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Saturday
Mar142015

Recoil

Its an innovative car that was unveiled at SEMA last year. A comprehensive walk around with Jay Leno, and the Ring Brothers that built the car. Its fast...

 

 

 

Friday
Mar132015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, we had a Friday 13th last month, and now today. How often do we get a Friday 13 in two consecutive months? A question for Twitter later today?

An impressive photo gallery of the Geneva Auto Show.

Technology is enveloping everything that we do, in one fashion or another its a participant in our daily lives. When technology gets a little cranky our daily lives are partially turned around for one reason or another.

You have to wonder if its the same with technology in vehicles.

Centre Screen

Some center screens are intuitive and relaxing, some are indifferent, other are irritating. The differences are not as noticeable until you go from a vehicle with a reasonably intuitive screen, to a vehicle with an irritating screen.

From our perspective intuitive screens are relaxing, busy ill designed screens are irritating.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Cool feature for highway cruising, until the radar picks up the truck in the right hand lane in a curve on the road. While the vehicle concludes that you are just about to hit something.

Back Up Camera

One version will get you to hit something, the other will make you stop way ahead of the obstruction (car, wall, snow bank). When the lens is dirty the camera is dramatically less useful.

There should be a single standard for all back up cameras, we have been saying this for a while now.

Gear Selector

Remember the column shift, then the floor shift, now we have shift buttons all over the dash and console. Where is D where is R and where is P?

Paddle Shifter

In a race application the best thing that ever happened, in a street / track car it will help the driver on the track. On a street vehicle, especially a "utility" version with an 8 speed transmission, and paddles that have a mind of their own. It begs the question "how useful is a paddle shifter on a "street utility vehicle"?

To all manufacturers "Save the money, get rid of those useless, irritating paddles".

Turbo Motors

In theory they make a ton of sense. We saw turbo motors emerging several years ago. Put it this way a 4 cylinder with a turbo, is still a 4 cylinder, still sounds like a 4 cylinder, and has no business being under the hood of certain makes.

Fuel Economy

We are firm believers that it takes gas to make horsepower, and it takes horsepower to push air. Put a turbo motor in a utility vehicle and start pushing air on the highway.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is this week end.

 

 

Thursday
Mar122015

What's Behind The Connected Car

An informative and fascinating article on the connected car.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar112015

Nardi Danese

A cool car...

 

 

Monday
Mar092015

How Many Models Is Enough?

If you have been in the auto business long enough you hopefully remember from a few decades ago the movement to rationalise the number of models that were offered by a make. At the time the rationale was the Europeans and Japanese have less models.

Back in the day, Chevrolet as an example had a myriad of models and body styles, the same for Ford, and Chrysler. The thinking was to cut back on the number of models, to stop trying to fill every minute segment of the market, while selling more vehicles, and improving profitability.

The  Japanese had dramatically less models, and were inexorably gaining ground.

Once the models were rationalised, the focus shifted to decreasing the number of platforms. When you hear that a manufacturer has gone from 15 to 5 platforms. You can conclude that they are saving money while increasing profitability.

You also remember when models had an actual name, and not an alpha numeric (alphabet soup) nomenclature. Today the names are still around, Impala, Taurus, Camry, Accord, Elantra, to name a few. While the alphanumeric also thrives and seems to gain in disciples. A few examples, 3 Series, X5, CLA250, RX300, CTS, A3 to name a few.

From a manufacturer identification most vehicles have a body/platform identification; its a B Body, a W222, and a model designator its a 7BL57, 1BP67.

If you get the feeling that the model designators are creeping as "marketing" model names that are used to identify the vehicles in the market, we agree with you.

If you get the feeling that some manufacturers are establishing a parallel model line up with even more alpha numeric identifiers, we again agree with you.

Not only do the additional alpha numeric names confuse, you have to ask if they do not also dilute.

This business that constantly pushes the envelope, 1 is good, 2 is better, and 3 might be too much; with a fine line between 2 and 3.

If you think that some manufacturers are close to, or even past the 3, be patient it will be clearer in the following months. Its the classic case of sell 10 with 3 models, sell 12 with 6 models, sell 13.5 with 8 models. The sales are increasing along the the complexity, confusion, dilution, and perhaps even values.