The Truth About Cars » The Booth Babe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 02 Aug 2014 16:04:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » The Booth Babe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Booth Babe Chronicles: Things we won’t tell you http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-booth-babe-chronicles-things-we-wont-tell-you/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-booth-babe-chronicles-things-we-wont-tell-you/#comments Sun, 29 Aug 2010 12:20:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=364137 The job of most auto show booth babes is all about talking. We’re there to talk for hours to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people about the brand we rep. As much as we may  talk, there are some things we won’t ever tell you. Here are just a few. An official “yes” that a redesign […]

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The job of most auto show booth babes is all about talking. We’re there to talk for hours to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people about the brand we rep. As much as we may  talk, there are some things we won’t ever tell you. Here are just a few.

An official “yes” that a redesign will be released within the next year.

So, it turns out that dealer staff at the shows get kinda pissed when you mention a vehicle will be completely redesigned the following model year. Why? Because it costs them immediate business. Someone who is in the market for this new car may very well wait until the latest, greatest model comes out six months from now if they know it is coming. If they don’t know, they’ll walk into the dealer today. It’s like saying “This Viagra is OK, but next year’s Viagra actually will give you that four-hour erection.” Yes, you could investigate redesigns on the interwebs, but until it comes straight from the manufacturer it is pure speculation. Time is money, and to corporate the sooner you buy the better.

Plus, delivery dates on redesigns and new additions to a lineup can change frequently and by as much as a year or two. Even if we told you something would be out in six months, it could easily get pushed back. Then you’ll complain to your internet forum buddies that the girl at the car show didn’t know what she was talking about, despite the fact that it was true at the time we told you.

Why yes, sir – now that you bring it up, this car actually IS a death trap.

The brand I rep has a great safety record, just so you know. But obviously not all do. We are hired to be the 100 percent sun shiney positive face of the company and address all of your needs and concerns according to the company line. This does not include being all “Dude, did you see that YouTube video where CarX425 completely disintegrated upon hitting a speed bump, killing a group of orphans and LOLCats in an exceptionally gruesome manner?” You’d have to be a complete failure of a product specialist to talk about your own brand like this, but it’s key not to talk about any other that way either. The psychology of brand marketing is a very delicate thing. You’ll remember that you talked about crashes – and that word “crash” is what will stick out in your mind, regardless of the fact that it was about a competitor. Not the impression we want to give.

You’re f-ing stupid for buying this car for your kid.

Seriously. I know you have the cash. Good for you. I know you taught your kid to drive all by yourself. That’s actually part of the problem. Just because you spent a weekend at Skip Barber doesn’t mean your 16-year-old has any clue what to do with this obscenely powerful car you bought him in an extremely ill-advised attempt to prove to your hedge fund office mates that you’re a better provider than them. You know what your kid should be driving? A golf cart. Driver education in the US is piss-poor, and with rare exceptions they should not be in the weapons of vehicles they are driving.

I don’t actually drive the car I said I drive.

If you ask a booth babe what kind of car she drives (and I get that question at least twice a day), if she’s smart she will always answer with a model made by the manufacturer she reps. If we say anything else we are drawn into an awkward conversation about why not. The reasons might be perfectly reasonable and have nothing to do with the value of the car we’re standing in front of: It was all we could afford, it was purchased before we repped this brand, we got a better deal, we inherited it from a rich “uncle”, etc. When I tell people at the show what car I drive they are always suitably impressed. Too bad it’s a lie.

I don’t give two craps about your political agenda. In fact, I don’t even give one crap.

Look dude, I get it that you are passionate about buying only American despite the fact that most “American” cars are assembled elsewhere, or that as a card carrying member of the Aryan Nation you only buy cheese made in Germany, or that you protest everything Japanese especially sushi because you think geishas are sexist. I get it. I just don’t care. I mean, I think you’re an idiot. But I don’t care. My job isn’t to have a 45-minute conversation about the New World Order. My job is to tell you about horsepower, seat belts and cool stereo systems. I do have to smile and nod at your ramblings, but seriously – save the conspiracy theories for your secret underground bunker.

Obviously I can’t tell you not to ask me this stuff – it’s still a free country as far as I know and you can ask me whatever you want. Just don’t expect me to answer.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com


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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Road Trip Warrior – The South, Pt. 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-warrior-the-south-pt-1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/08/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-warrior-the-south-pt-1/#comments Sun, 01 Aug 2010 18:35:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=361932 This week’s road trip is a special journey through a much-loved American tradition: NASCAR. We’re going to be driving through the South, some lush, beautiful country full of hospitality, great barbecue, and rabid loyalty to the local citizenry’s sponsored stock car of choice. This is a much longer trip than last week’s – we’re going […]

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This week’s road trip is a special journey through a much-loved American tradition: NASCAR. We’re going to be driving through the South, some lush, beautiful country full of hospitality, great barbecue, and rabid loyalty to the local citizenry’s sponsored stock car of choice. This is a much longer trip than last week’s – we’re going to hit eight states – so plan accordingly, i.e. a case of beer per person per day. Only to be drunk after the day’s drive is complete, of course.

If you’ve never spent much time in the South, allow me to give you some tips. Everyone smokes all the time everyplace. Don’t bother getting self-righteous about it, because they don’t care about your pinko-commie public health concerns. “Bless your heart” really means “You stupid a$$hole.” Don’t ask what a chitlin is, just eat it. The cops don’t appreciate being called Boss Hogg and don’t care that your brother is some fancypants Yankee lawyer. The national anthem is not “The Star-Spangled Banner”, it’s “Dixie.” Children own shotguns here, and they are better shots than you. And NASCAR is not a sport, it is a religion.

Start out in Virginia. Since they claim to be “for lovers” you might get lucky, especially if you offer up some tickets to a race at Martinsville Speedway. For that, though, you’ll have to wait until October. In the meantime drop in on nearby Lake Sugar Tree Motorsport Park and watch the locals battle it out in motocross. It’s a beautiful track and worth the trip for the scenery alone. For truly stunning views of Virginia spend as much as you can on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Watch out for the bears.

Virginia is merely a warm-up for your journey into the heart of NASCAR country: North Carolina. There are NASCAR-themed activities galore to be had, including official tours. Almost every driver’s shop is within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Let someone like Trisha Fuller from Race Shop Tours give you an inside look at your favorite teams. You’ll have to wait until October again for a NASCAR race, but the speedway has a nicely stocked schedule of other events in August, including the Summer Shootout and the Food Lion Auto Fair.

