by Dan Seitz
Just recently, Detroit wrapped up its big auto display of muscle cars, concept cars, and future designs that will never quite make it to market. And we learned a lot: where cars are going, what cars will be sold in the future, and, most importantly, that automakers kind of want to kill you.
#1) The Future of Car Controls is Extremely Dangerous
As Jalopnik pointed out, auto makers are extremely excited to give you a slick, futuristic dashboard that consists entirely of touch screens. As they also pointed out, this is an incredibly bad idea because switches, knobs, and buttons have distinctive shapes that let you fiddle with controls without taking your eyes off the road, whereas touch screens require your eyes, and they don't look quite as good when you rear-end somebody while fiddling with the radio. We've got to agree with Jalopnik here (and we’re sure the auto insurance companies agree with us, too): the technology is neat, but just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it.
#2) Ford May As Well Give Up And Bring Back the Ranger
When the second biggest story to come out of the Detroit Auto Show is that your executives got called out repeatedly for bumping off a model of pick-up in the US, while still selling it in the rest of the world...well, Ford had better be thankful the 2013 Fusion was such a hit with journalists. Speaking of which...
#3) Everybody's Going Green, and Also Small
The 2013 Fusion was a good example of the greenness seen all over the show: coming with three different types of power plant, it's just one example of auto makers focusing on green energy. Volkswagen debuted a Jetta Hybrid, and also the e-Bugster, an electric plug-in. Smart, the tiny car people, had a tiny pickup truck concept at the show. Even Mercedes, Lexus and BMW had hybrids on display. Even if they didn't have a high-profile hybrid, many had at least a small, fuel-sipping vehicle to show off: witness the second coming of, believe it or not, the Dodge Dart. Which brings us to...
#4) Everybody Wants To Sell Their Cars to Twentysomethings, Even Though Nobody Understands Their Car-Buying Habits
It's not unreasonable: there are 80 million twentysomethings in the US. The problem is, as everybody desperately trying to sell them a new car admitted, that most of them were buying sedans instead of coupes, and most of them were buying used, and that nobody knew why, precisely. After all, the marketing research had told them young people love coupes. So instead of looking at the buying habits, they went ahead and built a bunch of coupes anyway.
Gee, we wonder why we had to give them so much taxpayer money a few years back...
#5) Some Things Never Change
Among all the hubbub and hype about the concept cars that will never see production, it's nice to see that some people don't change that much. Witness Porsche, and their 2013 Boxster. Trends may come and trends may go, but it's nice to see that ostentatious sports cars that are impossible to insure cheaply don't change much.
Tags: auto insurance, car insurance, safeauto, safe auto
We've all seen those obnoxious actors or dealer owners screaming at us on TV to buy a car or truck from their lot. Crazy car commercials are a dime a dozen. But some automotive dealerships are more innovative, choosing to direct their creativity into on-site promotions in the hopes of attracting more customers to their locations. And in some cases, their imaginative antics net them media publicity as well as increased sales.
Here are the top five crazy promotions of all time from American auto dealers.
1. Safari Sale
Franklin Sussex Auto Mall - Sussex, NJ
On a single September Saturday, this dealership "walks on the wild side." It transforms itself into a mini-wildlife preserve, complete with live kangaroos, snakes, monkeys, and camels. Salespeople are clad in khaki safari outfits and pith helmets, customers get free food and drink, and the dealership gives away a Disney World Animal Kingdom vacation.
2. Buy A Car From a Rockstar
Checkered Flag Volkswagen - Virginia Beach, VA
This promotion is simple yet brilliant: all of the auto salesmen and women dress up like a famous rock star. Customers can purchase a new vehicle from the "likes" of Michael Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. The dealership generates buzz for the event by co-sponsoring singing or karaoke events at nearby restaurants and bars with a local radio station. And a Volkswagen Beetle is raffled off with the proceeds benefitting one of the region's charities.
