TIME Autos

Ford’s Zipcar-Killer Is Launching in This City

Ford Brings Dynamic Car-Sharing Experiment to London; First Serv
Ford Ford Brings Dynamic Car-Sharing Experiment to London

It's an on-demand rental service called "GoDrive"

Ford is going head-to-head with Zipcar as it launches its new GoDrive car rental service in London.

The app-based service will allow users to pick up one of Ford’s 50 vehicles on-demand and drop it off at one of a number of hubs across central London. When a users books a car through the service, they automatically book a parking spot at one the 20 available locations, making one-way trips stress-free.

The service uses a pay-per-minute pricing approach that covers all fees, including congestion fees, insurance and fuel. A pilot program launched earlier this year with 100 members. Ford is now extending GoDrive’s reach to 2,000 members.

The global car-sharing industry is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2020, and the U.K. car-sharing sector alone is expected to grow 23% from 2013 to 2015, according to PwC research. But even as the industry booms, car-sharers are looking for more flexibility.

“Our research tells us that car clubs currently are perceived as inflexible when it comes to booking, time slots and return locations,”said Alicia Agius, project lead, GoDrive, Ford of Europe. “Features such as one-way journeys and pay-as-you-go extend the number of opportunities that drivers would want to car-share and could prove a game-changer.”

GoDrive is Ford’s move to take on car-sharing kings like Zipcar as well as ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft which are trying to become realistic replacements for car ownership, especially in major metropolitan areas. The service is also an opportunity for Ford to show off its electric vehicles. Half of the GoDrive fleet will consist of zero-emission Focus electric models.

The London launch is still in beta phase, and the automaker plans to tweak its service as it learns more about its members. Ford is also exploring car-sharing experiments in Germany, India and the U.S.

TIME Apple

Apple Exec: The Car Is the ‘Ultimate Mobile Device’

Amid rumors of an Apple Car

Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams hinted on Wednesday the company is interested in doing more with cars.

At the Code Conference in California, an Apple shareholder asked Williams if Apple has its sights set on the auto industry. “The car is the ultimate mobile device, isn’t it?” said Williams, according to Business Insider. “We explore all kinds of categories. We’ll certainly continue to look at those, and evaluate where we can make a huge difference.”

Williams’ response comes amid rumors that Apple may want to take on Tesla with an electric car of its own. The efforts are supposedly nicknamed Project Titan.

Still, Apple has other car plans in the works, too: Its new CarPlay software replaces vehicles’ infotainment systems with an iPhone-style interface.

Williams also spoke on Wednesday about third-party apps coming to the Apple Watch this fall.

TIME Apple

This TV Broadcaster May Put its Shows on Apple’s Rumored Cable Killer

Sheldon faces a personal crisis after deciding he's wasting his time with string theory, onThe Big Bang Theory on April 10, 2013.
Sonja Flemming—CBS/Getty Images Sheldon faces a personal crisis after deciding he's wasting his time with string theory, onThe Big Bang Theory on April 10, 2013.

Apple's upcoming TV service could include major networks like CBS

Television broadcaster CBS will likely sign onto Apple’s rumored streaming TV service, giving viewers access to marquee shows like Big Bang Theory and NCIS.

Speaking on-stage at the Code tech conference near Los Angeles, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that his network will “probably” sign a deal with Apple to be part of the service. Apple is said to be preparing a streaming TV service that will bundle shows and channels that people normally get through cable providers.

“We’re very excited about it,” he said, adding that he met last week with Apple’s VP of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue. The conversations are still ongoing, however, and nothing’s set in stone yet.

While the service is still being developed and its release has reportedly been delayed, it could become a success. Television viewers are increasingly balking at shelling out big bucks for hundreds of channels — most of which they don’t watch — and that provide limited flexibility in how they can be viewed. Instead, many are turning to online video services like Hulu and HBO Go, which offer individual television shows on demand.

“Apple TV is trying to change the universe,” Moonves said. “I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying.”