No road trip is complete without a little healthy competition, and here’s yours. First, roshambo with your road trip partners to see who will be put in the line of fire. Loser must start a debate in a local bar, stance being that NASCAR is a setup of near WWE proportions and that the only reason Dale Jr. won the Coca-Cola 400 in 2001 is because NASCAR officials must have given him a restrictor plate with bigger holes. If you make it out without being punched in the face, your road trip partners have to pick up the gas tab for the next three days. You’ll probably be run out of town either way.

After that little Top Gear-style stunt you’re going to want to put as much distance between yourself and North Carolina as possible. Stopping in South Carolina might be risky – your reputation would have spread by now – but if you must, throw on some dark glasses and fake mustaches and swing by Darlington Raceway. They’ve got the Too Tough to Tame 200 in August and the Historic Racing Festival in late September. Get off the auto track for a bit and head out on a BMW motorcycle tour. Originating in Greer, SC, the tours run three days and they supply the bike.

Sultry Georgia beckons, and despite having nothing to do with racing at all, you’re not allowed to leave the state without spending time in Savannah. It’s about 3-1/2 hours from Atlanta Motor Speedway and exemplifies the best of what the South has to offer: historic architecture, gracious hospitality and lots of ghosts. Head to the Crab Shack for fish “so fresh you want to slap it” and Clary’s Café for breakfast. Since you’re out there already, swing by Tybee Island. Atlanta Motor Speedway has a full event schedule including Friday Night Drags, multiple racing schools and the Great Clips 300 in early September. Stuff your face with meat at Fox Brothers BBQ, and swing by Harold’s for classic Brunswick Stew.

Next week: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. Yee haw!

If you’re serious about taking a NASCAR roadtrip, pick up a copy of the Rand McNally Ultimate NASCAR Roadtrip Guide. It has a ridiculous amount of information on every NASCAR track in the country so you can follow the series around like the Grateful Dead.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Road Trip Warrior – The Northeast USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-warrior-the-northeast-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-warrior-the-northeast-usa/#comments Sun, 25 Jul 2010 12:26:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=361528 One of the many amazing benefits to my booth babe job is that I get to travel this beautiful country and somebody else pays for it. I’ve been to many cities that I never would have gone to otherwise. (Seriously, does anyone go to Milwaukee on vacation? No, but it’s a pretty rad city.) There […]

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One of the many amazing benefits to my booth babe job is that I get to travel this beautiful country and somebody else pays for it. I’ve been to many cities that I never would have gone to otherwise. (Seriously, does anyone go to Milwaukee on vacation? No, but it’s a pretty rad city.) There are around 80 auto shows every season. I don’t go to all of them, but every year I’m sent to a few different ones that I’ve never been to before. At this point in my auto show career I think it’s safe to say that I’ve hit at least ¾ of all consumer auto show cities.

As such an extensive traveler I feel it is only fair that I share my expertise with you when you plan your summer road trip! They are going to be relatively quick trips – no longer than a week or so – and should fit into your summer schedule pretty easily. Each trip will include some great automotive points of interest. This week we’re going to focus on the Northeast USA.

Let’s start you in the general vicinity of New York City. The last thing I’m going to do to you is have you drive through Manhattan – if you want to see the city then park at a train station in Westchester and take the Metro North in and out. We’re going to drive upstate.

You can take the New York State Thruway or the Taconic Parkway. The locals who have completed analysis sometime refer to it as “Catatonic Parkway”, because of its psychological and motorological disturbances.  You can get away with driving a lot faster on the Thruway, but the Taconic is a beautiful scenic drive. Both will get you to Albany. Along the way, stop at West Point for a guided tour. Put down the donut and have lunch a bit further north at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

There are some cool little historic oval tracks between lunch and Albany that are worth a look. The Chatham Fairgrounds is often the site of historic car shows and, according to that website, what appears to be a talking goat. The fairgrounds in Ballston Spa are home to a quarter mile paved oval used by the Adirondack Karting Association where you can catch a pretty sweet race without the big-dollar attitudes. There’s a neat car museum a half hour north of Albany in Saratoga Springs – the Saratoga Automobile Museum – but be wary of the summer horseracing crowds. Of course, you could always join in – Saratoga Raceway is one of the most historic racetracks in the country, but we’re talking 1 HP, not 800 HP.

Head east from Albany on the Mass Pike to Boston, about a three-hour trip. Boston is one of my favorite cities to visit: clean, historic, easy to get around on the train and lots of stuff to see. Again, find someplace cheap to park and take the T around the city to save a ton of dough and aggravation. Walk the Freedom Trail and thank your lucky stars and stripes you’re not eating British black pudding for dinner tonight. When you’re done getting your history on, head over to F1 Boston for some wicked competitive kart racing. If you absolutely must see a Red Sox game, I’ll look the other way.

From Beantown drop down to Providence, RI for a Waterfire event and catch a race at Seekonk Speedway – these lunatics have figure 8’s, for crying out loud. Watch through your fingers with your hands covering your eyes.

Wrap up your road trip with a jaunt through Connecticut. First stop in Manchester for a visit to The Fire Museum, because the only thing cooler than a racecar is a fire truck.

I’ve saved the best for last for you, my friends: Lime Rock Park in western CT. Paul Newman loved this track, for good reason: it’s fast with two big elevation changes and 7-10 turns depending on your course. It always has a full schedule of events, including this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, so there’s certain to be something for you to see. If you’re a member of a marque club, check with your home office for track day opportunities.

After your day at the track, it’s a short drop back down to the NYC metro area.

Next week: Pull out your #3 gear – we’re heading to NASCAR country!

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Road Trip Rules. Or Road Trips Rule http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-rules-or-road-trips-rule/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-road-trip-rules-or-road-trips-rule/#comments Sun, 18 Jul 2010 13:52:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=361064 Summer is nigh upon us, and that means two things: Your electric bill is ridiculous, and it’s time for a summer road trip. We’re going to suspend our disbelief here. We’re going to pretend that there is no reason why any and all of us cannot take off for a week or two and explore […]

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Summer is nigh upon us, and that means two things: Your electric bill is ridiculous, and it’s time for a summer road trip.

