In the event of Driving

I have done some thinking about peoples perspectives on vehicles.

This is what I know for certain that most people know.

  1. Their car needs gas
  2. Their car has four wheels
  3. Their car has an engine
  4. They really only know the make and model of their own vehicle, mostly because they have to
  5. The steering wheel turns the car
  6. The brakes stop the car
  7. P means park
  8. R means reverse
  9. D means drive
  10. ________ (insert your own no duh statement here)

Now, if you break this down, I feel that people do not understand vehicles and the potential of them because they are afraid. They are afraid of the unknown. In all honesty, vehicles are not the most simple of machines that humans have created, especially in the last 10 years with all sorts of computer sensing technologies on board an automobile.

But that really is why most people don’t care to try to understand their automobile, or driving it as an experience and a privilege, because they feel it is only there to do what they need it to do. Which, yes, I guess that statement is defeating my own point, but, it does not hide the fact that they have no clue how it does do what they need it to do. I guess people then could say, “who cares?” Well…I’m glad you asked!

I do. I care enough to want to help people understand the dynamics of owning the vehicle they own. Sure people choose the car they want, because they want it, regardless of the actual need of it. I don’t blame people for that, I’d do the same thing, it’s a free country! But, once they buy that vehicle, then what? When people actually purchase a car they want as opposed to a car the need they tend to take better care of it and enjoy it more.

So I want to help people understand that the vehicle you have, regardless of whether or not you wanted it or you needed it, is still to be enjoyed and cared for. I will begin to elaborate more on the subject more in my upcoming blogs.

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Ford might not be able to Dodge this Ram

Mopar also planning high lift Ram 1500 for Jeep Safari, Raptor put on notice

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Mar 16th 2010 at 1:58PM


Answering the question of whether Mopar’s Ram Power Wagon concept is meant to be a competitor to the awe-inspiring Ford SVT Raptor (that’d be a ‘no,’ it would seem) is a report courtesy of our friends at PickupTrucks.com that Chrysler‘s go-fast division is also planning to release a long-travel version of the Ram 1500 at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

Adding credibility to Mopar’s off-road-ready Ram “research project” is the presence of veteran Baja racer Kent Kroeker, who’s KORE company is already the go-to expert for aftermarket Dodge truck goodies (see photo above of his Ram 2500 racer). Being based on the Ram 1500 means that Chrysler’s Raptor-fighter will feature independent suspension at all four corners. We should also expect plenty of suspension travel. Oh, and could this be a hint at the future?

While it’s not necessarily expected that the Ram brand will offer such a high-lift, long-travel model in dealerships right off the factory floor, there is a decent chance that the components developed for this concept could end up in a Mopar accessory or KORE catalog (or both?) sometime soon. And you can count us firmly among those looking forward to that.

 Autoblog

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I wrote about the Ford Raptor a few months ago on a separate blog, before I began this one. Here is the link to that blog.

 Here is what I think about the Dodge Ram in general. Back in the mid 90’s early 2000’s when Dodge trucks got a face lift and Chuck Norris drove his beastly Ram in “Walker Texas Ranger,” I being about 10, instantly wanted one. It was my favorite truck up until a few years ago when the Silverado became my more preferred pickup of choice.

 All that aside, there has been talk that Chrysler will make the Ram a separate model from the other models in the company. I relate this to the simple illustration that Corvette has with Chevy. People think “Corvette” they don’t think “Chevy” because the car is in a league of its own. I have a feeling, and am an advocate that Chrysler separate the Ram. They should put their focus into making it the most versatile pickup on the market.

 When I heard the rumors that the Ram might be building a Power Wagon to compete with the Ford Raptor, I couldn’t have been happier. I think that with the design the truck has, it should be built leaner and meaner in engine and off road capability, although I do think the design needs a little more refinement to match.

 If the Ram Power Wagon goes through, I would support it thoroughly, and I think it has major potential in competing with the Raptor and beating it.

Maybach may not be back

Report: Maybach to get facelift in Beijing before brand gets the axe

If a recent report out of the UK is to be believed, Maybach is set to get the axe in the very near future. However, as a last hurrah, all three models from the ultra-luxury division of Mercedes-Benz (57, 62 and Landaulet) will receive facelifts this year. The last round of top-zoot Maybachs will debut in late April at the Beijing Motor Show. Expect the changes to the lineup to be very minor – new grilles and LED lights should be about the only differences from the sedans currently on sale.

