purchase but simple data and stats can be pretty dull. With the new mobile app the challenge was to really engage with the audience whilst at the same time deliver a relevant and involving interaction. In many ways this is the same experience we are trying to reflect in the new Civic when you discover something new and innovative.” 

The app incorporates a number of key interactive elements enabling the consumer to fully explore some of the key features of the new Civic including an interactive “hot spot” to demonstrate the 'magic seats' system with a game that shows the variety of items that can be stored within the flexible interior and luggage area; a dynamic 360 degree viewing facility that provides a virtual tour of the interior space and equipment that becomes even more involving with the iPhone version which uses an accelerometer; users can create their own 'wind tunnel' experiment through the smartphone microphone and discover some of the key aerodynamic and handling characteristics of the new car; and users can 'explore models' and create their own new Civic, choosing model, engine, grade, colour, with a social media and email facility to post and share their model on Twitter or Facebook. 

The mobile app is available for download in over 20 markets throughout Europe.

Mercedes' C-class coupe app is a fully-interactive showroom digital brochure with configurator that allows customers to mix and match all interior and exterior styling while comparing features between available trim lines. All brochure and price list content is available in a single app with 10 interactive features including retailer locator using GPS.

The automaker describes its first iPad brochure app as "an innovative, interactive experience that compliments traditional paper brochures with a more engaging way to experience the C-Class coupe".

"This new approach to customer engagement enables customers and prospects to experience more of the [car's] design, performance and technology... the interactive section makes use of the iPad’s capabilities and informs as much as it entertains."

Marketing director David George said: “Rather than having to wait for a brochure to be delivered, or read a pdf of a paper product, the new app is instant, and it shows the vehicles’ features and functions in attention-grabbing ways.”

Using the slider function, the reader can compare every detail of two selected cars at three different angles. The app also contains a gallery of images and a driving video for each variant.

Mercedes said configuring the C-Class Coupé together with a customer offers showroom staff a great opportunity to stay in touch with a prospect. Optional data capture enables a salesman to send an email to a customer with their personally configured car, as well as new car offers for 2012.

Explaining equipment items such as the 'intelligent light system' is said to be extremely simple, thanks to this app. The different lighting modes are shown via a video and illustrations pointing out the difference between the system and regular lights.

The interactive part of the app is split into three sections - design, performance and technology and each section has three or four topics to explore. There are also contact and pricing sections.

The app is available from iTunes and the Mercedes-Benz UK website.

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