We’re going to suspend our disbelief here. We’re going to pretend that there is no reason why any and all of us cannot take off for a week or two and explore this beautiful country of ours during the most gorgeous weather of the year. We’re going to pretend that we have little to no responsibilities and that we are free, fun-loving 25-year-olds with generous benefactors who fill our gas tanks, and us with a sense of adventure that never steers us wrong.

While we’re at it, let’s pretend I get to work both the Miami and Hawaii auto shows this year. Neither of which have anything to do with road trips, but a little dreaming can’t hurt…

And with that, let’s take off on our summer road trip!

First, the rules…

Road trip rule #1: Always use a fake road trip name. Your escape from reality can not possibly begin until you truly separate yourself from reality, and that means you need to take on a different name. You should be called this name by all road trip partners, but never in the presence of anyone who could possibly check your ID. You might think you are far too old to have your ID checked, but many establishments now check literally everyone that orders a drink. This even applies to AARP members. The more ridiculous the better, so “Barky Von Schnauzer” is a perfect name for a jaunt through Nantucket.

Road trip rule #2: Always drive a convertible. I don’t care what kind of amazing super car of the future any manufacturer has at the auto show – this car could have 800 HP, shine your shoes and come with that special kind of masseuse and it still wouldn’t get as much attention as an under $40K convertible. You simply must have a convertible to have a proper summer road trip. It cuts down on both luggage and passengers (two people in the front, one in the back, a spare pair of shorts, tee shirt and bathing suit in the trunk) and just looks cool.

Road trip rule #3: Driver controls the music. Only and always. Passengers who attempt top wrest control of the stereo shall be left upon the side of the road to be picked upon by vultures/Hells Angels/long-distance truck drivers/you-on-the-return-leg.

Road trip rule #4: At least one person must know basic car maintenance. Change a tire. Check and add or change oil. Spark plug business. Etc. No cell phones or 3G Googling allowed.

Road trip rule #5: This is not some buddy movie where you’re going to get swept up in some grand adventure within 20 minutes, come up with quotably hilarious responses to drug dealers taking all your stuff and get out of all the felonies you and your three pals have committed in the 24 hours between raiding both the Bunny Ranch and Lance Burton’s bird house. You must be okay with the comfortable silence, the fact that nothing especially noteworthy will happen during this trip other than finding a new little piece of yourself and growing a bit closer to your road trip companions, for better or worse.

Cool with every rule? Good. For the next few weeks, I’m going to lead you on a few road trips you can take on a week or less in the US: the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Northwest. We’re going to see true Americana, the kind I have been truly fortunate to experience while traveling throughout the US on the auto show circuit but probably would not have sought out on my own. We’ll see some cool stuff, I promise.

I wouldn’t trust that Jeep guy, though. He’d totally throw you under the bus for that one little joint when you and I both know he’s got copious amounts of weed hiding in the trunk inside his guitar.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: How Your Car Will Ruin Your Sex Life http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-how-your-car-will-ruin-your-sex-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-how-your-car-will-ruin-your-sex-life/#comments Sun, 11 Jul 2010 09:42:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=360660 Both men and women have their stereotypes, as I quickly learned on the auto show circuit. One is that women won’t date a guy unless he drives a hot ride. I’m here to tell you that, for the most part, it is not true. Yes, there are some gold diggers and Polly Prissy Pants who […]

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Both men and women have their stereotypes, as I quickly learned on the auto show circuit. One is that women won’t date a guy unless he drives a hot ride. I’m here to tell you that, for the most part, it is not true.

Yes, there are some gold diggers and Polly Prissy Pants who won’t get into anything that costs less than $60K, but most of us aren’t total douchettes. Our desires for your vehicle are as follows: It is clean. It doesn’t smell. It doesn’t belong to your mom. It is representative of your station in life.

You cannot possibly expect a possible love match to get into a filthy vehicle that hasn’t seen a car wash since the previous administration, whose interior reeks of beer and  cigarettes, and whose seats are sticky and stained with God knows what bodily fluids. Actually, we probably know what those bodily fluids are not, because there’s no way you’re getting laid in that thing. We just spent the better part of two hours in hair, makeup and wardrobe to look good for you. Please take ten minutes, and vacuum the car.

If you’re 25 and you pick me up in a minivan or a Volvo, I know one of two things: Either you’re married and cheating or you’re driving your mom’s car. Neither option will get you very far in this relationship. The first is self-explanatory, and the second implies you haven’t cut the apron strings or gotten a job that pays higher than minimum wage. I have lots of respect for an honest days’ work regardless of pay, but most women (me included) want a man who is at least as ambitious and successful as she. We want an even playing field.

Which brings me to my next point: Make sure you’re driving a car representative of your station in life. If you’re CIO of a major tech firm (and yes, we Googled you to make sure you weren’t lying) and you roll up in an old rusted out VW Rabbit, we know you’re cheap. I don’t have a problem buying my own dinner, but I would have a major problem living with a miser who splits two-ply toilet paper into one. That is the first image in our minds when you pull up in a cheap old car far below your pay scale.

On the other end of the spectrum, please don’t think you can trick us by rolling up to the club in a Bentley. A man’s shoes and/or watch always give him away. We can tell in an instant if you’re really a baller or if you’re a $30,000 “millionaire” that rented a car for the night to try to score some chicks. Pretending to be someone you’re not will get you no love.

Don’t believe me? My Special Man Friend drives a pickup truck. (Rest assured, it’s not an Unnecessary Truck.) It is kept impeccably clean and smells lovely, much like him.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Outrun This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-outrun-this/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/the-booth-babe-chronicles-outrun-this/#comments Tue, 06 Jul 2010 09:23:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=360280 Happy Hangover Tuesday! I trust you’re all in good spirits despite possibly imbibing too many good spirits over the holiday weekend. Nothing a nice nap in the county lockup won’t cure. Yup, chances are at least one or two of you were given an introduction to the ins and outs of traffic, DUI or public […]

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Happy Hangover Tuesday! I trust you’re all in good spirits despite possibly imbibing too many good spirits over the holiday weekend. Nothing a nice nap in the county lockup won’t cure.

Yup, chances are at least one or two of you were given an introduction to the ins and outs of traffic, DUI or public drunkenness laws this weekend. Hopefully you didn’t try to outrun the cops before they caught you.

There’s always lots of cool things to see besides the new model year vehicles at the auto show, and one display I always enjoy is the one showing off the latest and greatest police cars. I especially love the ones they’ve confiscated from drug busts and tricked out to take care of law enforcement business. Good luck outrunning those.

