The Truth About Cars » Reddit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:11:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Reddit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Please, Ladies, No Haggling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/please-ladies-no-haggling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/please-ladies-no-haggling/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138386 No-haggle pricing! It’s kind of the zombie of the auto industry. How, you ask? Well: Touching it makes your dealership sick It periodically comes back from the dead The nerd/geek crowd loves to talk about it It doesn’t actually exist It’s also typically something that’s embraced by losers, whether the “loser” in question is a […]

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No-haggle pricing! It’s kind of the zombie of the auto industry. How, you ask? Well:

  • Touching it makes your dealership sick
  • It periodically comes back from the dead
  • The nerd/geek crowd loves to talk about it
  • It doesn’t actually exist

It’s also typically something that’s embraced by losers, whether the “loser” in question is a troubled dealership trying to remake its image after a complete decapitation of the leadership/ownership, a troubled brand trying to differentiate itself (Scion), or a troubled automaker clutching at straws in the face of overwhelming competition (General Motors, with Saturn). But Lexus, the latest brand to give it a shot, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “loser”. Its lineup is bulletproof, both in terms of durability and customer perception. Its dealers are obscenely profitable and generally immune to the worst of the customer-abuse excesses for which mainline Toyota stores are justifiably famous.

So why jump on a strategy that has never, ever worked for any brand that doesn’t own the majority of its retail outlets? Perhaps the answer has something to do with Ellen Pao.

Ms. Pao, an attorney who became famous for suing her employer following what she felt was discrimination for sexual involvement with a fellow employee, somehow managed to get the job of “interim CEO” at Reddit while she was waiting for her lawsuit to come to an end. (Which it did, with a jury finding in favor of her employer on all counts.) During her brief tenure, she instituted a policy banning salary negotiations for new hires. Her motive was, apparently, attempting to ensure equal pay for women:

“We provide offers at the high end and they are non-negotiable,” Pao said at the PreMoney Conference in San Francisco on Friday.

Part of it is offering employees a fair salary at market rate, but when 500 Startups founder Dave McClure asked if there’s some gender-discrimination motivation behind it, Pao said yes.

“There’s some gender to it,” Pao said. “People won’t get penalized for asking.”

Women are significantly less likely to negotiate for higher salaries than men, research shows, and if they do, people react more negatively than they would to a man. Pao said the idea is to get everyone who comes in a fair salary.

“I haven’t heard any complaints. We’re tracking it to see if candidates really want to negotiate,” Pao said.

This whole idea — that women are “less likely” to negotiate — comes as a giant surprise to your humble author, who spent years watching his first wife beat the hell out of everybody from high-end car dealers to jewelry shops in the Caribbean to street vendors in Chinatown. My current girlfriend just served as the general contractor for our home remodel and, over the past six months, I’ve lost count of the number of times I heard her on the phone ripping the intestines out of some poor tile vendor or shower-glass cutter.

To the contrary, my experience in selling cars for years indicates that it’s men who don’t want to negotiate. Many men, particularly those born before 1980 or so, are hard-wired with the idea that disagreement has the potential to end in fisticuffs and we are anxious to avoid a fight if we don’t need to get in one. I never had a man raise his voice to me over the price of a car and I extended the same courtesy in response, but I certainly had their wives call me a son-of-a-bitch over three hundred bucks.

It also seems slightly odd that Ms. Pao, whose boldness in hooking up with a co-worker and then expecting to be cashed out sixteen million dollars in the aftermath has now led her to demand $2.7 million in exchange for not appealing the verdict in her case, seems to think that other women can’t be arsed to ask for a few grand at the end of a job interview. Perhaps she thinks she is unique among women and it’s her job to guard the weaker members of the tribe.

Ms. Pao, however, is not unique in thinking that “women don’t negotiate”. There are plenty of books on the subject. So whether it is true or not, the idea of negotiation-averse women has plenty of social currency.

Lexus is also very interested in pitching directly to women. The Lexus Difference program, another small-batch idea being tested at a few Lexus dealerships, teaches dealers how to prioritize interaction with women:

With Lexus Difference, associates are now being trained to speak to women first rather than directing their pitch to men, among other techniques. “Women hold 80% of the influence in a purchasing decision,” says Turner. “Whether she’s making the decision or not, she’s definitely going to influence the decision. The man doesn’t really care whom you’re addressing, but women feel left out.”

Decades ago, women who were shopping for cars on their own were often advised to come back with their husbands. I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of looking forward to the day when a salesman says to me, “I know you like this Viper ACR. Why don’t you go home and talk to your wife; same-sex, non-cisgender partner; or otherkin poly triad member about it before we sign the papers?” That way I’ll know that America is completely dead and it’s time to hoist the black flag before starting the food riots in earnest.