So, why kill off Maybach? Ever since the brand was resurrected in 2002, it has suffered from very slow sales. Not surprising, considering the high price tags, comparatively low content levels and the hard financial times the world has fallen on in recent years. Furthermore, parent company Mercedes-Benz has big plans to expand the S-Class range, which includes adding more upmarket versions which should fill the void of Maybach’s current offerings. Look for the new S-Class to arrive in 2014, along with a fully updated version of the R-Class people-mover, as well.

Steven J. Ewing article found on Autoblog

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I first came across Maybach around my sophomore year of high school when I found one for sale on Ebay motors in the miscellaneous cars category. I thought initially, “holy crap! Why is this thing so expensive?!” After some brief reading and browsing of photos of this massive land luxury vehicle on a golf course, I found out why.

I instantly had an inclination that it was Mercedes related, simply by design. Finding out I was correct on that, I was now pleased to be exposed to a new vehicle!

So, over the past few years, I have stopped browsing Ebay motors, and realized that Maybach is not in the news much. Until I come across an article like this.

Hmmm…will I be sad that Maybach is gone? To be honest, yes. Especially with Bugatti coming out with their new exotic luxury sedan, even though technically, Bugatti and Maybach are nowhere near in comparison except possibly in price.

I do think that the “exotic” part of Maybach is possibly part of the reason of why it will not continue within the next few years. With Aston Martin, Porsche, and soon to be Lamborghini and Bugatti all playing around with exotic sports sedans, Maybach has no performance as much to match what these vehicles can do.

But even if you put it in a realm that it would compete in. Rolls Royce and Bentley have long set the standard for ultra luxury sedans. With such a limited number of vehicles and a less known name plate, Maybach has had an uphill battle since its rebirth. However, it will be sad to see it go, simply because it was one more vehicle that added to the finer things of life.

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Chevrolet Goes Social At SXSW

When it comes to getting younguns interested in its vehicles, General Motors hasn’t been as aggressive as some of its competitors in exploiting Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and other social media services. That may change over the next week and a half, however, as Chevrolet schleps to the heart of Texas for Austin’s annual South By Southwest Festival (SXSW).

If you’ve ever attended SXSW, you know it’s the perfect place to cross paths with tech-savvy members of Generations X and Y. People from around the globe come to hear new music, see indie films, and listen to Silicon Valley innovators speak about new developments on the web and in technology. These are the people who tweet and post status updates every five seconds — the exact sort of people GM needs to recruit if it wants to generate interest in its products the same way that Ford has driven interest in the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

According to a press release, Chevrolet will evaluate a total of three social media technologies at SXSW. Perhaps the least interesting of those is the use of Quick Response (QR) codes. QR codes are those squiggly squares you’ve probably glimpsed in magazine ads and on some labels in hip grocery stores (see left). At SXSW, Chevrolet will slap QR codes on display models of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro, Volt, and Cruze; festival attendees will be able to take pics of those labels, upload them to a QR database, and download additional info about the vehicles. Which sounds fine, but QR technology has been around for several years, and it doesn’t seem to be catching on. True, it’s a nifty idea, but we expect another start-up to come along any day now to offer a similar service that’s easier to use. Until that time, we’ll read the brochure.

Item #2 is Chevy’s partnership with Gowalla, a geolocational social media service like FourSquare, or, if that means nothing to you, like Twitter merged with Google Maps (which is, apparently, Twitter 2.0). Gowalla users will receive welcome messages from Chevy when they “check in” to the service, and some will receive coupons for free transport around town in Chevy’s fleet of vehicles. Sounds slightly dull to us, but few at TCC have caught the geolocation bug — even though everyone swears that it’s the next big thing.

The most interesting technology that Chevrolet will trot out at SXSW is something called Chevrolet iReveal. It’s an app, but as far as we can tell, it’s not on iTunes yet. That might mean it’s Android-only (which would be stupid, given the SXSW crowd’s love of Steve Jobs), or GM could be waiting to drop it until the festival begins this Friday (which would be less stupid, but still annoying, since it’s mentioned in the GM press release). Either way, we’re unable to give the app a test-drive, but according to the release, iReveal will “unlock three-dimensional models of Chevrolet vehicles. The application will provide key specifics of the vehicles, and insert the virtual image of the car over the actual streetscape viewed through the smart phone camera lens.” That sounds pretty sweet.

Of course, apart from Gowalla, none of these are what we’d call social media services — and frankly, even the Gowalla link-up sounds a bit weak. However, if the technologies prove successful, there are some social media implications down the line. We look forward to seeing them implemented. Soon.