Believe it or not I’ve never been arrested (shocking, I know) and I hope you haven’t either. However, taking a trip in one of these sweet rides is almost worth it. Just make sure you have a friend willing to bail you out of jail so you can get back to celebrating your independence.

Here are my favorite hotrod cop cars, one or two of which I’ve actually seen on the streets during my various travels. I hope you get the thrill of seeing them one day too, without accessorizing your American Gladiator Fourth of July outfit with silver bracelets. You know the cops are hoping you’ll run so they can open these babies up.

Cop Lamborghini Murcielago

This beauty was on display at the 2008 Abu Dhabi International Motorshow. I keep hearing about this Lamborghini Diablo that the Iowa State Patrol has, but I can’t find any pictures of it. If anyone has a shot of it, could you share it with us?

Cop Porsche 911

This German police cruiser comes in handy when trying to pull over Michael Schumacher wheeling a taxi through Bavarian streets. Again …

Porsches have a long tradition on the (partially) no speed limit Autobahn. In 1966, the 100,000th Porsche, a 912 Targa outfitted for the police, was delivered to the  Baden-Wurttemberg state police. A later press release noted ”40 police cars, mainly 912 Targas and some six-cylinder Coupés were delivered in 1967 alone.”

Cop Chevy Corvette C5

This one I have seen on the road, and luckily not bearing down on me from behind (that’s what she said). Not sure where they put the perps, though. In the trunk?

Cop Camaro

Multiple police departments across the US use Camaros as chase vehicles. Like the Corvette, the cops have to call another car to pick your sorry butt up and take you to jail because there’s no room for you in the back. After all that hassle you won’t even get to ride in it.

Cop Dodge Charger

There are entire fleets of this menacing-looking beast running the highways of the USA. I’ve heard that the 2011 police models will offer a 390 hp 5.7 liter HEMI. Hey, if the Charger is good enough for Leroy Jethro Gibbs, it’s good enough for me.

Just don’t come to me for that bail money.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: The Dog Days Of Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-the-dog-days-of-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-the-dog-days-of-summer/#comments Sun, 27 Jun 2010 09:55:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=359616 Auto show season might be over, but the marketing event season is in full swing. At concerts, state fairs, sporting goods stores, hotels, golf tournaments, baseball games, food and wine festivals, gay pride festivals, dog parks, any kind of place where a target demographic might gather, you will find a car company showing off the […]

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Auto show season might be over, but the marketing event season is in full swing. At concerts, state fairs, sporting goods stores, hotels, golf tournaments, baseball games, food and wine festivals, gay pride festivals, dog parks, any kind of place where a target demographic might gather, you will find a car company showing off the vehicle they think target demographic should be driving.

It could be a ride and drive, it could be a static display ,or it could be an entire day’s experience like AMG Challenge, Chevy Rev It Up or Taste of Lexus (although big events like these seem to have been put on pause with the onslaught of the recession). Regardless of the level of formality or the amount of activity, all have one thing in common: People like me are working there.

See, we booth babes are no one-trick ponies. Many product specialists work special events in the auto show off-season in a parking lot near you. Not surprisingly, people are just as ill-behaved in their local parks as they are on the auto show floor.

Want to have a great experience at an automotive marketing event? Here are some handy tips:

1. All auto show rules apply. That means no hitting on me, no photos without permission, no dirty/racist jokes, and no pooping in our tent.

2. Leave your sense of entitlement at home. How nice for you that you’re CEO of a venture capital firm that could buy and sell this whole operation with a single phone call. You still have to wait in line to drive this car like everyone else.

3. Please be respectful of the program rules I am delicately trying to impart; i.e. prizes and giveaways. “One per household” means exactly that. Trying to use your dog’s name on a registration form to get a free tote bag is utterly transparent – I know your brother isn’t “right around the corner” and I certainly know his name isn’t Sparky. A better tactic is to come back at the end of the day and ask nicely if you can have any leftover schwag.

4. Think I’m going to let you drive like a maniac? Think again. I’ve been trained by a pro driver on how to take over and stop a vehicle in motion from the right seat. Personally, I would rather tell you in my stern “Angry Teacher” voice to pull the car over immediately and get out. I won’t hesitate to do either if I feel like I’m in danger.

5. Don’t even think about trying any funny business while we’re alone in the car. From the second the doors shut I have my personal cell phone in hand with an emergency number pre-dialed and ready to send. We have your full name, address and drivers license info back at the main event tent. More importantly, I know how to hurt you pretty badly. The people waiting for me know exactly how long our route takes and will come looking if I’m more than a few minutes late. Try messing with me. I dare you.

6. As much as I wish the opposite were true, I am not Supreme Lawmaker of the Known Universe. That means I must follow existing laws to the letter and insist you do the same, for both liability and safety reasons. Yes you do have to wear your seatbelt, yes your child does have to be in a car seat, no you cannot answer your cell phone (actually I won’t let you do this regardless of the laws in your state), and no you can’t drive if you don’t have your license with you.

7. If you think for a second I’m going to let you drive this car after you came into the tent with a beer in your hand, you’re even more drunk than I thought you were. Not gonna happen.

8. It is even more important to follow scrupulous personal hygiene habits during the hot summer months. Shower twice if you have to. If I smelled the way some of you do there’s no way you’d get into a car with me.

9. I’m not asking for your social security number, your first born child or a DNA sample. I’m asking for your email address, and if you want the stupid branded hat, then you have to trade your information for it. Unsubscribing from an email list takes approximately half a second. It won’t kill you, I promise.

10. If you’re a current owner, show us your keys – we often have special goodies set aside just for you as a thanks for your loyalty!

See you on the road!

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: These Are The People In Your Neighborhood http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-these-are-the-people-in-your-neighborhood/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-these-are-the-people-in-your-neighborhood/#comments Sun, 20 Jun 2010 09:47:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=359172 Let’s be real: I am not rollin’ in an exotic. My middle-class wheels get me from Point A to Point B with a little fun in between, but it’s not something that’s going to get any panties thrown at it (that and the fact that I’m not a wealthy middle-aged man). The closest I get […]

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Let’s be real: I am not rollin’ in an exotic. My middle-class wheels get me from Point A to Point B with a little fun in between, but it’s not something that’s going to get any panties thrown at it (that and the fact that I’m not a wealthy middle-aged man). The closest I get to those amazing pieces of vehicular art is the same as most of you: at the auto show and, if I’m very, very lucky, the occasional track day at which I’m either working or to which someone has graciously invited me.