3. Free AK-47
Nations Trucks - Sanford, FL
If you're gonna spend money on a new truck, then you'd better have something to protect it with. That's the reasoning behind this dealer's "buy a truck, get a machine gun" promotion. New truck purchasers receive a $400 voucher good at a local firearms shop where the customer can buy his or her own AK-47. After all, guns and trucks go together like hot dogs and apple pie, right?
4. Score on a Kickoff, Get a Rebate
Mastria Auto Group - Raynham, MA
This promotion caters to the football-loving risk-taking car buying population, and it comes in many forms. But here's the gist: if customers purchase a vehicle during a certain time period, all of them receive a major prize if something specific occurs in a designated football game (like the hometown team shutting out an opponent, for example). The dealer banks on the long odds, but buys an insurance policy in case the unexpected happens (you could call it "dealer auto insurance.") We singled out the Mastria Auto Group because it offered a $5,000 rebate if the New England Patriots scored a touchdown on a kickoff return in their 2010 home opener. Which they did - and the dealership paid out $160,000.
5. If it Rains, It's Free
Bozard Lincoln-Mercury - St. Augustine, FL
The promotion was similar to the abovementioned NFL-themed offer, but it bet on the weather rather than a football game. Customers who bought a vehicle from the dealer in March of 2011 would get to own them free and clear if the city recorded more than one inch of rain on the morning of April 8. But it was sunny on the designated morning, so the dealer didn't have to make good on its offer.
Tags: cars, car insurance, auto insurance, safe auto, safeauto, minimum coverage
There's nothing quite like a good madcap comedy to bring out the belly laughs in any audience. But perhaps the next best thing is real-life video footage of unscripted "madcap comedic" events. One scenario that never fails to get a chuckle? The runaway car.
With that in mind, we present the six funniest videos of runaway cars on the Web. (Warning: do not drink and milk while viewing these, lest it wind up all over your keyboard and monitor.)
1. Don't push me!
Okay, there are times when you must get out and push your vehicle. But one of these times is not on a downhill-sloping icy road. (What could possibly go wrong? Plenty.) But the best part is the unintentional comedy provided by the displaced driver. The only thing missing is a cartoon music score.
2. Rolling toward disaster
This video begins with an uninhabited red car rolling through a parking lot. A business man sprints after it, but watches as his vehicle crashes through some bushes. But our hero is undaunted. He continues his foot pursuit and actually reaches the escaping vehicle - but will he stop it before the car reaches heavy traffic? We won't spoil the ending for you.
3. Sneaking away at the gas pump
This scene begins as just another motorist pulling up to the gasoline pumps. A man gets out and begins filling up a gas can. After several seconds, the minivan suddenly decides to take a little stroll. Keep watching - you'll find yourself yelling, "Turn around, you idiot!" at the computer - just like you would at a horror film.
4. Running from the cops - without a driver
Thanks to the miracle of police dashcam video, we see a kindly woman pulling over to the curb as per the instructions of a law enforcement officer. She is trying to obey the policeman's commands - but the car has other ideas. It tries to make a break for it as the poor woman attempts to break out of its clutches.
5. Keystone cop car
Another dashcam video, but this one is different. It features the police car itself rolling away! The viewer is treated to a "first-person" look at an attempted traffic stop in a parking lot as it turns into a hilarious foot chase by the furious officer. (The audio is priceless IF you don't mind salty language - otherwise, you can still enjoy it with the sound on mute.)
6. "Blast" from the past: perpetual motion in reverse
There's so many nuggets of bliss in this tale, which takes place a quarter century ago on the streets of Baltimore. A baby-blue "boat" car inexplicably gets stuck in reverse and proceeds to drive in backwards circles. So how does an off-duty cop solve this problem? By putting it out of its misery. But the best part of this video has to be the retro styles and the background music. (God, I miss "Sanford and Son.")
Tags: runaway car, car insurance, cheap insurance, safeauto, safe auto, crazy car video
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