MINI With a Big Mouth

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

In my many years as a ghostwriter for a leading exec of Volkswagen, there was one joke that was always shot down. Early VW navigation systems gave you the voice prompt “die Route wird berechnet.” Which translates to “the route is being calculated.” It could also be understood as “I’ll charge you for the whip.” My one-liner that a new VW comes with a factory-standard dominatrix was always suppressed. I wonder why.

I was reminded of my dark past when I opened Automobilwoche [sub] today, only to read that BMW intends to turn their Minis into a gabfest on wheels. Carrying the moniker “mission control,” electronics will listen to the traffic on the car’s CAN bus, and then the gizmo will drown you with clever remarks.

When you turn on the windshield wipers, a voice will remind you that wet roads can be slippery. If you take a turn Baruth-style, you’ll get a tongue-wag from mission control. Of course, an unfastened seat belt will receive an appropriate remark. Hop in the car, and you’ll be bothered by blather about all systems being nominal, except for the next scheduled service that will be due in two hundred forty five point nine miles.

Product Manager Florian Reuter proudly revealed that the system reacts to 120 events, and that it possesses a frightening repertoire of 1500 comments, easily thumping the communication skills of the typical product of America’s public school system.

A new system like this must have shades of green. Expect oodles of prattle pertaining to the political and environmental correctness of youse [Ed. Public school, B?] driving style.

Mission control will come standard with the Mini 50 Camden, celebrating the big Five-Oh of the Mini. Later, it will infest other Minis, even a retrofit for older speechless Minis is planned. Will the nattering nonsense spread to BMWs? “Totally thinkable” rants Reuter.

BMWs won’t come with factory-standard dominatrixes. They will come with a built-in nanny that talks nineteen to the dozen.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Rod Panhard Rod Panhard on Jun 19, 2009
    "the Mini 50 Camden, celebrating the big Five-Oh of the Mini." Excellent! Camden is one of New Jersey's blighted urban areas. It's so bad, even Philadelphia keeps it across the river. Camden is one of those places where they anchor a battleship to attract tourists. To have a talking MINI named after it is just absolutely wonderful.
  • Nicodemus Nicodemus on Jun 19, 2009

    An here is a Maestro four languages (this one is slightly knackered hence the poor tone)

  • ToolGuy I wonder what the Libertarians are up to this week?
  • Chiefmonkey Bet on it getting 5-10 MPG less than the advertised rating.
  • FreedMike Maybe they will be the Alpine distributors.
  • TheEndlessEnigma The Mitsubishi hate and snark in many of these comments is expected. I really do need to challenge anyone here who bristles at the mention of Mitsu and immediately begins a Tourette's inspired flow of vitriol. Before you rant on about how bad Mitsu's are, get into one and drive it. Surprise surprise, they are good vehicles, it's just kewl and hip to be a lemming and blindly follow the "Mitsubishi Sucks Because Doug DeMuro Told Me So" crowd.
  • EBFlex Remember when they introduced legislation to take natural gas stoves away? Now they want to charge electric trucks with it? If liberals didn’t have double standards they wouldn’t have any at all.