Archive for the 'cars' Category

Hybrid Cars

If many automakers have a version of a hybrid car – and if our oil resources are 1) precariously dependent upon unfriendly nations, and 2) severely limited and projected to run dry, perhaps in our lifetime – then I have one question:

Why are all new cars not being built with hybrid or electric engines – and the standard internal combustion engine rapidly going the way of the dinosaur?

I don’t get it, I truly don’t.

(I also believe that a hybrid SUV is an oxymoron and in a sane universe would implode, like a matter/antimatter reaction.)

I don’t believe that cost is an good-enough answer. Sure, a Toyota hybrid Camry costs considerably more than a standard. I strongly believe that a big part of that differential is charging what the market will bear, and the rest is volume disadvantage. If most new cars were hybrid, both of those issues would disappear.

(No, I’m not in favor of bailouts for the Big 3, businesses should succeed or fail on their own merits. The automakers are the ones who made poor business decisions, and failing to move fast enough into the hybrid/alternative market is one of them.)

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 by Jeri
Under: cars | 5 Comments »

Stay Off the Roads Part II

I took Zach to the DOL to get his learner’s permit today. His grades are where they need to be so he’s in driver’s ed this semester, and it’s time to teach him to drive. I think.

We went straight from the DOL to an empty parking lot so he could do 20 minutes of practice driving. I let him drive the half mile or so home, and I’m proud to report that I didn’t have to use the imaginary passenger side brake pedal once.

In honor of the occasion, I photoshopped Zach (badly) into his dream car, the fabulous electric Tesla Roadster (see Jay Leno’s Garage video).

Enjoy driver’s ed, Zach, and then your new freedom!

Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: cars, family | 6 Comments »

Doggie Moral Dilemma

I post this with little comment of my own, but I am interested in our dear reader’s thoughts about this story of a dying doggie, a panicked owner, and an unsympathetic cop.

The cop’s gotta stop the guy to figure out why he’s driving that way, but where does it go from there? YOU BE THE JUDGE! {cue People’s Court theme}.

Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2008 by Bryan
Under: cars, dogs | 5 Comments »

MINI Branding

According to Wikipedia, branding seeks to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique.

In our experience, MINI is a superb practitioner of this. Every interaction we’ve had with them has been classy, fun, and has had a very personal touch. Buying a MINI is not just acquiring a cute little car, it’s joining a community with its own benefits, culture and rewards.

Today, we got a package from MINI. Ostensibly, it was to send us roadside assistance cards and some finance information. But in the package was:

  • A personalized note from MINI
  • A pen, journal and rubber band – all MINI branded
  • Mousepad with lots of red MINIs and checkered flags
  • A static cling window poetry kit
  • Little metallic gold body decals
  • Dice antenna topper

Inside the box was a flap. Printed on it was “Nothing behind this flap. Zip, nada, zilch.” When we, of course, looked behind the flap there was an envelope marked top secret. It contained a MINI decoder template, a decoder prism and 3-d glasses. Apparently the decoder template can be held over a MINI ad for a secret message.

It probably didn’t cost much to put together and send, but the thinking that goes into their branding and marketing is amazing. Even more so, they’re not trying to gain our business – they already won it, months ago – they just want to ensure our brand loyalty years down the line.

The extended family-like feeling and superb customer follow-through make owning a MINI fun. If we weren’t already thrilled to bits with our car, it would certainly make us consider buying another one from the same company if we ever replace the one we have.

Plus, in this extended club drivers wave to each other. Random acts of friendliness are a major bonus. ☺

Posted on Monday, May 5th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: cars, MINI | 1 Comment »

Mini Road Trip: Shelton

We joined some great people from the Puget Sound MINI club today for our first-ever MINI event. The group drove to Shelton, for a casino buffet breakfast, then hit the back roads of the south Sound area.

Many Minis Small

Ron mapped out a twisty, windy, beautiful drive. We stopped at two state parks – the below pictures were at Kopachuk & Twanoh State Parks, respectively.

Five Minis Maggie at Twanoh

After the cruise, Bryan and I drove by my sister’s home to visit Maggie-the-MINI’s cousin, Pumpkin the vintage VW convertible. The old-and-new picture is great – Pumpkin is a fun little car.

Maggie & Pumpkin

It was a top-down, beautiful spring day. In spite of my hat and SPF-30 sunscreen, I now have a slight sunglasses sunburn. I look forward to many more events with this group!

Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: cars, MINI | 3 Comments »