In the last couple of weeks though, I have seen some ridiculously hot cars driving around town. Maybe it’s because summer, traditionally the season for showing off one’s hotness, is upon us. Maybe it’s because for the past couple of years the filthy rich have been dialing it down a bit so they don’t seem too terribly gauche in the face of the recession, and just want to play with their toys again.

Whatever the reason, I couldn’t be happier. Seeing one of these beauties makes my day and, I imagine, it makes the days of everyone else that sees them. It’s like seeing a stunning woman or sunset – you do a double take, smile, and revel in the fact that you live in a universe capable of creating such beauty.

I have seen four absolutely amazing (and pricey) exotics in the last two weeks. All have been in the swankier parts of town. That’s how I roll (in my middle-class wheels).

These photos are not of the actual cars I saw but are representative. In some cases taking a photo wasn’t practical (like when I was driving and getting passed at 95 MPH) or would’ve been weird, like in the parking lot of a home improvement store with my hands full of insecticide.

Regardless, here they are. Enjoy the eye candy! (REM: Sorry, I had to lift the pictures from on-line sources. Need to protect my anonymity. No pictures of my neighborhood, sorry.)

The Bugatti Veyron

I actually know who owns this one – not personally, but I know who it is. He has made his considerable fortune in porn and also owns a Lambo LP640. Must be how he gets all those girls to be in his, uh, art films. I hear he’s a true car aficionado and brings his babies out to track days whenever his busy porn schedule allows.

The Porsche 911 GT3

Saw this sweet little number in the parking lot of a restaurant after downing a very strong margarita. I checked with my designated driver to make sure I wasn’t wearing the world’s strongest beer goggles and he confirmed it was, in fact, a GT3. I’m pretty sure the owner was among the group of men sitting at the table directly behind me; the place wasn’t busy and they had that air of Masters of the Universe about them. This one was electric blue, much like the beauty I saw the next day…

The Audi R8

The very next afternoon I took a trip to my local home improvement store to pick up some hornet spray. While walking in I saw this goddess of a vehicle pull into the spot across from me. I loved that the owner parked between two other cars and wasn’t one of those d-bags that pulls lengthwise across three spots. I wasn’t her only admirer; every stock boy in the place came out to gawk.

The Lotus Exige

I don’t know which Exige it was because it blew past me on the freeway going at least 95 in a 65; from a distance I thought it might be a Spyker. No such luck, but pretty damn cool anyway. I saw him coming up in my rearview and gladly moved over, mostly to gawk as he sped by. Made for quite the exciting trip to Target!

So yeah, I kinda dig my neighborhood. What sweet wheels do you see around your neck of the woods?

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: The Song And Dance Of Car Commercials http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-the-song-and-dance-of-car-commercials/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-the-song-and-dance-of-car-commercials/#comments Sun, 13 Jun 2010 10:23:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=358761 Music and scents. That’s what surrounds me during my work at car shows. The music tries to drown out the display next door. The ladies, gentlemen, even the cars in the booth are carefully perfumed. (There are other scents … but let’s not go there.)  Nothing evokes a greater emotional response than music and scents. […]

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Music and scents. That’s what surrounds me during my work at car shows. The music tries to drown out the display next door. The ladies, gentlemen, even the cars in the booth are carefully perfumed. (There are other scents … but let’s not go there.)  Nothing evokes a greater emotional response than music and scents. Retail establishments have figured out how to get to you via your nose and ears for years. Until Smell-O-Vision is actually rolled out, TV advertising has to be content with the music side of things. Luckily, most auto manufacturers know exactly how to push our buttons with a great tune. Here are some of my personal faves.

(Double play bonus: Clicking on the song title gets you to the original song – except for one.)

This commercial for the Cadillac SRX didn’t make me go out and buy a crossover, but it did make me get on iTunes and download the Phoenix album. It’s so good that one YouTube commenter said, “This car should come with the song pre-installed in it. Why? So you can drive down the road pretending your [sic] in the commercial.”

“1901″ by Phoenix

VW has a huge hard-on for Wilco, as evidenced by no less than five songs used in their commercials (and I don’t think that count is accurate; it is definitely not less but could be more). In fact, the band and VW used the album Sky Blue as a joint marketing effort in 2007 as means to their own ends.

“Sky Blue Sky” by Wilco

I swear I’m not a shill for Lincoln (I don’t even rep them at the auto show) but they have blown my mind with this space ship ad campaign. Eye-catching images and haunting music make you feel like maybe you, a person who is or still feels like they should be in their late 20′s, should run out and buy a traditionally grandpa-ish vehicle because the music is just that cool.

Proof:

“Burning for You” by Shiny Toy Guns

“Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Shiny Toy Guns

(ED: Did you know that the soundtrack is a German import? Major Tom (völlig losgelöst) by Peter Schilling became a hit in Germany in 1983, a year later it was released in the USA as Major Tom (coming home) by the same artist. The German version is still a hit in certain European clubs where people go on trips into other galaxies … nuff said.)

“Under the Milky Way” by Sia

“High Roller” by The Crystal Method (Get it? Get it?)

And for LOLS…

Freakin’ Kia and their hilarious hamsters… So much better than the alternative. They’re kickin’ it old school in this Soul commercial.

“This or That” by Black Sheep

And the LOL Champion: Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon (although what Dad’s doing to the giant baby bottle at the end looks rather obscene…)

“Swagger Wagon” by The Sienna Family (This will get you back to the video. Toyota actually paid for a new song, instead of recycling an old one. And created a minor hit.)

I’m glad I find this funny, because I have a sneaking suspicion Toyota will have this playing very, very loudly on heavy rotation throughout all next auto show season – loud enough to hear it at least five displays over.

What’s your favorite car commercial tune?

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Narcissism And You: An Automotive Primer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-narcissism-and-you-an-automotive-primer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-booth-babe-chronicles-narcissism-and-you-an-automotive-primer/#comments Sun, 06 Jun 2010 19:23:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=358327 Earlier this week on my blog I wrote about narcissism – specifically of whether or not bloggers are by nature narcissistic and if gender makes a difference in that judgment. As I linked in that entry, Justine Musk, soon-to-be ex of Tesla head Elon Musk, had some interesting ruminations on the subject if you care […]

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Earlier this week on my blog I wrote about narcissism – specifically of whether or not bloggers are by nature narcissistic and if gender makes a difference in that judgment. As I linked in that entry, Justine Musk, soon-to-be ex of Tesla head Elon Musk, had some interesting ruminations on the subject if you care to read it.