“The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS,” he said about the various competitors like Apple and Sling that are trying to create online television packages. Larger networks like CBS could benefit by getting a larger proportion of the revenue from these new services than they do from traditional cable television packages.

TIME Fast Food

McDonald’s Is Making 2 Big Changes to Its Burgers

McDonalds Campaign
Gene J. Puskar—AP A McDonald's Big Mac sandwich at a McDonald's restaurant in Robinson Township, Pa. on Jan. 21, 2014.

The fast food chain is changing things up to boost sales

McDonald’s believes it has the solution to declining sales —and it starts with warmer buns.

The world’s largest fast-food chain is “recommitting to hotter, tastier food,” said CEO Steve Easterbrook, who launched a new strategic turnaround plan earlier this month.

To make that happen, McDonald’s will now toast its burger buns 5 seconds longer, thus making the bread 15 degrees warmer. It will also bring the heat to its burger patties. The chain will change the way it sears and grills its beef so it’s juicier, though the company didn’t elaborate on the details.

Easterbrook, who took the helm in March after the former CEO stepped down, believes that every little bit counts and sums up “to a big difference for our customers,” he said at a conference Wednesday morning, according to Buzzfeed.

READ MORE: Can McDonald’s get its mojo back?

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has futzed with its toasting levels. In the 1990s, the chain gave up toasting its buns altogether in exchange for efficiency, but the quality decline didn’t go over so well. By 1997, McDonald’s changed its mind and required new stores to install toasting equipment at a cost of about $7,000 per location.

MONEY Walmart

This Is Walmart’s Amazon Prime Killer

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Location Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's called "ShippingPass."

Walmart’s Amazon Prime competitor finally has name: ShippingPass.

TechCrunch reports the world’s largest retailer accidentally leaked that and other details when a test site for the service was accidentally made public yesterday, giving customers more insight into how Walmart plans to challenge Amazon’s online dominance.

As MONEY reported earlier, ShippingPass, previously codenamed “Tahoe,” will offer unlimited three-day delivery of eligible items purchased at walmart.com and cost $50 per year—half the price of Amazon Prime.

An FAQ posted on the testing site reveals the launch will be restricted to a limited number of areas at launch. Products eligible for ShippingPass delivery will be marked on Walmart’s website with special logo, much like how Amazon identifies items eligible for Prime shipping. According to the FAQ, three-day delivery will only be guaranteed if the order is placed by noon local time.

While not all items will be eligible for three-day shipping, the leaked site revealed some items with slower delivery times—four to six days—will also ship at no cost, and ShippingPass appears to have no minimum order. Walmart currently offers free standard shipping to all customers on orders that exceed $50.

TIME Autos

Lamborghini Is Making Something You’d Never Expect

Lamborghini suv urus auto car
Vincent Thian—AP Lamborghini's latest SUV "Urus" is on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing, on April 24, 2012.

The luxury brand goes big

Lamborghini is returning to an unexpected market for its luxury vehicles: SUVs.

The company announced on Wednesday that it’s preparing “for a new era” with the introduction of its SUV, which was originally presented as a concept at a 2012 auto show in China. The vehicle has been dubbed the Lamborghini Urus and will be available in 2018.

Slated to be produced in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the company said the car will “herald additional growth and significant opportunities across the marque with the expansion of the product range.”

Lamborghini has put out an SUV in the past. The LM002 model was manufactured by the company from 1986 to 1993, but there was only limited production of that car.

“This is a proud moment for everybody in Lamborghini,” Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement. “The introduction of a third model line endorses the stable and sustainable growth of the company and signifies for us the beginning of a new era.”

To make room for production, a Lamborghini factory will nearly double in size from 80,000 square meters to 150,000 square meters. The company also has plans to hire an additional 500 new employees.

The brand is owned by the Volkswagen Group and is a subsidiary of Audi.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Famous Logos Redesigned in Protest Are Pretty Shocking

Qatar Looks To 2022 FIFA World Cup
Sean Gallup/Getty Images DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 24: Arab men sit at a shoemaker's stall with a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy in the Souq Waqif traditional market on October 24, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup football competition and is slated to tackle a variety of infrastructure projects, including the construction of new stadiums. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Pressure is mounting over worker deaths in Qatar

More than 1,400 workers have died at World Cup construction sites in Qatar, and now designers are putting the pressure on FIFA’s sponsors.

