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Automakers Build Showroom in an App.

September 2, 2013, on page B3 of the New York edition.

"They won't come into the stores to educate themselves," said Peter Chung, general manager of Magic Toyota and Scion in Edmonds, Wash. "They'll do that online." More than half of the younger buyers surveyed by AutoTrader.com, a car-buying site, said they wanted to avoid interacting with dealership sales representatives.

In response, automakers like Cadillac and Toyota are starting to embrace technology that tries to take the showroom to the buyer. Known as augmented reality, it embeds images and videos in a picture on the user's smartphone or tablet. The result is a far more detailed view of the image, often in three dimensions with added layers of information.

For example, when Cadillac introduced the ATS last year, it created a campaign in cities across the country that allowed observers to point an iPad at a chalk mural and watch the car drive through scenes like China's mountainous Guoliang Tunnel and Monaco's Grand Prix circuit. The goal was to grab the attention of potential buyers, especially younger ones, who would not normally think of Cadillac when researching new cars.

Later, Cadillac added the technology to its print advertising, pointing readers to download the brand's smartphone application to view a three-dimensional model of the car. The app allows users to zoom in on the car and turn it 360 degrees by swiping their finger across the screen.

"It's obviously different than going to a dealership, but at least it's enough to engage with the vehicle in an environment where they're comfortable," said Arianna Kughn, Cadillac's social media manager.

Audi has used the technology in its brochures and instruction manuals, while Toyota added it to a campaign with the computer-generated pop star Hatsune Miku to interest a younger audience in its 2012 Corolla and to increase the number of downloads of the automaker's shopping app.

Other businesses are seeing an opportunity as well. Metaio, a German software company with an office in San Francisco, has worked on projects for Audi, Volkswagen and Toyota. Specular Theory, based here in Venice Beach, is using Hollywood production techniques to create renderings that allow users to open the doors of a car that is not really there, peer inside and roam around, or take a test drive, merely by running their fingers over a phone or tablet screen.

Its founder, Morris May, is applying the expertise he developed over 20 years as a graphic designer on movies like "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" and "Spider-Man 2" to redefine the way people view cars in the showroom, online and through mobile devices.

"We're changing the way people experience cars," Mr. May said, as he used his finger to open the car door of the virtual model displayed on his iPad, revealing the interior of the car, including the dashboard, steering wheel and texture of the seats.

Augmented reality to the uninitiated may seem like a bizarre sci-fi plot device but is actually accessible to anyone with a smartphone or tablet. Mr. May turned on his iPad and pointed the camera at a piece of paper that looked like a camouflage print, which concealed the code for what is called a target image. He trained the lens on the image and a three-dimensional car appeared on the tablet screen.

The technology offers cost savings to automakers. Traditionally, they spend millions when marketing a new model, on photo shoots or building a "cookie-cutter configurator" that changes the car's colors or features on a Web site, Mr. May says. When a new model is introduced, that work is scrapped, and the production team, which includes photographers, Web developers and media buyers, starts anew.

As an alternative, Specular Theory uses an automaker's computer-aided design data to create material that is consistent across Web browsers, phone and tablet screens and showroom floors, where dealers can project and modify life-size, three-dimensional car models. When an automaker makes a minor change to, say, the tailpipe of next year's model, Specular Theory can eliminate the time and money spent creating a new campaign by tweaking data from the marketing materials.

Mr. May's model uses the weight of the car and the tension of the springs to calculate how it drives, controlling the car with a joystick. Specular Theory, which started six months ago, is still in its infancy but has landed Autodesk, which makes three-dimensional design software for a variety of industries, as a client.

1. Answer the following questions:

 What is augmented reality?

 Why do car making companies have to change the advertisement channels?

 What does Cadillac do to enlarge its target customer group?

 What picture can you get on your iPhone shopping for a Toyota?

 How would you choose your car?

2. Write out 5 word combinations which you came across with for the first time whole reading the text and make your own examples.

Pattern: to grab the attention of potential buyers. It is not easy to grab the attention of potential buyers as the market is full.

3. Is it true or false or not stated in the article?

1. People do not like showrooms any more. 2. The motor dealers must change their approach in finding clients. 3. You can see the interior of your car on your iPad. 4. Hollywood directors are invited to create advertisement. 5. You cannot buy a car if you do not have an iPad or an iPhone.

4. Find English equivalents to the following word combinations.

Экран планшетника, руль автомобиля, провести пальцем по экрану, натуральный размер, кампания по рекламированию, тратить миллионы.

5. Ask as many questions as possible to the following sentence.

The technology offers cost savings to automakers.

6. Make the following sentences negative:

1. Dealers can project and modify life-size, three-dimensional car models. 2. Augmented reality to the uninitiated may seem like a bizarre sci-fi plot device. 3. Specular Theory is using Hollywood production techniques to create renderings. 4. Audi has used the technology in its brochures and instruction manuals. 5. Toyota added it to a campaign with the computer-generated pop star Hatsune Miku to interest a younger audience in its 2012 Corolla.

 



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