Anyway, between Musk’s thoughts, another run-in with an Unnecessary Truck and this awful situation in the Gulf, self-involved tendencies have been weighing heavily on my mind of late. Being so selfish has certainly led to that disaster, but I also don’t think you can argue with the fact that many of our choices as consumers are driven not by necessity, but by pure narcissism.

Take that aforementioned Unnecessary Truck, for example. To reiterate, I am not talking about pickups driven for legitimate professional purposes, or that are frequently used to haul boats and dirt bikes and trailers and the like. I mean the ones that are purchased for no other reason than to fuel an already overinflated ego. After all, why else would you drive something so heavy, inefficient and large, put obnoxious and borderline obscene stickers all over it, then park it across three spaces? Because you crave attention. Because it’s all about you.

Or the very wealthy man who buys a very rare, extraordinarily expensive supercar and never takes it on the track, but instead merely drives it back and forth to his favorite nightspot. The sole purpose it to be seen, to get laid, to make people turn their heads, to wonder who you are and what you did to make so much extra cash that you can afford this million dollar Bugatti Veyron (the answer to which is more likely than not porn or drugs). A car like that was born for the high speeds you can really only get on a track, and if you’re not going to drive the hell out of it why bother? Of course – narcissism.

And of course this phenomenon extends to the new “green” world of hybrids. Mindset Media did a study a couple of years ago to develop a psychological profile of the average hybrid driver: better educated, wealthier, highly creative, more liberal and a bit older than the average car owner. There is also a definite subset that buys a hybrid in large part because they want to be seen as the type that drives a hybrid, regardless of whether or not they even recycle at home. While I’ll agree that every little bit helps, if you’re really that serious about saving the environment then you should be powering your toaster with a stationary bike a la Ed Begley Jr.

What does your car say about you?

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Horsepower http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-horsepower/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-horsepower/#comments Sun, 30 May 2010 13:09:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=357624 Despite the fact that the Greatest Generation keeps me cornered at my info desk for 45 minutes while telling me filthy dirty jokes, I know if not for everyone’s grandpa I’d probably be heil-ing allegiance to the flag of the Rising Sun or some German/Japanese combo thereof. I can’t imagine any 18-year-old boy I’ve ever […]

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Despite the fact that the Greatest Generation keeps me cornered at my info desk for 45 minutes while telling me filthy dirty jokes, I know if not for everyone’s grandpa I’d probably be heil-ing allegiance to the flag of the Rising Sun or some German/Japanese combo thereof. I can’t imagine any 18-year-old boy I’ve ever known doing anything nearly as heartbreakingly heroic as some of the things these men and women did, although I know plenty have since and plenty, sadly, will in the future.

There are many legacies left to us by these old cranky dudes who fought so I could have the freedom to say whatever I want in my blog, but I think one of the strongest culturally is the love of the automobile. They are the ones who spent that post-war disposable income on those big, beautiful machines that became instant status symbols by their sheer power and heft. They are the ones that started the grand American tradition of the summer road trip and backseat shenanigans, and without them we’d probably never have those little shaky-shaky hula girl dash ornaments.

Basically, without them cars probably wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. In honor of Memorial Day, here are some of the cars that helped those kids coming home from the Pacific and Europe remember what it was like to live again.

Buick Special

Buick’s entry-level full-size vehicle. Despite having two doors, which most parents would eschew today, the Special was touted as the perfect family car because of its big back seat.

Cadillac Coupe de Ville

Before Viagra, there was Cadillac. Every man born before the Depression has a major hard-on for this car. It is their generation’s status symbol. Me, I’ll take that gorgeous Harry Winston necklace. I miss the merlettes in the emblem, don’t you?

Chevrolet Fleetmaster Sport Sedan

Imagine this bad boy in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb?

1947 Ford

This ad just cracked me up… “No other has 100 h.p.!” How quaint.

1946 Oldsmobile

The ad copy here is very telling of the point at which the industry stood: “Look to Olds for all that’s new!” The post-war world was new and these soldiers were coming home to start new careers and new families while enjoying a new prosperity that most of them had never before experienced.

Happy Memorial Day to all those who defend us every day. If things had gone differently a couple of generations ago, we’d all be driving Volkswagens and Toyotas. Come to think of it …

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

Picture courtesy

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Ugly Is As Ugly Does http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-ugly-is-as-ugly-does/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-ugly-is-as-ugly-does/#comments Sun, 23 May 2010 03:30:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=357151 The beauty of humanity is that we all have different tastes, that our aesthetic preferences create a marvelous tapestry of beauty, and that this creates a market where there’s something for everyone. Whether it be cars, shoes, or a life partner, what you think is absolutely hideous could very well be the greatest thing your […]

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The beauty of humanity is that we all have different tastes, that our aesthetic preferences create a marvelous tapestry of beauty, and that this creates a market where there’s something for everyone. Whether it be cars, shoes, or a life partner, what you think is absolutely hideous could very well be the greatest thing your boss has ever seen, and you’ll have to lie through your teeth about how awesome it is in order to keep your job.

Opinions are like the proverbial anatomical orifice, the only difference being that people have no problem spreading their opinions all over town and the Internet. (If you do the same with said orifice, please do not share the details here.) Of course, auto show visitors love to share their opinions with us product specialists. This is great! This is one of the reasons why we’re there, and we pass your feedback along to corporate after every show.

Constructive feedback, that is.

Here is an example of what is not constructive feedback:

Visitor: “That POS car is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!”

Product specialist: “I’m sorry you feel that way. What don’t you like about it?”

Visitor: “It’s just ugly. And you can tell them I said that.”

*Visitor stomps away*

Hmmm, what shall I write in my auto show report? “Unshowered wannabe Eurotrash male guest wearing obscenely tight True Religion jeans and an orange and green Affliction shirt purposely two sizes too small in a pathetic attempt to make his puny arms look passably muscular ironically thinks vehicle XYZ is the ugliest thing he has ever seen.”

That, my friends, is specificity – which is more than can be said of our visitor’s opinion.

