Flexibility is a benefit enjoyed often by small companies, but rarely by large ones. Like a small boat, businesses still in early stages can maneuver quickly; they can alter business plans, tweak messaging, and otherwise pivot without having to worry about re-orienting a large workforce or undermining the public’s understanding of the brand. By contrast, large businesses operate more similarly to a container ship. Every move requires extensive planning, communication, and extreme foresight. Fine-tuning a product can take months, and changing direction entirely can take years. Continue reading >>>
Like just about everyone else in this country, I own a smartphone that costs me about a hundred bucks per month. I never would have thought someone could lease a car for less than the cost of my phone.
In Southern California, some dealers have started to offer a $69 per month lease a new Fiat 500e.
How can leasing a new car cost less than service on a smartphone? Continue reading >>>
The snow has begun to melt, the sun is sticking around longer each day, and for thousands upon thousands of college students, the next few weeks will be some of the year’s best. For many, Spring Break means precious days away from school and the opportunity to hit the road and get out of town. Every road-trip car needs plenty of space for food and snacks, a couple of pillows, and enough room to make sure the travelers on board don’t murder each other. But there are a few other essentials, without which an interstate odyssey could easily become a terrible long haul. Continue reading >>>
Maybe Toyota didn’t realize it at the time, but when it first debuted the Prius it also launched an entirely new segment of vehicles. While the Prius inspired competing automakers to get into the world of hybrids, the Toyota easily outsold them all and remained king for nearly two decades.
The Prius, which debuted in the U.S. in 2001, has evolved from a basic transportation appliance into an entirely different beast. It’s filled with new technology, improved performance, and increased efficiency. The latest iteration also has something it’s never had to deal with before:
Real competition. Continue reading >>>
Tesla launched its Roadster a few years earlier, but for all intents and purposes, the United States’ age of electric vehicles (EVs) began with the Nissan Leaf in 2011. The market for electric vehicles has come a long way in 10 years, and now shoppers can buy an EV from any number of companies, from the Kia Soul EV to the BMW i3, and from a Tesla Model X to the Chevrolet Bolt. Continue reading >>>
I’ve heard from more car shoppers than I can count over the years asking for advice on purchasing a new car. Yesterday a question was asked that no one had previously brought up to me.
The shopper is in the market for a new 2017 hybrid or plug-in hybrid SUV. She drives a lot, lives in an area known for epic snowfall, and has had her share of scary incidents while on the road. Naturally, she wants something safe and reliable that goes at least a few miles on electric power to save a few bucks on gas.
Considering the close calls she’s had while driving, she asked me if rescue workers are able to use the Jaws of Life on hybrid and electric vehicles. She’d heard a rumor that first responders won’t extract people stuck in such vehicles due to risks of electrocution from cutting into high-voltage lines.
Could that rumor be true? Continue reading >>>
Think back five years.
The year was 2012. It wasn’t that long ago, but in terms of advancements in the auto industry, it was an eternity. After doing a quick Google search for “car trends 2012,” I found a quaint little article from January of that year in the USA Today with the headline “Five auto trends that will shake up 2012.”
The article mentioned things like stop/start engine technology, multiple air bags, smaller gas-powered engines, and simple infotainment controls.
Earth-shattering stuff, right?
Compare that list to what to expect for 2017 and you’d think we jumped ahead 20 years, not just five. Here’s where we are now. Continue reading >>>
“Volkswagen is making a new Microbus!”
My wife excitedly read the headline out loud over the weekend, to which I replied, “Yeah, they’ve been saying that for the last decade or so. Let me guess, that story is about a modern electric version?”
“Yeah,” she said, “So you don’t think it’ll happen?”
I didn’t mean to crush her hopes, but rumors of a new version of the much-loved VW Microbus have circulated for years. The company has even trotted out occasional concepts, further stoking the fire and raising hopes of the rabid Microbus U.S. fan-base.
My first thought when hearing about a “new” concept was that an old article had been recycled. But, sure enough, Volkswagen has shown a new concept, called the I.D. Buzz, at the auto show in Detroit.
Family transportation all started with the station wagon. Anyone here remember riding in the “way back” seats of a Ford Granada or Country Squire wagon?
If you were lucky, your parents had the kind of wagon where the “way back” seats faced backward and you could see traffic approaching from behind while everyone else faced forward.
Station wagons were the preferred mode of family transport because they were big, comfortable, and offered plenty of room for people and their stuff. Station wagons were the first generation of family vehicles and were followed by minivans, SUVs, and then crossovers.
FCA thinks it has a direct line to the future and has introduced us to the next generation of family transport: the Portal.
Self-driving software has been highly scrutinized over the last few months because of a few high profile accidents and at least one fatality.
One incident resulted after a driver’s Model S failed to distinguish a crossing truck trailer and crashed into it, killing the driver. Still, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is adamant that autonomous cars are many times safer than cars driven by humans and is accumulating millions of miles of accident-free driving to back his claim up.
One new video is definitive proof of the power of computers, and shows a Model S in the Netherlands predict a nasty accident just moments before it happened, potentially saving lives. It’s hard to watch this video and not think that autonomous vehicles are the wave of the future.