Today, nine FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland and indicted with U.S. corruption charges—but these arrests appear unrelated to the worker deaths in Qatar. A new campaign led by the International Trade Union Confederation, a global trade group representing workers’ rights, calls for more attention on the dire issue and estimates that there will be 62 worker deaths for each World Cup game played in Qatar. As a result, major World Cup sponsors like Visa and Adidas have issued stern statements of concern, but have not pulled their sponsorships.

A number of designers online have taken up the mantle of pressuring those same sponsors by redesigning their corporate logos, tweaking the art and adding the slogan “proud sponsor of the human rights abuses of World Cup 2022.” They have submitted designs with the logos of Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Adidas, Sony and others.

The new logo designs are being posted at Bored Panda, where anyone on the Web can submit additional designs. Many of them also play with the official slogans of the sponsors, such as one that takes Sony’s “make believe” and changes it to “make slavery.”

Some of the most striking redesigns are below:

Adidas

Sony

McDonald’s

Coca-Cola

Visa

MONEY skymall

SkyMall Is Back from the Dead

World's Largest Airport Operator AENA Start Trading On Madrid Stock Exchange
David Ramos—Getty Images Need a neck pillow? There may be an app for that.

You can still get that outdoor dinosaur skeleton you always wanted.

Looking for a wireless padlock or an intelligent toilet seat? Well, you’re in luck.

SkyMall, the original purveyor of weird and eccentric products you don’t need but secretly want, has returned.

The retailer’s parent company, Xhibit Corp., filed for bankruptcy in January. At the time, Xhibit’s acting CEO Scott Wiley’s CEO blamed the publication’s troubles on the rise of electronic devices on planes, resulting in fewer passengers browsing SkyMall’s catalogue. However, Wiley expressed hope that SkyMall could find a buyer who would keep it operational.

It appears Wiley’s prayers have been answered. In April, SkyMall was purchased by C&A Marketing, a New Jersey-based company. The company, which also owns Ritz Camera and Polaroid, snagged SkyMall at action in April for just under $2 million.

The Atlantic reports how SkyMall’s new owners have been using Twitter to revamp and build up hype for the ironically iconic—or is it now iconically ironic?—brand. Clearly, the new SkyMall wants you to know it’s in on the joke about what its website calls its “occasionally unusual” products:

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 12.04.47 PM

SkyMall’s new owners seem optimistic about the resurrection, telling NJBiz they plan to build mobile apps in addition to selling online. Classical Marcellus statue, anyone?

MONEY Travel

Why Travelers Should Love It When Travel Stocks Tank

paper airplanes crashing around trashcan
Nicholas Rigg—Getty Images

Bad news for investors may be good news for travelers—and vice versa.

For quite some time, airline stocks were on a tear. The Dow Jones airline index was up 75% over the 12-month period ending last July. High airfares and fees combined with cheap fuel prices resulted in record high profits for airlines last year, and the trend continued through the first quarter of 2015 with more all-time-high profitability.

Yet all of a sudden last week, airline stocks took a nosedive. The six-day period that ended Tuesday was the worst stretch airline stocks have experienced in over seven months. After dropping 2.4% on Tuesday, the sector had dipped nearly 9% overall over the past week or so. Shares of Delta, American Airlines, and Southwest have all dropped by more than 10%. What happened?

The blame is largely being cast upon Southwest Airlines. Its crime? Expansion. Despite the recent uptick in the price of fuel, Southwest stated last week that it would save at least $1.2 billion in fuel costs this year compared to 2014. Cheaper fuel has made the idea of adding more flights and routes more attractive. The carrier now expects seat capacity to grow 7% to 8% this year versus 2014, and in 2016 it anticipates capacity will increase another 6% to 7%.