If Lexus believes that they’ll sell more cars by becoming the proverbial safe space for women, I’m all in favor of doing it. But I wonder: When some Silicon Valley company decides to take a third chance on Ellen Pao and she in turn decides to celebrate another megabucks job with the purchase of that lovely new Lexus RC-F coupe, will she accept her no-haggle feminine destiny, or will she demand to negotiate?

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A Little Context From A Forgotten Photograph http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/a-little-context-from-a-forgotten-photograph/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/a-little-context-from-a-forgotten-photograph/#comments Tue, 28 May 2013 21:46:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489505 We have all been there, posing proudly with our car alongside some curvy country road on a sunny afternoon. It doesn’t matter if the car is new or old, is just going through the break-in procedure or is on its last legs, what matters is the moment. A photo like this is a powerful talisman […]

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We have all been there, posing proudly with our car alongside some curvy country road on a sunny afternoon. It doesn’t matter if the car is new or old, is just going through the break-in procedure or is on its last legs, what matters is the moment. A photo like this is a powerful talisman against old age, wherever we go and whatever happens to us, we have simply to gaze upon it and we are transported back to that special time in our lives when the road was clear and the only thing we needed to be serious about was having a little fun.

The above photo was posted on Reddit by user “Slow_Dive” who found it left in a car at a pick-n-pull lot in Gillman, a suburb of Adelaide, Australia. It turns out that he wasn’t actually looking for Subaru parts, but when he saw the old “Vortex” as they are known down under, he just had to take a closer look. On the steering wheel of the car he found a photo of who can only be assumed to be the car’s previous owner with the vehicle in a better days and with the discovery came an unexpected flood of emotion. “Seeing it just sitting out in the rain, rusting away, being picked apart slowly made me just a little bit sad.” He wrote, “It made me think about where my old cars are and where all of our current cars will be, some day.”

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Its easy to walk through a wrecking yard and remain emotionally detached while look at the various cars. We seldom think about the lives that these vehicles touched, that they were all once desired bits of cutting edge technology and design that carried their owners through the highs and lows of their lives. Without their stories, they are just hulks waiting their turn for a date with the crusher. Thanks to this photo, however, this car has the context that all those other cars lack. It is easy to see that this bit of late 1980’s Japanese design had someone who cared about it, someone who cherished it and someone who enjoyed it until every last bit of fun was squeezed out of it. In time things changed, they always do, but while they lasted those days were glorious.

We’ve all been there, going through a box of old photos or leafing through a musty old album when we come across a photo of our younger selves beside some curvy piece steel that meant the whole world to us. How would we feel if for some reason that photo was lost? Take a good look at the photo and see if you know the person pictured. It would be nice to think that, with the power of the internet, we could solve the mystery of who this young man is. For now, there is still the chance for him to reclaim it.

For better or worse, the man who found the photo did not keep it. Although he used the serial number to research the car’s registration history, he was unable to come up with a name. Unable to connect the photo to an actual person, he opted to leave it where he thought it belonged, right there on the wheel of the old Subaru. If it can’t be returned that seems an appropriate place. Perhaps it will still be there when the car meets its ultimate fate, a final reminder of better days now past.

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Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking. According to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Historic Police Car Spotted Responding to call on the Not-So-Mean Streets of Seattle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/historic-police-car-spotted-responding-to-call-on-the-not-so-mean-streets-of-seattle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/historic-police-car-spotted-responding-to-call-on-the-not-so-mean-streets-of-seattle/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 19:51:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483383 An alert REDDIT reader (manuelv 19) spotted the Seattle Police Museum’s 1970 Plymouth Satellite patrol car responding to calls on the coffee scented streets of dowtown Seattle earlier this week. According to the Seattle Police Museum website, only 53 Special Order Police Satellites were produced in 1970 and 21 of those were purchased by the […]

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An alert REDDIT reader (manuelv 19) spotted the Seattle Police Museum’s 1970 Plymouth Satellite patrol car responding to calls on the coffee scented streets of dowtown Seattle earlier this week. According to the Seattle Police Museum website, only 53 Special Order Police Satellites were produced in 1970 and 21 of those were purchased by the Seattle Police Department. The cars were mid-size police vehicles and featured the 383 Super Commando engine package complete with 4 bbl carburetors. They were reputed top be quite fast at the time.

This particular vehicle, known as Unit #521, was wrecked with only 9000 miles on the clock and sold at public auction eventually ending up in Los Angeles. The Seattle Police Museum located and purchased the vehicle in 2006 and spent a year returning the car to its former glory. More information on this vehicle is available at the Seattle Police Museum website of by calling (206) 748-9991.

http://www.seametropolicemuseum.org/

http://www.seametropolicemuseum.org/docs/Seattle_Police_Car.pdf

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