Auto News for August 22nd, 2011
Mobile Technology Continues Its Intent to Reach Ubiquity
New York City will be the next city to test a new program that allows parkers to pay their meter fees through a smartphone application. Atlanta and Washington already have spaces equipped with the technology, and New York will begin with a test run of 300 parking meters (locations have yet to be announced). Drivers will register online for the service, then send text messages or use the application to designate the appropriate meter and amount of time they want to pay to park. Outside of not having to search the grungy areas underneath the driver and passenger seats for quarters, the application will alert users when their meter is almost up, theoretically helping drivers to avoid parking tickets.
Auto news for the people! I’m one of the only dudes still using a flip phone, but the increasing conveniences smartphones offer are making it tough to remain convictive about not being digitally available to everyone and everything. The time it takes me to put a well thought out text message into the phone has become a topic of hilarity for the people around me and contributes to my eroding conviction. They like to robot-sing “beep bop boop bop” and poke away at an imaginary flip phone when I text. But they can’t replicate the sound of me hanging up on someone.
Auto News for August 23rd, 2011
Auto News! Ford and Toyota to Collaborate
Ford and Toyota will collaborate to develop a hybrid powertrain for light trucks and SUVs.
The collaboration will attempt to yield a new hybrid architecture for rear-wheel drives later this decade. It’s nice to see two competitors working together for a common purpose, as it’s often difficult for one corporation to collaborate internally.
I was on my way home from Las Vegas this weekend with a co-worker, and in our hung over mind states decided it was best to stop and grab sustenance for the daunting ride back to San Francisco. McDonald’s was the obvious choice, as it had provided us with nutrients for three of our prior four meals. I-15 south on Sunday mornings is jammed outside of Vegas, and the McDonald’s in Primm mirrored the highway traffic. Predictably, the syrup was drained from the soda machines and no sauces were put in our to-go bags, forcing me to trudge back to the counter. After asking for honey mustard and ranch from the counter associate, a mid-20s girl walked up beside me and begged the worker’s attention. “Um, excuse me, but can you tell someone in the soda department that they need to fix the soda? The Coke and the Diet Dr. Pepper are flat in both machines.” I’m fairly certain the in-store employee structure in McDonald’s doesn’t include a soda department silo. Maybe it should, along with a condiment silo. The packages the associate gave me were open and sticky with semi-dried mustard and ranch sauce.
McDonalds could learn a few things from its automaker counterparts.
Auto News for August 24th, 2011
Where Art Thou, RX-8?
Mazda’s gone ahead and done the needful. But before you go and read about exactly what Mazda did, take a few seconds and think about how low sales would have to be in order to stop producing a specific car. Consider all the lands this model could traverse, all the languages it would find itself privy to on eclectic road signs, all the currencies it could hold as a getaway car to a bank a robbery. Ready for the big reveal? 1,134! That’s how many RX-8s were sold last year. That feels like an incredibly low number for anything sold by a global corporation. Sales peaked in 2004 at 23,690. U.S. dealers apparently had 200 units in stock as of August 1st, so hurry up and get your online bid in to secure yourself a good new fashioned auto relic.
Auto News for August 25th, 2011
Volkswagen Strategizes to Go American
Volkswagen has been designing cars in Europe that have had a habit of taking on cult-like American followings (the Bug and the Hippie Bus), but now Volkswagen is shifting its approach to design cars specifically for the U.S. market. It’s all part of VW’s attempt to become the worldwide leader in vehicle manufacturing by 2018. Sales haven’t topped 300,000 in America since 2003. To reach their lofty goals, VW thinks that number needs to hit 800,000. V dubs are typically associated with the Hippie movement, so it may behoove Volkswagen to send some corporate reps to the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada next week, as it represents a counter-culture similar to the acid-induced phase of the 60s. If a full week in the desert is too much, VW can send a team on tour to trip with Phish to cultivate ideas.