I’m always interested in why people don’t find something aesthetically pleasing, but more than that, explaining why you feel that way – in a constructive manner – helps manufacturers make design choices and changes to adapt to market better. Case in point: Acura. The 2009 and 2010 grille is utterly heinous, to the point that many dealers are actually repainting them at customer request. Result? There’s talk that the company may be replacing the monstrosity as part of their refresh cycle, which typically happens every two or three years and includes tweaks to things like the aforementioned grille, headlamps, etc.

My personal #1 ugliest vehicle ever? Any incarnation of the Hummer. Beyond becoming a symbol of American oil gluttony, its utter rectangularity, hugeness and heft was just so “My man junk is very, very tiny,” even more so than the Unnecessary Truck. I like curves. Even most of those trucks have some eye-pleasing curves on the hood and nose, even if ever-so-subtle.

I took a very informal Twitter poll, and my followers had quite a list of ugly cars. Their top fugly vehicles of all times included the Edsel, the Mustang II, BMW X6, Pontiac Aztec, Porsche Panamera, Suzuki X90 and the Ssangyong Rodius, some Korean piece of crap so fug that Wheels magazine described it as “having a face like a burnt thong.”

Let’s hear it: What are your votes for the ugliest cars ever, and more importantly, why?

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Greening The Hand That Feeds Me http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-greening-the-hand-that-feeds-me/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-greening-the-hand-that-feeds-me/#comments Sun, 16 May 2010 12:55:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=356661 Here’s my daily struggle: I like cars and I like (and greatly appreciate) how I make my living. But I also really like the Earth and nature and polar bears and would prefer mankind not relocate to some Total Recall-like Mars colony stocked with Evian, Luna bars and aliens with three boobs. I love driving. […]

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Here’s my daily struggle: I like cars and I like (and greatly appreciate) how I make my living. But I also really like the Earth and nature and polar bears and would prefer mankind not relocate to some Total Recall-like Mars colony stocked with Evian, Luna bars and aliens with three boobs.

I love driving. I love driving fast, powerful cars that growl at me and throw me back in my seat. So do you guys and gals, which is why you read this site in the first place. But I also love breathing, and I love clean oceans and beaches, and I love waters not filled with oil that suffocates animals and destroys the livelihoods of fishermen all over our coasts. I love that a lot.

Yet I work at a job I have to fly into and sell the American public on one of the very things that is hastening the demise of our beautiful natural world. I know that cars are certainly not going away any time soon, but I don’t know how to balance these two issues.

What can we do about it? Here are our options thus far, none of which do enough good. We have hybrids, which are increasingly popular. An efficiency hybrid (as opposed to a performance hybrid) can save a tremendous amount of fuel over the lifetime of the vehicle and significantly lowers one’s carbon emissions while driving. But even if we all drove a hybrid and lowered our fuel consumption by half, would it be enough? Then, of course, there’s the debate over whether or not the manufacture of nickel metal hydride batteries creates a bigger carbon footprint than is saved while driving.

Ethanol looked like the green fuel of the future for a while, until people realized the ecological toll of growing all that corn, transporting it all over the place and having to import more corn to use for livestock food in its place was causing more harm than good.

Electric cars are great in theory and would save drivers a lot of money in fuel costs, but in most areas would still take a heavy ecological toll. Plugging into an electrical grid in the vast majority of the country still means you’re burning fossil fuels – as a nation nearly 50 percent of our electricity is generated from coal, and only 2.1 percent from non-hydro renewables like wind and solar power. (The rest is from gas, oil, nuclear and hydro power.) Less fossil fuels are used than filling up your gas tank would, but dirty fossil fuels are still used, and the dangers of coal power are something I could write another whole column about.

Hydrogen fuel cells sound great until you realize consider the impracticality of current technology. The production process is inefficient and it has a very low energy content per unit. Combine that with having to revamp the entire fuel infrastructure and it becomes a non-option, for present day at least.

We could all just walk, but then global transportation would go down the tubes and we wouldn’t be able to get our hands on all that cheap crap from China we’re addicted to buying. Wal-Mart would go out of business and we’d have to learn how to make out own toilet paper or *shudder* use our hands to wipe. Bicycles are made of metal from open pit mines, and that metal still has to be transported somehow – I don’t think a bike will cut it.

The thing is that none of these options is going to save the world. We could try to find the lesser evil, but at this point is it just slightly delaying the inevitable?

I don’t know what the answer is. I guess if I did I’d be a gazillionaire, profiting off the idea that will save the planet. I know I do what I can by recycling everything possible, trying to eat in-season and local when possible, eschewing water in disposable plastic bottles, washing my clothes exclusively in cold water and using those fancy light bulbs that save a bunch of electricity but kill us with mercury poisoning.

So you tell me – what do you think is our next best hope of building a green transportation infrastructure, starting with the auto industry? ‘Cause even horses fart methane gas, my HOA won’t let me have livestock and I really don’t want to share a spinning turntable with something that actually kicks when surly, as opposed to just daydreaming about it like me.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Punch Buggy Black And Blue http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-punch-buggy-black-and-blue/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/the-booth-babe-chronicles-punch-buggy-black-and-blue/#comments Sun, 09 May 2010 10:01:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=355826 Automotive marketing – marketing in general, really – fascinates me. I have a business degree with a focus on marketing and spent many years studying the commercial machine of capitalism, along with the psychology behind getting you to buy. The whole thing is extremely thought-provoking (such as Mike Rowe) and often more than a little […]

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Automotive marketing – marketing in general, really – fascinates me. I have a business degree with a focus on marketing and spent many years studying the commercial machine of capitalism, along with the psychology behind getting you to buy. The whole thing is extremely thought-provoking (such as Mike Rowe) and often more than a little spooky. Such as a penis with warts …

Working the auto show floor gives me an intimate look at how each automotive company tweaks their experiential marketing plan every year. [Not to be confused with the more commonplace experimental marketing plan, ED.] Experiential marketing means you come and take part in it, as opposed to watching a commercial on TV. It can be an auto show, a ride and drive event, or a presence at a sponsored event like a concert, game, fashion show, festival, etc.
One of my favorite parts of each new auto show season is seeing how manufacturers have integrated their auto show presence – experiential marketing – with their other marketing efforts, specifically television and print advertising.
For example, Kia. While I still can’t get over the sex-toy-disguised-as-a-children’s-cartoon-character, they did well by placing cardboard cutouts of all the fun toys in that Super Bowl commercial. Attendees love taking pictures with the cutouts which are conveniently placed right next to a vehicle. Every photo of a character also has a Kia in it. Bam! Extra brand impression in your brain. I heard that someone tried to steal the sock monkey at the Chicago show, they loved it so much. It wasn’t me, I swear. (I couldn’t fit it in my purse.)