Chevrolet to learn about the best practices for connecting with customers in a digital age

DETROIT, March 9 /PRNewswire/ — On March 12, Chevrolet will launch three social-media applications at South by Southwest, as a pilot test of emerging technologies that will help Chevrolet connect with consumers. During the interactive, music and film conferences and festivals, Chevrolet will have an opportunity to introduce more than 185,000 attendees to products like the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. As one of the preeminent interactive conferences, South by Southwest also provides an opportunity for Chevrolet to learn what attendees feel are the best practices and emerging technologies in social media.

“Social media is a powerful tool in a digital world where people can get news instantly on their smart phone, watch television shows on streaming video, and communicate with friends on social-networking sites,” says Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. “For Chevrolet, South by Southwest provides an invaluable opportunity to learn how best to communicate with customers in by leveraging these technologies.”

Accordingly, Chevrolet will focus on integrating technologies and events at South by Southwest, creating opportunities to talk with, and learn from, attendees.

Evaluating Emerging Technologies

Chevrolet will evaluate three emerging technologies during the conference, including location-based social networking, quick response codes, and augmented reality.

  • For location-based social networking, Chevrolet has partnered with Austin-based Gowalla. From their smart phones, Gowalla users can “check in” to let friends and followers know where they are at a given moment. Gowalla users inAustin will receive a welcome message from Chevrolet, while a select number will receive icons redeemable for transportation in a dedicated fleet of Chevrolet vehicles, or information at Chevrolet lounges around the city.
  • Chevrolet will use Quick Response (QR) codes to introduce attendees to the key features of vehicles including the Camaro, Volt, and Cruze. When photographed using a camera phone, the QR codes will launch a dedicated microsite with key features of the vehicle. For example, a QR code on the hood will take attendees to a micro-site to learn more about the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine in the Cruze, which is expected to deliver class-leading 40 miles per gallon.
  • For augmented reality, Chevrolet is one of the first automotive companies to use the emerging technology in a mobile application. Users who download the Chevrolet iReveal application, available in Beta form, will be able to unlock three-dimensional models of Chevrolet vehicles. The application will provide key specifics of the vehicles, and insert the virtual image of the car over the actual streetscape viewed through the smart phone camera lens.

“The potential of these technologies is incredible,” says Christopher Barger, Director of Global Communications and Technology for GM. “Imagine using Quick Response Codes to download the price and options for a vehicle on a dealer lot right to your cell phone. Or, imagine using augmented reality to virtually preview different colors of the Camaro in your own driveway. We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with mobile technologies and social media applications.”

By Richard Read from TheCar Connection—Read the article here

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I found this article and was highly amused. Honestly, I don’t think any of the car companies, or the advertising agencies who work for them, have utilized social networking and interactive communication to anywhere near a fraction of its potential. I am a journalism student at Regent University (yes I realize that traditional journalism is a dying art, but at Regent, we are looking at the future of journalism. Check it out here!) and I am part of that generation in which car companies should be seeking, yet they are not getting through very well. They must utilize this area! MUST!

All I have to say is that in order to reach an audience, you should probably listen to them (and I mean listen. If something sounds absurd, don’t write it off, it just might be the next big thing) and you should have someone on your “team” who knows one, or is one perhaps. Yes, younger people don’t have experience, but they have the knowledge of what works with their peers and what doesn’t.

For any car company that might read this, I am putting out an offer to help you. I am a passionate car enthusiast and I am a college student, learning, living, and knowing how to reach my peers. Contact me through replying on this forum.

Cadillac…no longer caught up

So… I read today that Cadillac is attempting to distance itself from GM.

THANK GOODNESS!

For some reason I believe that Cadillac has been misunderstood by the general public for the past 10 years and even more so in the past 3.

If you look at the sheer price, power, performance, and luxury offered by the Cadillac vehicles, no other vehicle really compares…at least what you get compared to what you give for it.

Cadillac’s are not just old peoples cars, and they are not just gangsta whips. I feel that those associations are fair, and that it adds to the diversity of America, but there is an image, more like an aura around Cadillac’s, that screams Americas finest.  

I think that the GM image has hurt Cadillac. Maybe more in a small way, but still, it has done some damage none the less and especially since taking government loans. I do realize that it is not all happy feelings, as they have not completely cut ties, and they are still supplied by all things GM. But still, I see this as a glimmer of hope that maybe, one day soon, Cadillac will be a free, privately owned car company, competing on the world class stage, and winning!

With all this in mind, I urge you to stand up and support Cadillac and help it gain some independence. While that seems almost oxymoronish due to the present circumstances, every little bit helps!

A Corvette Conceptualized

 

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.