By on July 15, 2016

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Automakers are turning up the wick on drive-sharing investments and slowly transitioning from car manufacturing to providing mobility. That’s likely a good bet, too, considering a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute.

The report, titled “Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality,” is a stark reminder that the economic situation isn’t as good as it was 10 years ago, let alone compared to the highs of the postwar West.

For starters, 65 or 70 percent of households in the advanced nations studied were “in income segments whose incomes in 2014 were flat or down compared with 2005,” states the report. The United States is one of the countries pulling up that average with 80-percent of households in income segments either flat or falling.

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By on March 4, 2016

New Suckers At The Stock Photo Dealership

Just when you thought you’d read the last article analyzing the vehicle purchasing habits of Millennials, here comes another from Canada’s largest national newspaper, the Globe and Mail.

“Why car companies spend so much time targeting hipsters” is the headline of Jon Cook’s story, which delves into the cringe-inducing ad campaigns automakers have crafted to lure young and hip people into showrooms.

The author touches on some valid marketing points in the piece, then un-ironically introduces people who embody the hipster stereotype to talk about what hipsters like themselves want.

For starters, “hipster” is not interchangeable with “Millennial,” and the tropes that come with hipsterdom do not necessarily resonate across the age spectrum occupied by Millennials (roughly, people born in the 1980s and ’90s).

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By on February 3, 2016

Keep both hands inside the car at all times.

One coupe flies, two coupes die.

By the time that Akio Toyoda was standing on that Detroit stage crowing about the triumph of the LC500, the nails were already being hammered into Scion’s coffin. The Scion tC, perhaps the best combination of practicality, style, and durability available for under twenty-five grand in the United States, will be taken out back and unceremoniously shot. The FR-S … your guess is as good as mine, but I’d be surprised if Toyota brought it over as the Celica, no matter how personally gratified I would be by such a move.

The story of Toyota’s American sub-marques could not be more different. Lexus has gone from strength to strength, effortlessly assuming a position as the thinking man’s luxury car with the LS460 while also flooding the market with Camry-platform high-profit product. Scion, on the other hand, has struggled from its first day with customer perception, dealer-satisfaction issues, and schizophrenic product planning.

Yet it’s easy to show that Lexus has been just as poorly managed as Scion; take a look at the Lexus lineup over the past 27 years and tell me that you can’t spot quite a few duffers and misfires. So why is the Official Toyota Brand of McMansion Owners soaring while the Official Toyota Brand of Dubstep Aficionados crashes? The answer, naturally, is: Barack Obama.

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By on January 27, 2015

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Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was left with much more to write about, from how the survey was conducted to the recommendations that were presented to both manufacturers and dealers about how to court millennial customers.

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By on May 24, 2014

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Standing on the sidewalk in front of his house, a young boy watches his neighbor across the street back out of her driveway. Her moss green Expedition starts to roll backwards. Suddenly, a blue beach ball blows into the SUV’s path. She hits it with one of her rear tires, and the truck rises up on top of it for just a moment. The ball bursts with an enormous bang, and the truck crashes back to the pavement with an equally loud noise. The top-heavy rig sways back and forth as the boy laughs.

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By on February 2, 2014

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“Don’t be ridiculous, young lady. You need something SENSIBLE.” Jamie sat at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. Week 5 of the search for her first car had just dawned, and she was about ready to give in.

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By on November 14, 2013

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A herd of automotive journalists get led off into a dark room filled with oversized furniture and cheap snacks.

It is where the ritual slaughter of truth takes place. A screen bigger than Wilt Chamberlain’s …. flashes in front of them as discordant music pulses and the beautiful people beam out their irrational exuberance of owning the upcoming 2014 model.

The actors and actresses on the screen are all young, sexy, virile, obscenely joyful, and about as genuine as a thirty-three dollar bill. Which is A-OK for me. Because after the fifteen minutes of corporate infomercials filled with empty code words such as “Value”, “Best In Class”, and “Award Winning”, the head honcho of the press junket let’s me, and everyone else, off the hook with the biggest lie in the car business.

“We believe our core audience will be young people in their 20’s and 30’s.”

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By on November 3, 2013

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Editor’s note: Last year we ran a post from Tova Schreiber on what it was like to learn how to drive at 24. Now she’s back to tell us about having her driver’s license and driving.

I’m sitting at my desk, waiting for students to arrive and thinking about cars. Waking up at 6:00 on a Sunday morning is rarely fun, but I truly love what I do for a living. My fingers are stained from last night’s dye job, and they clutch a tall Styrofoam cup of hot chocolate. Together with a calorie-laden croissant, it’s a breakfast of champions that fuels my discussions as a teacher.

I filled the tank in my brother’s old Focus wagon a few weeks ago, spending what was small fortune to me to repay a favor of his. That car isn’t in great shape, but I borrow it whenever circumstances allow. It takes me to meetings, on errands, and through excursions with my darling nephew. It’s a rare moment that doesn’t see me begging to get behind the wheel, even if I’m only going to be driving for ten minutes.

Last year, I was a scared kitten. It was a few hours before Rosh HaShana and I had to merge onto the interstate for the first time. The driving instructor, a comedic sort, told me I should pray for a sweet new year. I just wanted to survive the freeway.
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By on January 2, 2013

Zipcar, the leading player in car sharing in North America, is about to be acquired by Avis Budget Group for $500 million in cash. The rental car firm will pay $12.25 per share, a whopping 49 percent premium relative to Zipcar’s closing price on December 31st.

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By on November 20, 2012

With the TWATs under way and awards season about to gear up, I would like to take a moment to highlight the one car I’ve found that ticks all the boxes for me personally. It’s the Fiat 500 Abarth.

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