Toyota’s Avalon Lounge has a swingy retro feel that coordinates well with their new 40′s style Avalon commercials, while “Sultry Sienna” sung in front of the popular minivan complements the Swagger Wagon campaign. If they start rapping at the show next year I will die.

Since fire seems to be the new thing, though, perhaps they could recreate the Tundra commercial featuring the truck hauling a huge payload up a flaming Spiral of Death. Might need some outdoor real estate for that one, but everyone loves a nice fire.

But not everything would translate well between commercials and real life. Some of this stuff would totally wig me out. Like the Ford robot. I’m scared enough of that thing in a brightly-lit convention center. The last thing my sensitive nerves need is to be woken up at 3 AM by the laser eyes of that freaky thing in a commercial on TV. Imagine the nightmares.

Conversely, however, if Ford decided to bring my future baby daddy Mike Rowe to the auto show I would be happy to experientially market myself in his direction all day long. You want to get and keep a bunch of female car buyers in your display, Ford? Bring Mike Rowe. Trust me on this one. Brand impression galore. Put his voice in the SYNC system and women will bum rush Ford dealerships.

VW and their new spin on the punch buggy game is another one. I love the Stevie Wonder moment, but this just wouldn’t translate well at the auto show. Your entire visit in the VW booth would be one giant bruise. It would turn into a mosh pit. There would be blood all over their pretty white floor.

By the way, I’m just letting you know that if you meet me in person and you punch me because you see a Jetta, I’m going to slash your tires. Fair warning.

What are your favorite car commercials? How do you think they would translate at the auto show?

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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The Booth Babe Chronicles: Psychology Of Auto Show Marketing, With Special Emphasis On Gender-Related Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/the-booth-babe-chronicles-psychology-of-auto-show-marketing-with-special-emphasis-on-gender-related-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/the-booth-babe-chronicles-psychology-of-auto-show-marketing-with-special-emphasis-on-gender-related-issues/#comments Sun, 25 Apr 2010 11:35:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=354223 Thank you so much for the warm welcome last week! I appreciate all your comments and encouragement and look forward to sharing more about auto show life with you. A comment on my last column caught my eye. The gist of it was why bother with “booth babes” or professional presenters at all? Why not […]

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Thank you so much for the warm welcome last week! I appreciate all your comments and encouragement and look forward to sharing more about auto show life with you.

A comment on my last column caught my eye. The gist of it was why bother with “booth babes” or professional presenters at all? Why not just have sales people or the actual engineers at the shows? It is a question that has been asked of me multiple times in different forums, so I’d like to address it in greater detail here.

The answer is multi-faceted and has to do with the psychology of marketing, practicality and the proper delivery of a message.

Contrary to the loud insistence of many car dudes on other websites, the product specialists you see at consumer auto shows are not there to be window dressing. We are marketing professionals hired to fulfill a key role that goes far beyond looking good. Experiential automotive marketing can have a very high return on investment, and we are there to see that it is done right. We know how to stay on message, to deliver technical specs to the knowledge level of our audience, and to address what is important to them in an engaging way.

I’ll give you an example. Ask an engineer, a sales person and a product specialist the difference between torque and horsepower. The engineer will give you a very extensive and detailed explanation involving long division and possibly multi-colored graphs on a Cartesian plane. The sales person will gloss over the question by reciting torque and horsepower numbers of the vehicle in front of which you’re standing, and will keep talking in circles until you forgot that you even asked him something in the first place. (I’ve seen this many times and it’s quite amazing.) A product specialist will give you the simplest explanation: torque gets you moving and horsepower keeps you moving.

Overly simplified? Yes. But the average consumer at an auto show is not a gear head and isn’t asking for an automotive masters class. We keep it simple, and if they ask for more we’ll delve deeper. Info-dumping and talking over someone’s head is off-putting and will quickly turn off a potential customer. We know how to give an accurate and satisfying answer while stimulating a conversation that leads to a deeper positive brand impression and hopefully an eventual sale.

I’ve also had more than a few sales people look to me to answer detailed or even basic technical questions they themselves couldn’t answer, particularly those about why certain design or engineering decisions were made. We know the answers to such questions because we ask them ourselves during our extensive training sessions. We are asked questions over and over at an auto show that a sales person could go his entire career without answering.

It’s no secret that we’re mostly a bunch of models and actors and thus are of what some would consider above-average physical attractiveness. If we’re there to talk about the cars instead of just being window dressing, does how we look really matter?

Time and time again science has proven that yes, it does. Human nature dictates that we, male or female, would rather deal with an attractive person than an average or unattractive one. We will spend more time talking with them, we will believe more of what they say and we will walk away with a more positive impression of the interaction than if we had the same one with someone we found less physically attractive. This crosses gender lines and is not an issue of sexual preference.

By the same token, a mom of three in the market for a new minivan does not want to be confronted by a bikini model draped across the hood of the vehicle. (Sex toys don’t seem to be an issue, though.) That’s why for the most part at a consumer auto show we are dressed in business suits or stylish yet somewhat conservative clothing. (Even the Fiat twins were sporting high necklines and a knee-length hem.)

Each brand also has a “type”: Porsche has a lot of fashion-model-looking types, Toyota and Nissan have the girl/guy next door, Scion is young and hip. The Ford team looks like they wouldn’t mind if their hair got messed up when you dropped the top on your Mustang convertible. The presenters for higher-end brands like Acura, Infiniti, Cadillac, Lincoln and Lexus tend to have a more refined, classic look. Our looks and wardrobe are all aspirational brand messages and tell consumers, albeit subconsciously, what that brand is all about.

You might not think any of this makes a difference, but it does. It makes a huge difference. Billions of dollars have been poured into researching the psychology of marketing, much of which is subconscious. Every single part of an auto show display, from the shoes the product specialists are wearing to the colors of the vehicles, has been carefully calculated to project a specific brand image and attract a target demographic.

Could an engineer accomplish all of these goals? I’ll quote myself in a response to a comment from last week’s column: “The engineers kind of have a job, uh, ‘engineering.’ They also tend to be rather introverted science-types, and to do this job a person has to be extremely extroverted.”

And that, my friends, is why we’re there.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com

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