Expanding at a time when costs are low might seem to make a lot of business sense. Yet over the past few years—the era of mergers and oligopoly—airlines stressed “capacity discipline” over growth as a means to keep profits high. They have slaughtered unprofitable routes and dramatically scaled back service at former hubs like Cleveland, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh in order to keep flights as full as possible. United CEO Jeff Smisek summed up the unofficial mantra of the modern airline industry earlier this year when he said, “We will absolutely not lose our capacity discipline … It’s very healthy for us and very healthy for the industry.”

To investors, Southwest’s increased growth plans throw a wrench into the works. “Domestic capacity discipline has effectively vanished,” Wolfe Research airline analyst Hunter Keay said with respect to Southwest’s move.

Essentially, Southwest is upping the competition for customers. Imagine that! This scenario is wonderful for travelers, who have been subjected to increasingly high fares and fees across the board, as well as fewer and fewer choices in routes as the airlines decided to maintain “discipline” in the quest for higher profits.

Southwest’s competitors, on the other hand, aren’t fans of this turn of events because they are being forced to, well, compete—with more flights and (likely) lower fares to match Southwest. Understandably, many airlines would prefer to increase capacity only when it is overwhelmingly clear that demand warrants it, and only when they are assured airfares could remain high. Airline investors would prefer a less competitive industry as well, as it would mean steady, reliably high profits.

Interestingly, a recent dramatic change in the stock prices of another travel category—rental cars—also has implications for the average traveler’s budget. In mid-May, rental car giant Hertz, which also owns the Thrifty and Dollar brands, announced it was raising rates this summer, adding $5 per day and $20 per week onto many rentals.

Obviously, this isn’t news travelers want to hear, especially not on the cusp of the summer vacation season. Investors, on the other hand, loved the move, not only in terms of what it means for Hertz but for the rental car industry in general. As the New York Post noted, immediately after Hertz’s announcement, the company’s stock shot up 5%, while shares of its main competitor, Avis, soared more than 10%.

TIME Autos

Everything You Need to Know About Android Auto

Android Auto
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T at the 107th Annual Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois on FEBRUARY 13, 2015.

Reviewers say it trounces old-school in-car navigation systems

Google’s operating system for cars has finally arrived. Android Auto, which lets drivers control popular smartphone apps through their car’s dashboard interface, is now available in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and will be rolled out to additional vehicles in the future.

Here are the key insights from reviewers at The Verge and the Wall Street Journal who have taken Android Auto for a test drive.

Android Auto truly replaces your phone

While driving, Google wants you to put your phone away completely and rely on Android Auto to make phone calls, get directions, queue up music and even send texts. Drivers are locked out of their smartphones while the device is connected to Android Auto. Apps like Maps are as fully-featured through the car as they are on a smartphone (though you can’t look up walking or transit directions).

You’ll be doing a lot of talking

In order to increase driver safety, Android Auto encourages people to use voice commands instead of having drivers type information. You can simply speak to ask Android Auto for directions or to place a call. The app itself is pretty talky as well. For instance, it will read aloud text messages you receive and also read back texts that you dictate before you send them off to friends.

Music is at your fingertips

Listening to music is one of the most common activities in the car, and it’s a key part of Anroid Auto. Currently compatible services include Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio (Pandora isn’t currently supported). Users can use voice search to find songs or artists, though reviewers said the feature worked much better with Google Play Music than with third-party apps. There’s also a quirk that limits how far drivers can scroll through a playlist in order to prevent long periods of distraction from the road, so it would be hard to comb through a whole music library using the app.

Your car is now your personal assistant

In addition to expected features like navigation and music playback, Android Auto makes use of Google’s digital assistant Google Now to offer context-sensitive suggestions for getting through your day. The app may present navigation directions to your office when you get in the car in the morning, for example, or present the route home when you boot up the car in the evening.

Overall, reviewers tended to agree that Android Auto is a big step up from the clunky navigation systems that have become standard in many new cars. With Apple’s CarPlay also planned to roll out to more vehicles soon, expect the smartphone to soon become a standard tool for in-car navigation and communication.

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